Dave McKean

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After a trip to New York in 1986 during which he failed to find work as a comics artist, McKean met writer Neil Gaiman and the pair collaborated on a short graphic novel of disturbing childhood memories, Violent Cases, published in 1987. This was followed in 1988 by a Black Orchid miniseries (again with Gaiman) and Hellblazer covers for DC Comics.<ref name="vert-ency">Template:Citation</ref><ref name="vert-hell">Template:Citation</ref> Beginning in 1989 he produced the covers for Gaiman's celebrated series The Sandman, all its collected editions and many of its spin-offs, and the Batman graphic novel, Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth, with writer Grant Morrison (1989). His work during this period was often compared to that of Bill Sienkiewicz.

Graphic novels

Between 1990 and 1996 McKean wrote and drew the ten issues of Cages, an ambitious graphic novel about artists and creativity, illustrated in a stripped-down pen and ink style influenced by Alberto Breccia, José Antonio Muñoz and Lorenzo Mattotti. Cages was published as single volume by Kitchen Sink Press in 1998, and in a new edition by NBM Publishing in 2002.

Cages (1998) by Dave McKean

Further collaborations with Gaiman produced the graphic novels Signal to Noise in 1992 (previously serialised in The Face magazine), about a dying filmmaker and his hypothetical last film, and Mr. Punch, which explored similar themes as Violent Cases through the imagery of the Punch and Judy show.


McKean has also created a few books documenting his travels using only illustrations. Examples include "Postcards from Vienna", "Postcards from Barcelona" and soon to come "Postcards from Paris" (2008). He also wrote another book of 200 pages called "Squink" (éditions BdArtist(e)) that gathered a number of drawings in 15 chapters.

Compact Disc covers

McKean has produced CD covers for

and many others.

Book covers

Illustrations for The New Yorker, and advertising and commercial art.

Books of photography

He has published four books of photography,

  • A Small Book of Black and White Lies (1995) and
  • Option: Click (1998),
  • The Particle Tarot: The Major Arcana
  • The Particle Tarot: The Minor Arcana

Short comics

Pictures that Tick (2001).

In 2005, he designed the poster for the 32nd Telluride Film Festival.

Children's picture books

More recently McKean has collaborated with Neil Gaiman on two children's picture books, The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish (1998) and The Wolves in the Walls (2003), and illustrated Gaiman's children's novel Coraline (2002), as well as S F Said's Varjak Paw (2003). The Wolves in the Walls: a Musical Pandemonium premiered as a play in Glasgow in 2006 with Improbable and the National Theatre of Scotland. He also illustrated David Almond's "The Savage" published in April 2008.


McKean created six images recently for Royal Mail's 'Mythical Creatures' collection, which featured depictions of mythical creatures found in British Folklore, including Dragons, Unicorns, Giants, Pixies, Mermaids and Fairies. The collection was released in the UK on 16 June 2009. The Presentation Pack contains short descriptions of each subject by author Neil Gaiman, someone whom has worked with McKean many times in the past.<ref name='Royal Mail Stamps'> Template:Cite web</ref>

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