The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy is one of my favourite books of all time. It has also been made into radio plays, albums, a TV series and even a Hollywood movie (each one different to the other). My personal favourite version (other than the book) is the 1981 British TV series, which I own on DVD and every few years I enjoy re-watching it.
Recently I started re-watching it again because I wanted to add the character of “Marvin the Paranoid Android” to my ongoing series of robot-themed paintings. However, I got inspired by a completely unrelated scene that goes along with this scene from the book;
[…] the fabulously beautiful planet Bethselamin is now so worried about the cumulative erosion by ten billion visiting tourists a year that any net imbalance between the amount you eat and the amount you excrete whilst on the planet is surgically removed from your bodyweight when you leave: so every time you go to the lavatory there it is vitally important to get a receipt.”
– Douglas Adams, “The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy”, Chapter 8
In the TV series, this scene is illustrated by someone flipping through postcards of the planet, and it was pretty clear that the postcard props used had been hand painted. It immediately occured to me what fun it would be to recreate them, especially since I’ve painted so many postcard-sized paintings in the last year.
Each painting took two hours or less, were done in gouache, and while they’re not perfect copies of the paintings in the TV series (mostly due to the fact that TV shot in 1981 had pretty poor resolution so it’s not easy to see the details), they’re close enough that anyone who’s as big a fan as I am should (I hope!) recognise them. They were really great fun to do.
Because they are copies of someone else’s work there are probably copyright limitations on what I can do with these, so they won’t be for sale either as originals or prints. I’m going to frame and keep them for myself, like the true fanboy that I am! However, doing them has awakened an idea I had several years ago about doing precisely this – postcard-sized paintings from fictional places. When I first had the idea I didn’t have the painting skill to carry it off, but now … well, stay tuned, because if you like these then I hope I’ll be able to offer some completely original new ones soon.
By the way, yes, I’m still going to paint Marvin. In fact, I’m planning to paint him as he was seen in both the 1981 TV series and the 2005 movie.