Doctor Who Adventures hit a milestone 300 issues recently and to celebrate its tercentennial anniversary Down the Tubes have caught up with comics artist John Ross who has illustrated a strip for every issue!
John has mostly been working on Doctor Who of late – with his work appearing in Doctor Who – Battles In Time, the Doctor Who Annual 2014 and Doctor Who Magazine – but he’s also drawn for Marvel UK with some of its flagship characters like Spider-Man.
Understandably, John loves his work:
I have to say it’s possibly the best job in the business. I get to draw an enormous variety of characters and locations every week, as well as the Doctor and his classy companions! I work with great people who are passionate about what they do and are dedicated to making the best mag they can. They’re constantly striving to keep things fresh and there’s a big re-launch planned to coincide with the start of the new series.
The re-launch also means that the magazine is in constant contact with the designers and producers of the show so that their sketches are perfectly matched to the Doctors own renovations; it keeps them one step ahead of the more pedantic of Whovians:
The DWA editors give me feedback and also pass on comments from approvals people in Cardiff and from the actors themselves. I’ve been lucky in that there haven’t been any major issues… I work closely with the editors when sketching out a new character (Doc and/or companion) until everyone’s happy with the look. It’s rare that I’m asked to make changes to a character after the initial character sketches have been approved.
For me, though, it doesn’t really end there – I’m always looking at improving in any way I can. In fact, that’s the case in all areas of my work, not just the look of the characters.
On the subject of improvement, John also has some advice for any budding comic book artists looking for their first break…learn everything!
Study everything – anatomy, composition, perspective, visual storytelling etc. It’s great to be able to draw cool characters but if you want to work professionally, you must have a solid all round knowledge.
I’d also strongly recommend that you learn to draw from life as opposed to comics – that way you’re more inclined to develop your own style and less likely to copy other artists mistakes!
For more on John’s opinions on the longevity of Doctor Who, which are his favourite monsters to draw and his favourite Doctor, head over to Down the Tubes.