Dungeon Dweller(The Dungeons of Torgar)
By : Deborah Susan Jones : Editor
At the time this picture was created, for the Joe Dever Roleplay Gamebook series Lone Wolf, Peter had developed a technique honed by a half-decade working in film and TV and the background of which he calls a "scene setter" which is a term used at the BBC in London by program designers he worked with, on series such as Captain Zep Space Detective and The Two Ronnies Show as well as regional News in the South of England and which derives from multi plane camera techniques, originated by Disney and others decades earlier, and which the BBC took a step further by using linked multiple cameras instead of various sheets of glass through which one camera filmed (a multi-plane camera).
Called "CSO" technique (colour separated overlay) one camera is synced so that a specified colour, typical but not exclusively blue, is unexposed film allowing for an element filmed on a separate camera (or several) to be syncronised with it.
Essentially, it is a matte technique.
The background was created first, painted in acrylic, as it would have been if it had been a piece for TV, shot on transparency so that it could be used again and have different characters appear over it, like actors on a stage walking in or off, and then the foreground character was painted on. A photoprint was then made and the monster character painted on it in oil paint.
The CSO technique became frequently used at the BBC by the artist in the 80s and his "scenesetters" typically had actors walking around in them and in the case of the Captain Zep Space Detective series had overlay foreground characters drawn in felt tip markers by Trevor Goring producing a blend of comic strip foreground and imaginative realistic backgrounds and live action actors also interacting with the drawn characters, a visual combination created as the program style, invented by he two artits and a then senior BBC designer called Ray Ogden.
The Captain Zep series was Peter's introduction to the CSO technique when invited by Trevor, a colleague from his St. Martins School of Art years, and his quick and intrinsic grasp of the technique led to many more TV projects that followed at the BBC and soon his reputation with the technique led to commercial projects for companies such as Ford UK.
Eventually, after half a decade of using the technique in TV the artist felt the time had come to move on and take the concept of multi-layer use into the book cover and computer game areas where the image was visualised as a multi-layer scene but actually painted as one piece rather than split into actual physical layers and to this day, where deemed appropriate and useful, he still visualises some paintings this way.
Deborah Susan Jones