The Art of Ian Miller + Interview

The Art of Ian Miller

Titan Publishing got in touch asking if I’d Interview British Illustrator Ian Miller to coincide with the launch of ‘The Art of Ian Miller’ a 160 page compendium spanning four decades.

The book put together by both Ian Miller and Tom Whyte is loaded with over 300 pieces of Ian’s totally unique work and is backed up with detailed descriptions on the creative process, inspiration and general artistic philosophy. Suffice to say It’s a must-read for any serious fantasy or sci-fi illustration aficionado. Here’s the feature.

Imagine if you will that all of science fiction and fantasy can be mapped to points and places on Earth. Take for example Ridley Scott’s vision of Cyberpunk which blends the shimmering streets of Tokyo and rain lashed gloom of Gotham against a hell like the backdrop of refineries & furnaces, a homage to England’s once mighty industrial North East, the place of Ridley’s childhood.

How then about the Post-Apocalypse? It’s difficult to think far beyond the scrub and desert wilderness of the Australian outback or the charred and tangled rubble of a Los Angeles thereafter nuclear firestorm. Destruction as defined by Messrs Miller and Cameron, it’s a vision that’s been recycled countless times.

Even Tolkien’s middle earth has it’s probable roots in the rolling hills of Lancashire (or Cheshire?), and the foreboding grey of the Welsh Mountains. All this of course re-imagined by Jackson and grand-scaled as New Zealand’s greatest ever tourist advert.

Now then fire your mind skywards and glide far out to sea to a place that only appears on only the most ancient or wildest of maps…

Below some icy archipelago, crowned by impossibly twisted peaks that pierce deep swirling clouds, constantly stirred by fast-moving winds. The cauldron howls.

Descend now through the vortices, time and scale begin to quiver then bend. Suddenly the cloud breaks into a shock wave, colours and form ripple and blur. Welcome to the ultimate gothic netherworld; a place both infinitely ancient and ultramodern in a way that far outstrips steampunk. Here vast towers aeons old form the backdrops as colossal arenas as the Teutonic Knights of chaos battle giant wooden Proto-Mechs, above baroque dragons soar and pulse fire across a nightmare-scape beyond the edge of the imagination…

This is but a taste of the realm of Ian Miller.

'Nightmare Blue' Art by Justin Todd 1975

A varied selection of retro SF and Fantasy book art. Sci-Fi-O-Rama was pretty much built upon the back of posting forgotten book and games art, so with a renaissance in blog activity what better than to revisit the archives and excerpt another sampler.

What’s fascinating with each of these examples is that though they might not always fully hit the mark there’s always something of interest or worthy of reference. This then might be a style of colouring, a technique in rendering, the choice and application of a typeface, or even something as obscure as the design of a motif. In short, even the most subtle fragment of detailing can flick a creative switch, it’s all about your own imagination. That isn’t, however, to say that every Sci-Fi book cover has merit – au contraire – they most certainly do not. But that’s what we’re here for, to filter and serve only the very finest…

In putting this (abridged) selection together we’re go revisit several of the artists featured at Sci-Fi-O-Rama before, people who defined and shaped the genre such as

Kilian Eng - Sci-Fi-O-Rama

OK, as promised, I’m very proud to present an exclusive Sci-Fi-O-Rama feature, this time with Swedish Design and Illustration superstar Kilian Eng. Here we have a total tour de force of the imagination, gloriously twisted, washed in 80’s technicolour and blending only the very finest Sci-Fi and Fantasy references…

I’m quite sure you’ll be familiar with Kilian’s work, he’s built a considerable following since first proliferating through the major design/illustration blogs. Interestingly it was in fact Dan McPharlin that first put me onto Kilian with a post over at But Does it Float, and I’d put these two in the same bracket, pretty much the finest contemporary Science Fiction Illustrators on the planet. Another totally enviable fact is just how prolific Kilian is, check his primary portfolio site at behance.net/KilianEng for a vast array of interstellar work, amassed in just a few years.

Mondo - Empire Strikes Back

Mondo - Holy Mountain

Mondo - The Thing

Mondo - Alien

So then for this piece I’ve grabbed just a taster selection from the Mondo back catalogue, I’ll add some notes on those in a moment, then run the Q& A kindly supplied by Mondo’s creative director Justin Ishmael. First up though here’s some background information…

Mondo is the collectable art boutique of the Alamo Drafthouse. If you’re not familiar with the theatre, it’s a world-renowned cinema eatery and has been named the “best theatre in America” by Entertainment Weekly. The Alamo Drafthouse is based in Austin, TX and there are currently 10 theatres in Texas and Virginia, with plans to expand nationwide. The Alamo Drafthouse derives its reputation from its incredible programming. Mondo creates the poster artwork for special Alamo Drafthouse events (see the examples from the nationwide Rolling Roadshow tour, a yearly event

Brecht Vandenbroucke – Polar Expedition

Brecht Vandenbroucke - Polar Expedition

A polar expedition about to be ruined (in a big way) by a bizarrely crowned, giant furry humanoid…

This is the work of zany Belgian Illustrator Brecht Vandenbroucke, an artist who specialises in mixing playful cartoon-like, video game visuals with horror and general weirdness… Suffice to say then, that his portfolio includes some pretty far out work, definitely raises a smile for me.

To see more of Brecht’s work check his Flickr Photostream http://www.flickr.com/photos/brecht_vandenbroucke/ or blog http://brechtvandenbroucke.blogspot.com/

Ian Miller – Dark Elf

Ian Miller – Dark Elf

Ian Miller Dark Elf

Continuing on with the freaky portraiture I thought I’d start 2010 with a piece I’d earmarked and scanned right back when I first began this blog, and I guess some extremely sinister character art from blog favourite Ian Miller, is as good a way as any to kick off a new decade!

This Illustration is scanned from one of the few Fighting Fantasy books I still have in my possession – FF28 “Phantoms of Fear” – published by Puffin back in 1987 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phantoms_of_Fear. The game plot revolves around a hopeless near suicide mission (is there any other sort?) battling through a blighted forest and eventually infiltrating a vast demonic fortress… The adventure takes place in both the physical and dream worlds, but what really makes it stand out are of course Ian’s fantastical warped illustrations, I can’t think anyone else better to illustrate a chaos tainted army of darkness. If your a fan of Ian’s I definitely recommend checking this rarity out, its available on Amazon for next to nothing: http://ow.ly/WWP2

If your new to Ian’s work I’ve

1 2 3