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.

The Model Shop Part 1: Star Dwellers sculpture by Grant Louden + interview (with Dan McPharlin)

Grant Louden 'The Star_Dwellers' Interviewed By Dan McPharlin

Welcome to Sci-Fi-O-Rama 2014.

Here we begin with a totally exclusive feature courtesy of both Grant Louden & Dan McPharlin.

So without ado lets hand over the controls to Dan…

Guest post by Dan McPharlin

And now for something a little bit different. Sci-Fi-O-Rama doesn’t normally feature 3D work, but Kieran has kindly handed me the keys and let me loose on his blog to write this guest post on a subject that is very dear to my heart; Sci-Fi model making.

Ever since I first saw that monolithic Star Destroyer swoop majestically into frame in the opening minutes of Star Wars it’s a subject I’ve been fascinated by. While CGI has, unfortunately, all but rendered the model-maker’s craft obsolete in the movies, there are still a handful of talented artists out there burning the torch for this fantastic art form…

'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

New Poster Art

Alejandro Magallanes - Behind The American Dream

‘Behind The American Dream’ Alejandro Magallanes (Mexico 2001)

This selection is a book sampler ‘New Poster Art’ published by Thames & Hudson in 2008. I picked up a copy after spying a fellow commuter thumbing through it on my regular morning train journey. As the title suggests its a fairly weighty compendium of selected poster Design, Typography and Illustration pulling in artists from across the planet…

The books global nature makes it interesting by default, encompassing an extremely varied selection of art and applied graphical technique. Here’s a taster with a few notes…

'Unknown Land' AGI Poster

‘Unknown Land’ AGI Poster (Netherlands 2007) Bob van Dijk
An interesting abstract blend of bold primary colours and grungy line work, lovely stuff.

Dieter Feseke - Maria Stuart by Friedrich Schiller

 ‘Maria Stuart by Friedrich Schiller’ – Dieter Feseke, Theatre Poster (Germany 2002-3)

As the above example demonstrates ‘New Post Art’ is full of examples of Silkscreen printed work, and thus many excellent references for contrasting,

Heinz Edelmann - Lord Of The Rings

‘Lord of the Rings’ (German Book Cover) – 1970

Sci-Fi-O-Rama is proud to present a selection of ‘far out’ imagery sequestered from the fantastically titled ‘Electrical Banana’ Psychedelic art book – and yes that title is indeed derived from a reference to a certain type of sex toy.

This article was originally planned as a feature on 60’s Psychedelic Music Posters by artists such as Bonnie MacleanVictor Moscoso and Wes Wilson and you may well have spotted samples appearing in the Sci-Fi Overflow. Upon searching for an appropriate book to feature I came across Electrical Banana and a selection of artists I was less familiar with so I thought I’d give it punt. Here’s the blurb:

Electrical Banana is the first definitive examination of the international language of psychedelia, focusing on the most important practitioners in their respective fields with a deft combination of hundreds of unseen images and exclusive interviews and essays, Electrical Banana aims to revise the common perception of psychedelic art, showing it to be more innovative, compelling, and revolutionary than was ever thought before.

The artists include: Marijke Kroger, a Dutch artist responsible for dressing the

TAMIYA – 1980s Buggy Box Art

Tamiya Logo

First and foremost I set up Sci-Fi-O-Rama as a design and illustration inspiration blog, and though it’s bursting at the seams with Sci-Fi and geek related articles this really is just a flavouring.  What I’m getting at is; whilst this Tamiya post might be one of the less Sci-Fi tainted (there’s no glowing spacecraft here) it does, however, contain plenty of top-notch retro Japanese graphic art spun back fro my favourite decade, the 1980’s.

As is customary with a subject I don’t pertain to with overarching knowledge I’ll issue a quick disclaimer; I’m not an RC car aficionado nor Dirt Buggy enthusiast so we are really only skimming the surface here. What I do have though are vivid memories of these Tamiya models and the craze they stirred remember the craze they stirred through the mid to late 80’s.

Before I start I’d like to point out that it’s entirely possible that all the below renderings are the work of one (highly talented) illustrator. That person I believe is Yoshiyuki Takani, but at the moment I cannot confirm. If anyone knows more please drop me a line.

Right then, to give the

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