{ feuilleton }


• • • Being a journal by artist and designer John Coulthart, cataloguing interests, obsessions and passing enthusiasms.


The art of Ian Miller


From the Hollywood Gothic series (1984).

Jeff VanderMeer has a great post about artist/illustrator Ian Miller at io9 which prompts me to write a few words about his work myself, something I’ve intended for a while.

Miller is indelibly linked for me with HP Lovecraft on account of his covers for the Panther Horror editions of the 1970s, the first Lovecraft volumes I bought. His sinister and minutely detailed ink drawings were a big inspiration when I started to draw seriously myself, unsurprisingly when my own drawings possessed a similar quantity of detail and macabre atmosphere. I still think his cover for William Hope Hodgson’s The House on the Borderland (below) is one of the most successful anyone has produced for that novel. His Mountains of Madness cover, while not being a direct illustration, perfectly encapsulates the feel of much of Lovecraft’s later fiction.

Jeff’s post has a wide range of work which I’ve avoided duplicating. The items shown here are all scans from my own library. More of Miller’s Lovecraft illustration will appear in the forthcoming Artists Inspired by HP Lovecraft from Centipede Press, along with several pieces by yours truly.


The House on the Borderland (1972).


The Haunter of the Dark (1972).

This much-abused paperback (scribbled on by my younger brother) looks like it was rescued from the catacombs depicted on the cover. This was the copy I used whilst adapting the Lovecraft comic strips which appear in my own Haunter of the Dark.


The Case of Charles Dexter Ward (1973).


At the Mountains of Madness (1974).


Beetle Helm (1976).

From several works featured in a collection of science fiction and fantasy art, Visions of the Future, a repackaging of illustrations from Science Fiction Monthly.


Green Dog Trumpet (1978).

One of the later art books produced by Dragon’s Dream before that company became the more commercial (and less adventurous) Paper Tiger. This was a collection of five wordless comic strips by Miller, crammed with inventive scenes and detail. This book and similar strips running in Heavy Metal magazine made a big impression on me at the time.


The Triwag Chronicles from Green Dog Trumpet (1978).


The Luck in the Head (1991).

Gollancz made a doomed foray into the world of comics in the early Nineties with a series of what they called graphic novels although all the books were only long comic stories with glossy production. The best two of these were A Small Killing by Alan Moore & Oscar Zarate and The Luck in the Head a collaboration between Ian Miller and M John Harrison based on one of Harrison’s peerless Viriconium stories. Miller had illustrated Harrison before and was a perfect choice for this even though Harrison himself insists that Viriconium should only ever be regarded as a world of words, not visuals. I agree with that up to a point, some of the scenes in the book lost their power by being illustrated but Miller does a splendid job at capturing the seediness and decay of Harrison’s Pastel City and its inhabitants.

For more of Ian Miller’s work in a variety of media, see his website. There’s more Panther Horror here.


Update: The Mountains of Madness illustration returns on the cover of The Damned Highway (2011), a book from Dark Horse. And there’s also this.

Elsewhere on { feuilleton }
The illustrators archive
The fantastic art archive
The book covers archive

Previously on { feuilleton }
At the Mountains of Madness
Clark Ashton Smith book covers
Witness my hand and official seal
Druillet meets Hodgson



Posted in {art}, {black and white}, {books}, {horror}, {illustrators}, {lovecraft}, {magazines}, {science fiction}.

Tags: , , , , , , , , .




21 comments or trackbacks

  1. #1 posted by Wiley


    These are fekkin beautiful, I do hope to see more of his in Centipede’s Lovecraft art compendium.

  2. #2 posted by Wiley


    Oh you said just that in your post. A weakness of mine is definitely that I am able to be distracted utterly by what I find transfixing. Luckily (or unlucky) for me not enough of that exists anymore.

  3. #3 posted by John


    Heh, I’m looking forward to seeing what they use of his. The picture they have on the promo page is one I hadn’t seen before.

  4. #4 posted by Ted Tap


    Thanks for this piece. Just when I was thinking of chucking it all in and becoming a dentist, people start being nice to me. It must be those bastards in pink again, The ones who lock me up in the cupboard every night.
    They didn’t offer you a signed photograph of Buffalo Bill did they?

