Peter Dennis was born in 1950. Inspired by contemporary magazines such as Look and Learn, he studied illustration at Liverpool Art College. Peter has since contributed to hundreds of books, predominantly on historical subjects. He is a keen wargamer and modelmaker and is based in Nottinghamshire, UK.
What are you doing at the moment?
Finishing off the plates for Stephen Turnbull's latest Fortress title on Early Japanese castles, sending in the cover for Legions Triumphant, one of the new Field of Glory army list books, and rubbing my hands with glee as I got a new commission today which contains full-on WWI dogfight spread. I've never done one of those before, and I can smell burnt castor oil already. I've wanted to have a bash at that since I read the early Biggles books... some while ago. I'm also limbering up to start painting the plates for the latest WWII tactics title. Flame throwers, wire clippers and catalogue pages of stuff.
When did you get hooked on history and why?
I can't remember a time when I wasn't hooked on it. I must have been a very odd kid. It was Look and Learn magazine that really fired me up to think about painting and drawing history though, and the Frank Bellamy strips in Eagle and Victor Ambrus' books in the 60's when I was very, very young...
If you were any warrior from history who would you be?
I'm not sure I'm single-minded enough to be an actual warrior. I see myself as more the Melton Prior sort of figure, or Alfred Waugh. Look them up.
What is your favourite war film?
I think the best thing done in recent years is Band of Brothers but it was a telly piece. If forced to commit to a film it would have to be All Quiet on the Western Front. Black Hawk Down was good too though, so was the slated Alexander of recent memory, although why were they all IRISH?
Why do you think Military History is important?
For the same reason that all history is important. Looking backwards helps you to see forwards. Oh, and it's a living. Military History doesn't draw itself, y'know.
What is your favourite quote from history/historical quote?
ACW General Sedgewick's last words 'They couldn't hit an elephant at this range.'
If you could fly any plane or drive any tank from history, which would it be?
Fokker DVII. More forgiving than a Camel, so I might survive my first flight. Then I'd transfer to the Camel. Blame Biggles.
Best military cock-up in history?
We're witnessing a corker in Iraq right now.
Who is your military hero?
If you could pit two armies from history against each other, which two would you pick, and why?
Shaka's Zulus against the Spartans. It would be like two trains crashing head on.
Elephants or horses? Discuss the pros and cons…
Horses. I can't bear heights. (Ferrets would be favourite.)
Favourite Michael Caine quote?
What is your favourite war comic?
When I was a yoof, you could get comic books of literary classics and they did Caesar's Gallic Wars - absolutely unbelievable in EVERY sense of the word.
Spartan or Roman?
That's a tough one. Hot baths and central heating Vs endless military training and a draught up your kilt? Sorry, I can't decide.
What is your favourite Osprey book?
That's another tough one. You must understand that I see them entirely through their illustrations, but two of my three choices are also written by their Illustrators, which is humbling to a mere scratcher. The Zulu War written and illustrated by Angus McBride. And any other of his titles really. Like everybody else in the world, I love Angus' work. Knight of Outremer by David Nicolle, illustrated by Christa Hook, just beautiful and SOOO useful to the likes of me. British Battle Insignia (1), written and illustrated by Mike Chappell. This is the definitive lesson in how to do a very dense and informative Osprey with terrific panache and an obvious love of your subject.
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