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Keen on McKean

November 6, 2009



Last week I found out that one of my favourite artists and illustrators, Dave McKean was coming to town. Needless to say the ensuing week was an exciting one full of anticipation.

McKean was in Easons on O’Connell Street promoting his new childrens’ book in collaboration with Neil Gaiman.   I arrived early by mistake, but this was great as I got to see the man himself set up.

Dave McKean Dublin


The talk started off  with McKean discussing the various publications and films he’d been involved in.  His sheer fecundity never ceases to amaze me. He’s worked in several areas as a graphic novelist, CD covers, concept art (Harry Potter), cover illustration, stamps for the Royal Mail, childrens’ books and even film directing (the wonderful Mirrormask) and even more besides.  Most recent is ‘Crazy Hair’ and the new Heston Blumenthal cookbook. He described going for a meal at the Fat Duck (Blumenthal’s restaurant) and gave a compelling tale of magic and science blended together in a wonderful cornucopia of edible comestibles.  I want to eat there.

Did I mention he’s also an accomplished jazz pianist and that he founded Feral Records? Well, he is and he did.

McKean’s art is surreal and wonderful at the same time.  It reminds me of a fusion of the Brothers Quay and silent films, which he said he drew a lot of inspiration from.  His next book will be based on this (at least, I think that’s what he said!)


Dave McKean Easons

McKean talks about 'Two Goldfish'.


The time went quickly, with the audience consisting mostly of illustrators, art students and McKeanophiles, the Q&A took nearly as long as the talk itself.  He spent most of the time smiling and cracking jokes and talking very earnestly about his art. I like him even more now than I did before, if that’s possible.

I lined up to get my copy of ‘Crazy Hair’ and McKean was kind enough to pose for a photo:

Dave McKean and Theresa Ryan

Here I am with a great artist and a lovely person to boot.


What’s more- he gave my book a lovely flourish with this drawing!

Dave McKean Theresa Ryan

Thanks for the art, Dave!

Go check out his website. Don’t delay, go today.

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