From Front To Back, It’s The Wraparound Cover Featuring Ian Miller

I’ve long since been fascinated by the endless inventiveness of book covers and a good designer’s approach to the artistry applied to such a relatively small surface area. This is an art-form now all but disappeared due to the proliferation of those chunky petrol station/supermarket paperbacks and e-books. I hope that I have presented some good examples of well designed covers from the past on these very pages to even things up a little though. For this week’s selection I decided to concentrate on a novel (oh dear, sorry for the pun) solution to this problem of working in such a small area by carrying the design work over onto the back cover. These pieces are not as common as you might imagine, people rarely look at the back of a book and so it’s always a huge bonus when I find a wraparound cover where I didn’t expect one. You should always check your back covers people!

The king of the wraparound (for me at least) is a chap from the UK called Ian Miller who has a website here. Pretty much everything he produces spills across the front cover and spine, flowing on to the back of the book like it just doesn’t want to stop. I wrote a short piece about him here which included eight of my then current favourite front covers but at that point I hadn’t figured out how to photograph the whole book without it looking rubbish or damaging the fragile spine by flattening it out so the article just didn’t have the impact I thought it deserved. I’ll always see that post as a missed opportunity and a bit of a flop despite it’s very respectable viewing figures.

Well, after lots of experimentation (and a little technical innovation) I finally developed a technique of successfully creating wraparound covers to sufficiently appease my exacting expectations and got an early chance to work with three of my favourite Ian Miller/H. P. Lovecraft pieces courtesy of my good friend, fellow paperback aficionado Teece. His bit can be found here and features Teece on words and me on images. The thoughts of that missed opportunity were beginning to recede after showing off these three covers in all their wraparound glory and seen fully as the artist intended.

This post should now finally put the personal humiliation of my dreaded missed opportunity well and truly behind me as I present eight full wraparound covers by Ian Miller. It’s only fair to admit that several titles have appeared before elsewhere on the blog but only as front cover photographs. This is the first time that they’ve appeared here in this fully extended format.

I’m really pleased to be showing these off as they’re not easy to shoot (especially the spine) and the post-processing always takes longer than you plan for but I think the results speak for themselves. Clicking on an image will result in a larger view of each cover so feel free to dive in and have a closer look.

I hope you enjoy this first batch of wraparounds as much as I did creating them, your comments are always gladly received;

R Is For Rocket by Ray Bradbury
This version was published in 1972 by Bantam Books
The cover artist is Ian Miller

Wraparound - Bradbury, R Is For Rocket

S Is For Space by Ray Bradbury
This version was published in 1978 by Bantam Books
The cover artist is Ian Miller

Wraparound - Bradbury, S Is For Space

The Golden Apples Of The Sun by Ray Bradbury
This version was published in 1979 by Bantam Books
The cover artist is Ian Miller

Bradbury Golden Apples Wraparound

Galactic Pot Healer by Philip K. Dick
This version was published in 1977 by Pan Books
The cover artist is Ian Miller

PKD Galactic Pot-Healer

The Time Machine by H. G. Wells
This version was published in 1974 by Pan Books
The cover artist is Ian Miller

Wells The Time Machine

Long After Midnight by Ray Bradbury
This version was published in 1978 by Bantam Books
The cover artist is Ian Miller

Bradbury Long After Midnight

Beyond tomorrow edited by Damon Knight
This version was published in 1973 by Pan Books
The cover artist is Ian Miller

Knight Beyond Tomorrow

War Games by Brian Stableford
This version was published in 1981 by Pan Books
The cover artist is Ian Miller

stableford-war-games

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10 thoughts on “From Front To Back, It’s The Wraparound Cover Featuring Ian Miller

  1. johncnash 18/11/2014 / 3:34 pm

    These are magnificent, and beautifully photographed too.

