Cybermen! Ruthless, implacable cyborgs who have replaced emotion with logic, they are among the most deadly villains on Doctor Who. And despite being men in suits, they manage to look other-worldly, creepy and menacing. This took a lot of design savvy, as this exclusive concept art shows.
This artwork comes from a brilliant new book called Doctor Who: Impossible Worlds: A 50 Year Treasury of Art and Design by Stephen Nicholas and Mike Tucker, which is basically just a treasury of info about the designs of Doctor Who. The book is chock full of concept art from the past 10 years, including a whole chapter full of gorgeous TARDIS concept art that shows how the Doctor’s time machine could have looked. And whole host of gorgeous paintings by Peter McKinstry, Bryan Hitch and other talented artists. But there are also some rare, incredibly amazing sketches from the original series—including the first ever Dalek design sketches from 1963. And 1970s spaceship art, from “Frontier in Space” and other stories. And the early sketches for K-9, the Doctor’s robot dog!
There are also chapters on gadgets and weapons, the designs of monsters like the Daleks and Sontarans—and some absolutely wonderful concept art from the 2013 anniversary special, “The Day of the Doctor.”
The authors of this book are Nichols, the Supervising Art Director for Doctor Who since 2004, and Tucker, a VFX designer who’s worked on Doctor Who since the 1980s. They bring a deep understanding of the ever-evolving design sensibilities of the show’s major elements. And most of all, paging through the gorgeous images in Doctor Who: Impossible Worlds leaves you in awe of just how ground-breaking and intricate the designs on this show have been over the decades.
So we’re stoked to bring you some exclusive pages from the book, from the chapter about the Cybermen.
We’ve featured some Cybermen concept art before—here, here, here, and here—but these new images are still a revelation. Among other things, they include the first ever Cybermen costume sketches, from back in 1966. PLUS the earliest sketches of the Cybermen redesign from 2006, when they were brought back to the new series for the first time. It’s fascinating to see how many different takes there have been on the same basic concept.
You should definitely click to enlarge these:
Doctor Who: Impossible Worlds is available on Tuesday.