Archive for the Illustration Category

Modern Bestiary, Domenico Gnoli

Posted in Art, Illustration with tags , , , , , on April 3, 2014 by mysearchformagic

Domenico Gnoli was born in Rome in 1933, and displayed artistic talent at a precociously young age. He spent some time studying at the Academy of Fine Arts in his home town, but never completed the course and decided to travel the world instead.


Gnoli ended up in London, where he soon established a reputation as a theatrical set designer. By the mid 1950s he was in New York, where he worked as an illustrator for magazines.


These magical images are from a set he created in 1968, entitled Bestiario Moderno (Modern Bestiary), or Cos’è un mostro (What is a monster). They are beautifully drawn, and hauntingly surreal.


I think the flat fish in the bath is my favourite. It’s a little bit sad, and very, very strange.


Gnoli sadly died in New York, aged just thirty six years old, soon after opening a show of his paintings at a major gallery in the city. He left behind only a few completed works. But these weird, wonderful drawings are certain quite a magical legacy, don’t you think?


A Voyage to the Moon, Gustave Doré

Posted in Art, Books, Illustration with tags , , , , , , , on July 10, 2013 by mysearchformagic

I’m off on a hunt for magic this week, so in the meantime here is a charming illustration created by Gustave Doré for an edition of The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, entitled A Voyage to the Moon.

A Voyage to the Moon, Gustav Doré

A Voyage to the Moon, Gustave Doré

Blue Ent, Ian Miller

Posted in Art, Illustration with tags , , , , , , on May 13, 2013 by mysearchformagic

I was surprised to receive a parcel recently from a colleague who is also a follower of this blog. It was a copy of a 1984 book entitled The Guide To Fantasy Art Techniques which she had found gathering dust amongst some old books in her office. As I flicked through the book I realised that this gift was in fact distinctly tongue-in-cheek, filled as it is with images of busty bikini-clad barbarian babes and horn-helmeted he-men. But as I flipped past all these dodgy fantasy clichés, suddenly the work of one artist caught my eye. It was darker, more gothic, and much more magical. The artist was Ian Miller, and I needed to find out more.

It turns out Mr Miller has had a long and distinguished career as an illustrator, and has created book covers for the Gormenghast trilogy, which I absolutely adore, as well as the writings of H.P. Lovecraft, which are high up on my list of magical things to read. I was perhaps most excited to discover that he designed the covers for a number of the Fighting Fantasy gamebooks with which I was obsessed as a rather geeky youngster.

I am now the lucky owner of an original work by Ian Miller, a drawing entitled Blue Ent 2 which follows on rather nicely from last week’s post about a magical tree.

Blue Ent 2, Ian Miller Image copyright the artist

Blue Ent 2, Ian Miller
Image copyright the artist

Miller’s influences are many and varied. As a child his imagination was fired by the creativity of theatre and film, and more recently he has listed Albrecht Dürer, Leonardo da Vinci and the German Expressionists as his visual inspiration. His work is often surreal, sometimes downright creepy. Hearing of my interest in silvan magic, Mr Miller kindly sent over an image of another marvelously sinister recent work, The Terrible Path

The Terrible Path, Ian Miller Image copyright the artist

The Terrible Path, Ian Miller
Image copyright the artist

You can find out more about the weird and wonderful world of Ian Miller at