Ian Miller's Awe-Inspiring Fantasy/Horror Book Art (IMAGES)

The following is an excerpt from the new book, The Art of Ian Miller, which is out now. This portion was written by the artist himself:

At an exhibition of my work, I once overheard an onlooker comment: “look at that, he MUST be on something.” I’m not.

I have never needed any mind-expanding substance to tap the subconscious: my childhood was a rich and whirligig world; I take from it freely.

My mother worked at a leading theatrical costumier’s in the 50s and as a consequence of this my toy box was a veritable treasure trove of fantastic objects and cast offs from a gaggle of films and theater productions. I was steeped in the world of make-believe, and surrounded by the "fantastic" most every day. Characters like the green-faced Wicked Witch of the West in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and the genie from Sinbad the Sailor, who also had a green face, were etched into my psyche and still, even today, provoke both excitement and fear when I think of them. These and all the other fantastic transports, the devices, from my toy box still frequently appear in my work.

Strange to say, the images I often think of as being gentle and playful, innocuous, are often the ones that disturb people the most. They inspire descriptions such as "dark dream," "disturbing," "melancholically beautiful." If it were me labeling the artwork, the term "pathos" would be the key.

This was a recent redraw of a wrap-around paperback cover I did for Lovecraft’s Haunter’s of the Dark for Panther in the 70s.
This is a re-draw of a Panther horror cover Mountains of Madness in the 1970’s. The original has a stillness but this quickly took on a life of its own.
This image of Tolkien’s Blackrider originated as an alternative second cover for Tolkien Bestiary. It wasn’t used and disappeared.
This image appears in the Tolkien Bestiary.
The rocking horse factory (top left) was the cover for the Secret Art.
This dragon appeared recently in a book called There and Back Again about the origins of The Hobbit by Mark Atherton.
Gormenghast is a draughtsman’s dream and a painter’s obsession. Mervyn Peake’s castle stands as fixed stone in a drama of complex characters and movement. Darkness vies with light, the beautiful with the grotesque, in a pageantry of grey stone and color. The sheer scale of Mervyn Peake’s imagination makes it impossible to do full justice to Gormenghast; I drew my first Gormenghast image in 1974 and can always imagine another way forwards.

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