Doctor Who News John Ridgway draws Prisoners of Time #6

Published on June 30th, 2013 | by Christian Cawley

Illustrator John Ridgway Discusses Prisoners of Time

IDW’s Prisoners of Time series was launched  in January with some familiar names attached. Following a First Doctor story illustrated by Simon Fraser was a Second Doctor story drawn by Lee Sullivan (who we will be chatting to later today).

John Ridgway draws Prisoners of TIme #6

Meanwhile current DWM regular Mike Collins, Gary Erskine and Phillip Bond drew the Third, Fourth and Fifth Doctor stories, respectably, and bearing the responsibility of the Sixth Doctor is veteran John Ridgway, who recently spoke to Down The Tubes’ John Freeman about returning to the Doctor Who fold, as it were.

RIdgway, of course, was perhaps the most regular DWM comic strip artist in the 1980s, and spent a lot of time bringing Colin Baker’s Sixth Doctor to print. John Freeman, meanwhile, is a former DWM editor.

We would heartily recommend reading the full piece, which reveals that Peri and Frobisher the shapeshifting penguin both feature in this installment of IDW’s 50th anniversary celebration, but one section in particular stood out – John’s solution to the challenge of creating a reasonable likeness to the actor concerned.

I had a lot of trouble capturing a likeness for a cover for one of the reprints I had drawn earlier. Fortunately, working on computer means that if a picture “goes wrong” the picture can be replaced with a fresh drawing. I had several attempts at drawing Colin Baker’s face from photographs – without much success. Eventually, I put the photograph on a layer and traced over it to produce a reasonable likeness.

The tricky part is getting the eyes right and getting flexibility to the line width (otherwise the picture looks too bland). From there, it’s fairly easy to alter the expression to suit what the script calls for.

John Ridgway draws Prisoners of Time #6

Ridgway is also quizzed as to whether he would like to illustrate a longer story.

Yes, I would like to draw another Doctor Who story. If I had to choose a monster I think it would be the Draconians, but I would rather work on some new monster (or creature). I’d like to do something with epic scope and grand scenery.

Read the full interview with John Ridgway at Down The Tubes.


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About the Author


A long-term Doctor Who fan, Christian grew up watching the show and has early memories of the Graham Williams era. His favourite stories are Inferno, The Seeds of Doom and Human Nature (although The Empty Child, Blink and Utopia all come close). When he’s not bossing around the news team, Christian is a freelance writer specialising in mobile technology and domestic computing, and enjoys classic rock, cooking and spending time in the countryside with his wife and young children. You can find him on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.

3 Responses to Illustrator John Ridgway Discusses Prisoners of Time

  1. avatar rickjlundeen says:

    The approach to likenesses is always like walking a tightrope. If one has the ability to nail the likeness in every panel—I salute them—but the problem with being too dependent on the photo reference is that you can never have enough photos to cover each and every look and expression and sometimes, you have to do it on your own. I learned a while back that it’s usually better, especially for the long haul, to try and draw the characters and not necessarily the actors who played them. But if you have the photos around and study them as you draw, you eventually pick up a few visual keys to get some semblance of a likeness.

    All that being said, I’ve always enjoyed Ridgeway’s work when it came to the Sixth Doctor. This issue looks to be the most impressive in the series so far!

  2. avatar Bob James says:

    This Sixth Doctor issue is, in my opinion, the best installment in the “Prisoners Of Time” series thus far. Not just Colin’s likeness, the spot on accurate likeness of Nicola Bryant captured as well. There are some additional likeness’s also brilliantly captured towards the issue’s end that I won’t name so as to avoid spoilers. The most brilliant issue of the whole series so far, in my judgement. Ridgeway’s talent has only improved over time.

  3. avatar Mugen Pharoah says:

    let’s get Frobisher in the series…….please!

    My fave era of the comic strips. Awesome.

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