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 book covers archive
The fantastic art archive
The illustrators archive
The Lovecraft archive

21 thoughts on “The art of Ian Miller”

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

  2. 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. 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. John,
    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. 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. 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.

  7. John,
    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
    As a point of interest I have put a link to your own sight on the links page.
    Hoping you are jolly

  8. 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!

  9. 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…

  10. 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.

  11. 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…

  12. 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.

  13. 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!

  14. 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:

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