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How Dave McKean created Sandman's multidimensional covers in an era before Photoshop

Illustration for article titled How Dave McKean created emSandman/ems multidimensional covers in an era before Photoshop

One of the hallmarks of Dave McKean's early Sandman covers were the photographic elements framing the central painting, as if you'd stumbled across the piece hanging in curio cabinet or against an overstuffed bookshelf. But before Photoshop made adding these elements as simple as clicking a mouse, McKean decided not to collage his covers but instead to build them as three-dimensional displays.

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Sandman writer Neil Gaiman linked to these images comparing McKean's cover dioramas with the finished products. The chairs give you sense of just how huge the original pieces were. McKean would have them photographed and then send the transparencies to DC. It's interesting to see how he was able to then treat each cover not just as a painting, but also as a set that he could dress and detail.

Before Photoshop [Neil Gaiman via reddit]

Illustration for article titled How Dave McKean created emSandman/ems multidimensional covers in an era before Photoshop
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Illustration for article titled How Dave McKean created emSandman/ems multidimensional covers in an era before Photoshop

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DISCUSSION

Kip Russell: Has Spacesuit, will babble

what year were these published?

wikipedia claims Adobe released Photoshop 1.0 in 1990...

Not that machines of that vintage would have been up to the colour resolution required for these images (most desktop machines topped out at 256 colours then), so photography would have been the only way to reproduce this kind of work...

see also: the stunning photographic design work of Vaughn Oliver and v.23 on so many gorgeous 4AD album covers through the last 30 years or so...