Dave McKean

This article is from 2008

Dave McKean

The comics guy who connects with rock stars and chefs

An illustration masterclass from Dave McKean is a very special thing indeed. As one of the most innovative illustrators in Britain, his association with Neil Gaiman has raised him to a near-deity among comic fans and goths, providing the covers for all of The Sandman’s 75-issue run from 1989–1996. This was a ground-breaking series that brought a literate intelligence to the medium. ‘Neil’s story was far more ambitious,’ explains McKean. ‘It was very much of its time but brought a new audience to comics, because people who weren’t buying comics were buying Sandman.’

McKean’s (much imitated) covers mixed painting, collage, sculpture and photography adding to an already unique package. ‘I was trying to clear out all the clutter of how comics are usually drawn. Getting back to what people really look like, to start from scratch then start to be more abstract and expressionistic from there. It’s an ongoing development.’

McKean also provided art for Black Orchid, Mr Punch and Violent Cases (all with Gaiman) as well as his own Cages project and Grant Morrison’s Arkham Asylum, while beyond the world of comics he’s created countless adverts, album covers for everyone from Tori Amos to Alice Cooper and is currently working on a project with chef Heston Blumenthal. None of which is to mention his children’s books, such as Wolves in the Walls, his film MirrorMask, and design work for the Harry Potter films. It’s been a visually rich career, that continues to branch out in new directions. ‘I like doing lots of different things really; I’m happiest learning a new skill.’

19 Aug, 8pm, £9 (£7).

Dave McKean

The graphic designer who has worked on 'Hellblazer' and 'The Sandman' offers a masterclass in illustration and design for those who have ideas for the next 'Batman', and a talk for those who don't. 'Part of the Edinburgh International Book Festival'.