I first came across Ian Miller’s work on the covers of Michael Scott-Rohan’s ‘The Winter of the World’ series back in the late eighties. Actually, that’s not quite true; the first time I came across Ian Miller’s work (although I didn’t realise it at the time) was on the front of the Fighting Fantasy Gamebook ‘The Citadel of Chaos’ (which I still need to read but anyway…) I guess what I’m trying to say here is that Ian Miller is one of those fantasy artists who has done a lot more work than you think; you’ve probably even seen his work and not realised it – like all that work he did for Games Workshop back in the day (late eighties again) that I didn’t realise was him until I read the back of this book.
‘The Art of Ian Miller’ has over three hundred pieces of artwork, spanning a career that is decades long, and is a book that I got lost in for what felt like hours the other night. Every single piece of artwork is full of detail that demands your full attention and is also full of ominous undertones that really capture the darkness in the worlds that Miller portrays; be it Gormenghast (I saw little hints of the ‘Winter of the World’ covers there), Lovecraft’s mythos or just the strange stuff that apparently goes on inside Miller’s head.
These are dark and dangerous worlds that Miller gives us a window into and he gives us some commentary on each piece at the same time. I got a lot out of the history of each piece but got a little lost when he started to explain the process of how each piece was created. If you’re really into your art then you’ll get a lot out of this; I on the other hand just like to look at the pictures and there is plenty of scope in this book to do just that.
For those who didn’t know it already, ‘The Art of Ian Miller’ clearly shows that Ian Miller has the imagination and skill to capture iconic moments of fantasy in just the way they were intended to be. Not only this though; Miller has more than a few dark visions of his own (those trees…) and it all makes for disturbing yet compelling viewing. If you get a chance, have a look for yourself.