Craddock began reading and collecting US comics in the 1960's. These included TV21 and Marvel. He attended Newcastle Polytechnic and impressed his tutors with his vivid use of colour. Craddock is known to have a formidable collection of comics.
His first commercial work was a short science fiction comic strip in the 2000AD 1979 Summer Sci-Fi Special. In the same year he signed up as an illustrator with an artist's agency and went on to produce several hundred paintings in oils and acrylic over the next 15 years. In this period he also worked on video covers, magazine cover illustration, computer game covers and children's books (covers mainly), notably including several Fighting Fantasy illustrations. Fantasy illustration also included posters and the 17 paintings for Merlin Publishing for the trading card series of Battle Cards.
Craddock continued to indulge in his passion for comics and superheroes by producing many paintings of superhero characters over that period, (particularly for the Superheroes monthly and annuals in the early 80's). He taught himself to paint on the computer in the 1990s and with Angus Mckie, met Dave Gibbons who asked them to colour Martha Washington Goes to War (written by Frank Miller). He grabbed this opportunity to "do what I always wanted to work in comics using my painting skills."
He is now renowned as a colourist. For 2000AD, he espouses the use of computers to colour comics. "The computer just enhances the painting skills that I already have. It's a Wonderful tool for giving an artist choice - it's so quick to change things, to try out new things and experiment. With acrylic or oil paint you have to keep your early strokes and you're limited with experimentation because you're working to a deadline." One of his most notable pieces of work is the colouring for the Dredd saga The Pit.
Lee Sullivan, the famed comic artist talks of Alan Craddock as being a "marvellous colourist" and "the first guy I knew who was doing stuff which augmented what you were supplying - he would do interesting colour backgrounds, skies, import 3D models of Mars and all kinds of stuff."
Fighting Fantasy Gamebooks
Other Fighting Fantasy
Additionally, Alan Craddock also supplied a colour plate for the A4 edition of Out of the Pit.
- Out of the Pit (Puffin, 1985)
Craddock also contributed to Steve Jackson's BattleCards. His work did not appear in the US version but only in the UK version. In the US version his artwork was replaced by the work of Martin McKenna. This means that the card dedicated to Craddock (UK Card 141) - Alan Craddock, is unique to the UK set. In fact, the only other cards unique to that set are also Craddock's because they were not reproduced at all in the US, namely UK card 100 - Quest Clues and UK card 111 - Battle Secrets).
|UK No.||UK Name|
|7||The Trading PostNote 1|
|26||Summon Creature Spell|
|39||Magic Shield Spell|
|91||Shield Dissolve Spell|
|104||Peaceful Calm Spell|
|117||Mental Combat Spell|
|130||Sword Control Spell|
|143||Force Field Spell|
- The Trading Post (BattleCard) specified that the artist was Unknown. This was to facilitate a quest (Lord Magnoble's Quest), where the player had to find the five cards whose artist was identified by a question mark ("?"), rather than by name, and having found these cards, identify who the artist was. In the case of this card, in the UK set, it was Alan Craddock.
Outside of Fighting Fantasy
As a colourist his comic work includes:
- Action Man - Panini - '96/2005
- Spider- Man - Panini - '97/2004
- Digimon in Wickid magazine - Panini -
- Tweenies - BBC
- Doctor Who Adventures weekly - ongoing series BBC
- Doctor Who Battles in Time - GEFabbri
- Jackie Chan Adventures 80 issues- Eaglemoss
- Spider Tower of power - Eaglemoss
- Dr. Who - 42 weekly strips in the Radio Times
- Cartoon Network and Lego promo material
- Neil Gaiman's Mr. Hero - Tekno Comics 18 issues
- Neil Gaiman's Wheel of Worlds - Tekno Comics 2 48 page specials
- Martha Washington goes to War - Dark Horse - with Angus Mckie
- Superman at Earth's End - DC Comics - 48 page
- Elseworlds - with Angus Mckie
- Marvel Portraits of a Universe - Marvel Comics US -
- Fantastic Four illo
- 2000 AD, Judge Dredd Megazine + Rogue Trooper Special- Fleetway
- Telescope Comics - Team Telescope
- BattleCards UK edition, Card 141, Merlin Publishing
- Notably Craddock's artwork is found only in the UK edition of BattleCards, his artwork being replaced by that of Martin McKenna for the US editions
- Creators of 2000AD
- Lee Sullivan's work includes Transformers, Deathshead, Doctor Who, RoboCop, William Shatner's TekWorld, 2000AD, Action Man, and Redan's Thunderbirds magazine.
- Lee Sullivan - An interview with the artist