Kklak!: The Doctor Who Art of Chris Achilleos
Kklak!: The Doctor Who Art of Chris Achilleos covers for the official Target novelisations, which began in the early ‘70s, defined a generation’s image of the Doctor and his adventures – particularly after the show disappeared from British screens in the late ‘80s.
Lavishly detailed, with psychedelic overtones and an unapologetically pulpy sensibility, these covers perfectly captured the eccentric appeal of the classic series.
Kklak!: The Doctor Who Art of Chris Achilléos collects the entirety of Achilléos’ Doctor Who artwork in chronological order, along with commentary from Achilléos himself (as well as some fans) – presenting the definitive guide to his seminal work. The book also includes a small contribution from twelfth Doctor Peter Capaldi and a foreword from Achilléos’ long-time friend and collaborator, the late Terrance Dicks. It also features four brand new covers by Chris and contributions from Jon Culshaw, Gary Russell, Colin Howard, David Howe, Shaun Russell, and lots of other fans.
NB: The cover has been updated, after several readers spotted that the Dalek sucker and gun were the wrong way round. See opposite for the new cover.
15/1/22: KKLAK IS NOW IN STOCK!
It is with great regret that we must announce that the painter and illustrator Chris Achilléos has died of a stroke aged 74. His artwork had a seminal influence on the science fiction and fantasy genres, and throughout a career spanning five decades, he consistently remained one of the most respected and in demand artists in his field.
The signature Achilléos style combined vivid colours, minute detailing, and an innovative blend of historical, psychedelic, and comic book influences.
Although much of his work was produced on commission, to be miniaturised and serve as book covers, album covers and film posters, Achilléos produced all his canvasses at large scale, which allowed him to showcase his rare technical skill, refined during his studies of Scientific and Technical Drawing.
Such was the ambition of his artwork that it earned the attention of George Lucas, who hired him as a conceptual artist for the visual-effects showpiece Willow; it was a position Achilléos had previously held on the production of the cult classic Heavy Metal, starring John Candy and Harold Ramis.
It was, however, for his book covers that Achilléos was perhaps best known. His work has adorned hundreds of books, for authors such as Robert E Howard, Edgar Rice Burroughs and Michael Moorcock. His prolific work for the Target range of Doctor Who novelisations, meanwhile, left an indelible mark upon the show and its universe.
In the worlds of Twelfth Doctor Peter Capaldi, a guest at the opening of a 2016 exhibition of Achilléos’ Doctor Who artwork: "Chris Achilléos artwork perfectly captures the action packed spirit of 1970s Doctor Who. It’s like he invented it himself."
Lavishly detailed, with psychedelic overtones and an unapologetically pulpy sensibility, Achilléos’ work both reproduced and reinterpreted the eccentric energy of the show’s classic era, defining a generation’s image of the Doctor and his adventures in the days before repeats or VHS recordings.
From the depths of outer space to the realms of fantasy, Achilléos’ subject matter was a far cry from his childhood in rural Cyprus, during the last days of British rule. He moved to England in his early teens, along with three siblings and widowed mother. He spoke no English and described himself as an introvert who sought solace from prejudice in his art.
Lacking the money for art supplies, he produced his earliest sketches on the back of wallpaper and on paper donated by a local butcher. Having always fiercely maintained his rights over his work, retaining wherever possible the original canvasses, his professional pieces have become highly sought after, and adorn the walls of collectors the world over.
Their abiding influence is evident in the work of the admirers he inspired. He leaves behind a wife, two daughters and two grandsons.