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Page last updated at 13:16 GMT, Monday, 24 May 2010 14:16 UK
Hollywood illustrator looks back on career
Hollywood illustrator, John Rose
Stanley Kubrick asked John to create illustrations of outer space

A man who created storyboards for Hollywood films, and retired in 1998 to live in Lyme Regis, has been looking back on his career.

John Rose has terminal cancer and is being cared for at the Joseph Weld Hospice in Dorchester.

He was born in Yorkshire and worked as an illustrator for 30 years.

John began his career illustrating books, but also worked on some blockbuster movies, including Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey.

John said of working on the 1968 film: "Stanley wanted some illustrations of what it might look like in outer space.

"He wanted professional imaginations, or as they subsequently came to be known, conceptualists."


John, who is in his 80s, also produced storyboards [images displayed in sequence, like a comic strip, for the purpose of planning a movie] for many films which never made it to the big screen, including Moby Dick which should have starred Sean Connery as Captain Ahab.

Robert O'Connor, of Osiris Films, wrote to John in 1991 about his illustrations for Moby Dick.

John's sketch of Captain Ahab in Moby Dick
Captain Ahab should have been played by Sean Connery

He wrote: "On behalf of myself and the executives at Universal we feel your work is extraordinary.

"It has brought the characters in the film to life in the most dramatic fashion."

John said: "The best films never got made.

"It upset me that a film I worked on with Sir David Lean [British filmmaker whose works include Lawrence of Arabia and Doctor Zhivago] never got made."

John explained that the film industry was heavily unionised.

He said: "In my day you either got in by accident or not at all.

"You could not work in the movie business unless you were a member of the union, and you could not be a member of the union unless you worked in the movie business."

'Well practised'

John also revealed the reason storyboards are so-called:

He said: "In my office or corridor, depending on how long the storyboard was going to be, I would have both side walls lined with boards, about half an inch thick.

"Then I would start in blocks of about four or five [creating detailed sketches of what each camera shot, in the film, would look like]."

John added: "Being a master draftsman you have to understand anatomy - not just human, but also the anatomy of clothing - as well as the history of costume.

"You also have to be very well practised so you can do it 'off the cuff'."

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