Ian Miller is an artist that old school gamers will know well. He drew for the first edition of Warhammer 40,000 and Realms of Chaos. He illustrated for Shadowrun and sister Earthdawn as well as Everway. Miller worked on Fighting Fantasy game books and has featured on covers for the likes of H.P. Lovecraft, William Gibson, Philip K. Dick and Ray Bradbury.
If you’ve seen any of his art then I suspect you will recognise the style. I’m not an art critic so I’ll simply describe what I see. I see lots of detail. Lots of lines, that run and run and twist and turn and fold. Miller doesn’t often use colour, he even more rarely uses lots of colour and that’s largely because he doesn’t need to. These hypnotic swirls of careful line-lures are enough to convey all sorts of ideas of movements and depths.
The style is gothic and spooky. I think the word is macabre. You’ll get a chill as your eye untangles the lines and you discover ghoulish detail hidden inside.
The book is divided up into subject matter, not eras, and so you’ve collections of mechanical devices, dragons, fantasy soldiers and creatures. I wonder if flicking through the Art of Ian Miller is like invading the dreams of a Warhammer FRP gamer’s unquiet dreams.
There’s art in how the hugely detailed drawings are presented too. Sometimes you’ll find four a page. You’ll find figures without borders and other sketches neatly packed in boxes. At other times images span across the page spread.
I accept this style isn’t for everyone. It’s very different to the bold blocks of colour we now get through anime or the realistic stylings of computer rendered perfection. Miller’s style is more surreal, more fairy tale than that and for me it’ll always bring fond memories of my early roleplaying games collection.
The following video tour was made with photographs and Google+’s Auto Awesome. The program places a filter on the video and so the quality and appearance will differ. The video tour is included to give you a much better idea of what lives between the pages.
My copy of The Art of Ian Miller was provided for review. Ian Miller & Titan Books, hardcover of 160 pages.