    I think Ian Miller has to be one the finest illustrators in the genre, doesn’t he? I love his Tolkien work particularly. Saying that though, I think I only have two of his as books covers myself. The Lovecraft one we were talking about recently and also his splendid cover for the Panther edition of Hodgson’s The House on the Borderland.

    Great post, thanks for sharing. Keep ’em coming.

    Liked by 1 person

    • unsubscriber 18/11/2014 / 4:08 pm

      Thanks for the kind words Mr Nash, I’m glad to know that my efforts are appreciated as these were particularly tough covers to complete because of all the detail.

      You’re right about Miller though, he certainly is one of the best out there and seems to be the most prolific of the wraparound artists. I bought his recently issued book ‘The Art of Ian Miller’ a few months ago (signed too luckily!) and was blown away by it. Seeing his work on larger, glossy pages is a real treat – I know we agreed not to be bad influences on each other but it’s highly recommended.

      That’s it for the Millers now but I have another fabulous selection of wraparounds to post next week so keep ‘em peeled.

      All the best.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Postcard Cafe 19/11/2014 / 8:51 am

    What a great set of covers and brilliantly photographed. I’m sure there are few images of these books shot so well. If I am thinking correctly you have spent quite some time making these images but the magic is I’m not quite sure how you did it! My favourite cover is R for Rocket. I suspect some of the others work better when closed. Thanks for taking time to make these images and for sharing. Best wishes, Mr Cafe

    Liked by 1 person

    • unsubscriber 19/11/2014 / 10:52 pm

      Thanks for your kind words Mr Cafe, I’m pleased to know that you enjoyed the fruits of my labour so much. These covers are so tricky to shoot properly but the hard work begins in post-production as colours are matched, levels balanced and the good old clone tool is employed to ensure no trace of a joint remains. Hard work but worth the effort I think and trust me, they most definitely look better opened out like this rather than closed. I’m positive that you won’t see better examples of these covers anywhere else on the web. R For Rocket and the companion volume S For Space are both fantastic examples of Miller’s eye-popping, psychedelically geometric oeuvre but my personal favourite is Golden Apples. There’s so much going on in the design that the eye needs a minute or two before it adjusts sufficiently to make sense of it all. Once again, thanks for your kind words of appreciation, they make all the difference. Very best wishes to you Mr C, speak soon hopefully.

      Like

  3. franzwesten 19/11/2014 / 1:48 pm

    What a fine, fine artist. One of the very best. I hadn’t seen the time machine cover, what a cracker. Begs to be pored over!

    Liked by 1 person

    • unsubscriber 19/11/2014 / 10:32 pm

      Glad you enjoyed the Time Machine cover Franz, it is indeed a rare thing of fabulously detailed wonder. I agree with your comment about Miller too, he certainly is one of the best and a very prolific wraparound artist too. I can’t think of anyone else right now with as many of these extended cover pieces to their credit. All the best.

      Like

  4. Bernie 20/11/2014 / 11:37 am

    I’m so far behind putting fingers to keyboard this week!! This is a wonderful selection and I’m in awe of your technique for stitching the 3 elements of the picture together seamlessly. My favourite this time? I really don’t have one! They’re all so gorgeous I can’t choose!

    These paintings have obviously been planned as wraparounds as space has been left for back cover blurb to be included without spoiling the artwork, and the cooperative publisher has complied, placing their information sympathetically. I have 2 Bob Shaw books (which I’ve only just realised have Ian Miller covers (probably)) and there’s a huge rectangle covering the bottom left portion of the artwork, grrrr.

    Take care, Bernie xxx

    Like

  5. lcmt 24/11/2014 / 1:56 am

    My favorite cover is The Golden Apples of the Sun. And OMG! Thriftbooks put one of its nasty sticky stickers on it! Those things are awful. I have yet to figure out how to take one off without peeling chips of color off the spine.

    Liked by 1 person

    • unsubscriber 24/11/2014 / 5:57 pm

      Mine too – those stickers are impossible to remove! I hate it when booksellers put them on.

      Like

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