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Out Now: Who — A History in Art, a Personal Journey Through Doctor Who’s Past

Fancy a different kind of Doctor Who book? Who: A History in Art by Ken Tarling is a personal artistic excursion into the history of Doctor Who. It’s published with the help and support of Candy Jar’s award-winning partner imprint, Jelly Bean Books.

Ken has always been a fan of Doctor Who, and like most fans of the 1980s, he thoroughly enjoyed drawing characters from the series. One such favourite was the Terileptils from the Fifth Doctor story, The Visitation. Over the years, he has considered compiling a book of his art, but life has always seemed to get in the way. In 1994, Ken a major accident, which left him with no left thumb and bone cancer of the left hand.

Ken says:

“Sadly I was left handed and I had to learn to write with my right hand. As you can imagine, this took quite a bit of time before I could master it (bit of a shame considering I wanted to become an art teacher). It took me two years before I could write again, let alone draw. I didn’t draw again for another eleven years. I guess it was a lack of confidence.”

When Doctor Who returned in 2005, Ken’s enthusiasm for art returned. Ken continues:

“I tried again, and then this time I couldn’t stop drawing until 2010. In particular, I really wanted to sketch a Slitheen from Aliens of London/World War Three. Once finished, I thought it wasn’t too bad.”

Ken continued to draw, and then in 2019, he got some devastating news.

“2019 was the year I died. I kid you not. I had a AAA aneurysm (Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm). It’s when the main blood vessel that runs from the heart, through the chest and the tummy bursts, causing life threatening internal bleeding. This can happen in men and women over 70. Odd really because I was 50. I had a five percent chance of surviving. Five has always been my lucky number. I was in surgery for eight hours and had received 36 litres of blood. I was lucky to survive.

“Then a week after coming out of hospital, I had a bad reaction to the blood thinning tablets and had a nosebleed that would not stop. I had a cardiac arrest. I actually died for seven seconds and slipped into a coma for about a day. My family were told that if I did not wake up by a certain time, they would have to turn off the life support machine. I woke up an hour before, thank goodness.”

Here’s the blurb:

This is over thirty years in the making! Ken’s personal history of Doctor Who in art. After a few setbacks and some major health incidents that resulted in Ken dying five times, Ken now brings you a collection of his drawings from the world’s greatest sci-fi show.

Ken is keen to stress that this is a passion project to share with like-minded fans. He concludes:

“I hope people enjoy my interpretation of some of the Doctor Who stalwarts. My collection includes the Cybermen, Ice Warriors, Sea Devils, Omega, Morbius, and the Toclafane. I hope it will encourage the next generation of fans to pick up a pen and draw.”

As Ken has suffered from cancer twice in my life and survived, he will donate a percentage of the profits to Cancer Research as a token of his gratitude for the help he received on both occasions.

Who: A History in Art is out now from Jelly Bean Books.

Philip Bates

Editor and co-founder of the Doctor Who Companion. When he’s not watching television, reading books ‘n’ Marvel comics, listening to The Killers, and obsessing over script ideas, Philip Bates pretends to be a freelance writer. He enjoys collecting everything. Writer of The Black Archive: The Pandorica Opens/ The Big Bang, The Silver Archive: The Stone Tape, and 100 Objects of Doctor Who.

Out Now: Who — A History in Art, a Personal Journey Through Doctor Who’s Past

by Philip Bates time to read: 2 min
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