Illustration Art Gallery

The very best from the wide, sometimes overlooked, world of illustration art, including original artwork for book illustrations and covers, comic books and comic strips, graphic novels, magazines, film animation cels, newspaper strips, poster art, album covers, plus superb fine art reproductions and high quality art prints.

Our gallery brings together artists from all over the world and from many backgrounds, including fantasy, horror, romance, science fiction, education, sport, history, nature, technology, humour, glamour, architecture, film & tv, whimsy, even political satire and caricature.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Peter Doherty

Peter Doherty notes on his intriguingly named Not a Proper Person blog that he is not to be confused with the famous singer bloke. "I'm the much less well known comic book illustrator." Within the comic book industry, however, he is well known—as a regular artist for 2000AD's 'Judge Dredd' and chronicler of the early life of Death in Judge Dredd Megazine, or as an artist who has tackled Grendel, Superman, Batman and Catwoman, or as a colourist for Geof Darrow's surreal Shaolin Cowboy.

At a time when Britain's comics were beginning a love affair with fully painted art in the wake of Simon Bisley's 'Slaine: The Horned God', Doherty preferred treating colour as an enhancement to his line art. "The few bits I actually painted were a bit of a disaster," he would later say. "Mostly I coloured my line drawings—I'd ink on watercolour paper with waterproof ink then use transparent media like coloured inks, watercolours and thinned acrylics so the line showed through, and finally finish off with solid colour over the top."

Doherty was taking an applied physics degree at university when he decided that his career should take a different direction. He had taken life classes at art school and held down a Saturday job at Odyssey 7, a comic shop in Leeds, which brought him into contact with Duncan Fegrado, then working on 'The New Statesman' for Crisis with writer John Smith. Smith's friend Chris Standley was also trying to get into comics and he and Doherty collaborated on a five-page story "about an unemployed bloke, something we knew a lot about back then."

After meeting Steve MacManus at a Glasgow comics' convention, the story was sold to Crisis ('Felicity', Crisis 47, 1990), with Doherty also providing that issue's cover. He was immediately offered 'Young Death', the origin story of the popular character from the 'Judge Dredd' strip, written (under the pen-name Brian Skuter) by Dredd co-creator John Wagner for the debut issues of a new 2000AD spin-off, the Judge Dredd Megazine. Doherty's first professional assignment couldn't have had a higher profile.

It's dark humour proved a hit with readers and Doherty soon became a regular on the Dredd strip in 2000AD, drawing episodes of the epic 'Judgement Day' storyline and a memorable one-shot, 'Bury My Knee at Wounded Heart', often cited as being one of the best Dredd stories ever. He also drew 'Mechanismo Returns' for the Judge Dredd Megazine (1993) and a one-off tale of 'Armitage' (1994).

Doherty soon found himself working for the US market, drawing the 6-issue Grendel Tales: The Devil May Care (1995-96) and 'Carson of Venus' (Dark Horse Presents, 1998) for Dark Horse and pencilling a 3-part series for Vertigo's The Dreaming written by Bryan Talbot ('Weird Romance', 1997). Further work on The Dreaming, Superman 80-Page Giant, Batman and Superman: World's Finest and Catwoman followed from DC Comics over the next few years.

In 2001 Doherty (then a relative newcomer to computers and computer colouring) found himself working full-time for a computer games company. Over the years he has also worked as an illustrator, storyboard artist and designer but has always returned to comics when the opportunity allows.

The 2005 2000AD strip 'Breathing Space' (set in Luna 1, a moonbase in the Dredd universe) was begun by Doherty, but a lengthy illness meant the strip had to be reassigned after two issues; Doherty coloured the remaining seven episodes (pencilled and inked by Laurence Campbell & Lee Townsend).

Doherty has subsequently worked mostly as a colourist—on the 3-issue mini-series Seaguy (2004) and the 7-issue Geof Darrow series Shaolin Cowboy, which he also lettered and designed. The latter was nominated for five Eisner Awards in 2005.

Over the past five years, Doherty has appeared regularly in the Judge Dredd Megazine, drawing episodes of 'Devlin Waugh' (2007) and the lead Dredd strip as well as colouring 'Bato Loco' (2009). His recent work has included colouring the Dredd episode 'The Convert' in 2000AD (2010) and a DCU Legacies back-up, 'Revelation!', drawn by Frank Quitely (2011).

Examples of Peter Doherty's artwork can be found for sale here.

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