Kasterborous.com began life as a collaboration between writer Christian Cawley and web designer and illustrator Anthony Dry back in 2004. As the site grew and Anthony’s art became more well known, he found he was in demand as a Doctor Who illustrator; his work has appeared in Doctor Who Magazine and in the Doctor Who DVD boxsets since 2005.
Good news is, he’s just submitted a sketch for approval for the Series 5 box set and has also completed “two illustrations for The Brilliant Book of Doctor Who – that’s out towards the end of the year and two promo single covers artwork for Iron Maiden. It’s been a crazy month or so.”
“…my illustration is more graphic illustration because I treat the brief like graphic design…”
When Kasterborous started Ant was a lowly web designer, a job he found himself in after years of study. “I spent seven years of study from 92-2000 with a year break in-between. The first course was a foundation course, something thats really necessary in grounding your skills and finding a path you are interested in.
“The second was a HND in packaging design, but when I came home to find work, there was none, so I had to take a year out and assess my options. I managed to sneak onto the BA Hons Graphics course at Liverpool John Moores University and did what I should have done a few years earlier, got into graphic design.
This seems to have been the moment of realisation for Anthony who has become one of the most admired Doctor Who illustrators working today, something he attributes to his grounding in graphic design.
“I’d say my illustration is more graphic illustration because I treat the brief like graphic design rather than just a straight up illustration. “
All of this has come from a long standing interest in art which naturally stretches back to when Anthony was a young boy. “I spent a lot of time drawing when I was a kid, especially drawing Doctor Who stuff. I was okay at copying pictures but never really developed my drawing skills into anything concrete, but as I’ve always had an eye for commercial design I pursued Graphic Arts.”
As is the case for many creative professionals, early in his career Anthony found himself in a job that promised much but delivered little. “The web was just taking off as a visual medium, rather than just simple pages of data, when I managed to swing a job just outside of Manchester. It was a nightmare! First off, on my first day I was looking for the company building, and this guy came out of a terraced house and called me in. The job was in his house!”
Kasterborous was launched after Anthony and I got talking in the old Outpost Gallifrey forum. As a creative outlet for both of us, it lead to Ant being noticed as an illustrator with a pretty unique approach, something that lead to freelance work. With early Doctor Who images on Kasterborous quickly evolving from striking monolithic images into detailed illustrations from the school of Chris Achilleos/Frank Bellamy, I imagined that reaction to his work must have come as a surprise. “I wouldn’t say it came as a surprise as such because I just had a brainwave one night that I should try and bring that kind of work back but with a modern twist.
“I’d been doing those little pop art illustrations for Kasterborous so we wouldn’t upset the BBC for using images, but eventually it wore me out doing them 2 or 3 times a week. Once I’d taken that pressure off and decided to experiment a bit I had the idea of bringing back a retro style but for the new series.”