Graham Bleathman is one of the country's foremost illustrators of Gerry Anderson's television series including Stingray, Captain Scarlet, Joe 90 and, of course, Thunderbirds. He is particularly well known for his 'cross section' illustrations of the spacecraft, vehicles and buildings from those shows and his illustrations have appeared in a number of books, magazines and comics since the early 1990s.
Born in Salisbury, England in 1959, Graham grew up with the Gerry Anderson programmes and started to seriously collect the merchandise and comics in the early 1970s whilst still at school. Buying Countdown every week brought about an interest in the original comic it was mainly reprinted from, TV Century 21. That in turn led to a fascination with the cross sections of the craft which appeared in the comic and its associated annuals.These illustrations were often referred to when Graham was drawing the new versions in the 1990s and beyond!
After graduating from Exeter College of Art and Design in 1982 with a degree in graphic design, Graham joined the Salisbury Journal as an in-house illustrator. Most of the time, this meant creating advertisements for local motor dealers (a soul destroying exercise, if there ever was one!) but also working on the paper's Special Publications Unit which created opportunities to provide cross sections of local historic landmarks.
designed and illustrated three tabloid format Tourist Guides for the
Salisbury Journal, all of which involved cross sections of the Cathedral,
Museum and other buildings. These guides along with some comic strip
influenced advertisements won the paper a number of Newspaper Society
Awards. Two books, both designed and extensively illustrated by Graham,
about local villages were also published during this period.
1991 Graham left the Salisbury Journal and moved to Bristol where he
almost immediately began working freelance for the Bristol
Evening Post and Fleetway. For the former, cross sections were commissioned
on subjects ranging from Casualty's Holby Hospital to hot air balloons
and for Fleetway, a long association began with TV Century 21 editor
Alan Fennell, producing cross sections of the Thunderbirds craft.
to 1995 Graham produced cross sections and many covers illustrations
for the Thunderbirds,
Scarlet and Space
Precinct comics, alongside an extensive range of associated licensed
products. These ranged from jigsaws, lunchboxes and greetings cards,
to boardgames and book covers. A reprint of Fleetway's cross sections
appeared in 1993 called 'the
International Rescue Book of FAB Cross Sections'!
of the real world and the fictional settings of Britain's TV soaps kept
Graham occupied in the mid 1990s, with work appearing in Radio Times,
Inside Soap and its sister magazines, Peoples' Friend and Cult TV magazine.
Colour covers featuring Star Trek and other shows also appeared for
the British Science Fiction Review magazine and the Nexus
2000 saw the resurgence of Thunderbirds once again and whilst in the meantime, Graham has produced a book of Thunderbirds FAB cross sections and a book of assorted Gerry Anderson related cross sections, he is back drawing for another Thunderbirds comic. It almost goes without saying what sort of work he's doing for Redan's comic...it isn't comic strips and it isn't covers either!
In 2002 Graham continued with the Redan cross sections while undertaking a variety of private commissions. In September the book 'Thunderbirds classic comic strips' was published along with the Marks and Spencers reprint of Thunderbirds FAB cross sections. At the end of the year Graham produced a cross section of the Mr Psycho robot from the BBC TV series 'Robot Wars' for Titan Magazines.
Graham has recently diversified into areas such as X-Men, Spiderman, Dan Dare and RAF historic aircraft. 2005 sees the 40th anniversary collectors edition of his Thunderbirds FAB Cross Sections book being published.
Apart from drawing cross sections, Graham lives in Bristol with his wife, Katie and their two cats. His personal interests cover collecting and listening to the music of Rick Wakeman and progressive rock in general, collecting Godzilla merchandise, original comic art and Gerry Anderson merchandise.
An interview with Graham can be found on the Supermarionation web page.
Page last updated: May 8, 2005