    Strange thing is; I’m about to start work on a redraw of House on the Borderland soon. It just seemed like a nice thing to do.
    I hope we get to meet up again one day and get to talk a wee bit longer. I remember we brushed by each other in Preston some years back Take care, be jolly and thanks again for your kind observations
    Ted T

  5. #5 posted by John


    Hello and thanks for dropping by. Tackling the Swine-things again sounds very promising. I was supposed to do that myself for Savoy before the book they had planned collapsed. WHH still suffers from a lack of decent illustration.

    And yes, that was a good time in Preston, maybe if I get down to Brighton some time we can meet again. I was there in 1998 for an Aubrey Beardsley event but haven’t been since. Perhaps I can put in a plea for clemency from the bastards in pink.

  6. #6 posted by Rachel


    This is exquisite.

  7. #7 posted by Márcio Salerno


    I see you improved the illustrations on this one. Marvellous! Who knows, one day I may find other books with Miller’s covers at the used books store around here, much as I did with THE HAUNTER OF THE DARK.

  8. #8 posted by ian miller


    hoping this reaches you.
    The web url you have for this articled whilst seemingly alive is close to death / moribund. I have no access to the .net sight so it never updates with anything new. Long story.
    My new living (me in control ) sight is at ian-miller.org
    As a point of interest I have put a link to your own sight on the links page.
    Hoping you are jolly

  9. #9 posted by John


    Hi Ian. I made the required changes. And many thanks for the link!

  10. #10 posted by ian miller


    John is this the most direct way of reaching you?
    take a look at this


    the creator http://www.elliotelliotelliot.com/index.html

  11. #11 posted by John


    Hi Ian and thanks, that’s great stuff. Love the b&w style.

    You can always email me at discordia@abelgratis.co.uk if need be.

  12. #12 posted by Elliot Cowan


    Thanks for the plug, Ian and the kind words John.

  13. #13 posted by Topsy


    Fuck it’s kvlt.The haunter of the dark is fakin’ dooooom laden \v|v/

  14. #14 posted by Peaches


    Hey, my mum recommended your artwork when i was drawing a pic of a biomechanical dragon. and i totally love your work! it’s really trippy and a bit scary but ingenious at the same time! you’ve already inspired me to do another drawing!

  15. #15 posted by Paul Smith


    Hello John

    Just a quick thanks for all the stuff you put up on the blog – endlessly varied and fascinating. Relating to Ian Miller I don’t suppose you – or anyone – saw or can recall a TV profile/feature on Ian Miller which would have been aired in the very early nineties – maybe even late eighties + possibly on BBC 2/C4, which showed him in his studio drawing (I think) a city built into a stalactite or subterranean space? A friend used to have a copy on VHS but lost it ages ago, I would love to see it again…

  16. #16 posted by John


    Thanks Paul, and that doesn’t ring a bell for me at all. In the late 80s and early 90s I used to record loads of arts things from the TV so if I’d have seen that I would have had it. I may have been away somewhere at the time, of course. Sounds like the thing Without Walls might have done on C4, they were open to sf and similar genre things.

  17. #17 posted by Paul Smith


    See, now I’m starting to doubt my own recall of things… I e-mailed Ian to ask him if he could remember it and he said that he couldn’t either (though more due to volume of interviews and features that he has done than memory loss, I think). This makes me wonder now if I haven’t mistaken him for someone else, though the precise cross-hatching and rock details I remember were definitely of his milieu. Hmm…

  18. #18 posted by ian miller


    I often mistake myself for someone else, which is rather worrying when you are trying to remember what you did yesterday and the dog is growling at you as though you are a stranger

    Ian ,or possibly someone else?

    By the powers of disputation, stranger or no ,I think you are possibly right, and it was in fact somebody else.

  19. #19 posted by John


    Hi Ian. For my part I was starting to imagine I’d seen you drawing some of the James Herbert rats book but I think I’m recalling the talk you gave to the Preston SF group. The mind, it plays tricks…

    I added the Damned Highway cover above. Thanks!

  20. #21 posted by Eyechild


    Hey Paul,

    Funnily enough I remember the documentary you’re referring to – and had a book (in storage) by the same author, and was racking my brain for his name!

    Well it’s come back and I believe it’s Mike Wilks (who did the ‘Illustrated Alphabet’) along with a similarly complex collaboration with Brian Aldiss called ‘Pile’.

    He’s posted an image from the doco, along with the stalactite on his Facebook page:






“feed your head”