Magic Courtesy of Dave McKean

I wasn’t planning to pick up a copy of Richard Dawkins’ new book, The Magic of Reality: How We Know What’s Really True. No, I’m not engaged in any Elevatorgate boycott. I just prefer my reality in slightly more chewy doses, and I don’t have any younglings around at the moment who would appreciate it. I expected the book to be quite good but not for me.

Then–then! Then, I discovered that Dave McKean had done the illustrations for the book. Cue squees, bouncing, and plans to buy the book. You can get a small sense of why in the illustrations in this promotional video:

Simply put, Dave McKean is one of the most flexible artists working today (as well as being charming in person). Like most people, I discovered McKean through his collaborations with Neil Gaiman. I loved his covers for Sandman and Violent Cases, so much so that I felt a little sad when he announced that he wanted to change his style so he didn’t get bogged down in one look.

Then he did it, and he just got better. He changed his look, but he didn’t change his aesthetic. He’s still putting images together from disparate parts, some simplistic, some hyper-realistic, some surrealistic. Now he’s just working with a greater array of parts. And it works, even as part of your brain is telling you it can’t possibly.

Of course, that can’t come close to describing the art itself. For that, I recommend this video that features footage from the film MIRRORMASK. It’s got a little bit of everything.

Oh, this book is going to be good.

Magic Courtesy of Dave McKean

4 thoughts on “Magic Courtesy of Dave McKean

  1. 1

    Know what’s funny about this “elevatorgate boycott” nonsense? Rebecca Watson doesn’t want a general boycott, but is engaging in a personal one. So everyone going all whargarbl about Rebecca calling for a boycott is pretty much explicitly wrong.

    That said, yeah, I figure I’m not in Magic of Reality’s intended audience either. I’ll more likely borrow your copy than buy one myself, even despite the pretty art.

  2. 3

    I don’t have any younglings around at the moment who would appreciate it

    Any neices, nephews, other family members that age? Could you donate some copies to a local school? Just thoughts on ways you could buy the book, read through it quickly, and then pass it on to someone else.

  3. 4

    My copy is on preorder. Dawkins is a world-class explainer (see also Jan Adkins), and I work in an elementary school, where you can’t claim to understand something unless you can get a student to understand it. (And an awful lot of science-books-for-kids are just university English with lots of pictures.)

    Actually, I’ve been waiting a long time for him to write something for children. I bought A Devil’s Chaplain on the strength of the letter to his daughter. That he hooked up with such a powerful illustrator is a great bonus. My favorites artists are all illustrators.

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