Home > Artist of the Week, Uncategorized > ARTIST OF THE WEEK: DAVE McKEAN                                            

ARTIST OF THE WEEK: DAVE McKEAN                                            

August 22, 2010


The mid-80s and through 90s were a time when a lot of experimentation was going on with the comic book format and smaller comic book companies like First Comics, Comico, Innovation, NOW, Malibu, Dark Horse and more were vying for a piece of the industry from the Big Two: Marvel and DC.   Marvel and DC each pushed back with their version of an ‘independent’ line of ‘alternative’ comics that could either succeed and be claimed or die and not damage the industry name of the megalith too badly.  Thus, DC Comics created the Vertigo line to distance themselves from, publish and brand all of the non-mainstream, non-superhero genres that were gaining the interest of readers.

The early Sandman comics covers are where I caught up to McKean’s art, known for its blending of unusual typography, design, painting and photography.  A friend calls his method of working “Doing The McKean” because blending digital techniques with traditional media was very unique then, either you did art art or you did computer art; there was a division that McKean was either the earliest or among the earliest to cross.  He dared to take a photograph, paint on it, scan it, digitally modify it, paint on it, scan it, digitally modify it; creating a loop of options for increased creativity, this was innovation.

Dave McKean has done many book covers, illustrations, designs, CD covers, comic book covers, and conceptual art for film.  He has a distinctive style that I enjoy for its complexity.  He directed the movie Mirrormask which has a strong visual basis in his artistic style, and he did the original illustrations for Coraline which later became a 3-D stop motion animation.

His portfolio site is below but it is a URL with an image of the home page and is not live yet:


So check out this great fan site and image database at:


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