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A NOTE ON WORKING WITH DAVE McKEAN



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Coraline
A NOTE ON WORKING WITH DAVE McKEAN 
I

VE KNOWN DAVE MCKEAN
for hundreds of years now. Almost twenty, anyway. When we 
met I was a young journalist, and he was an even younger art student. 
We’ve made comics together (Black Orchid, Mr. Punch, Violent Cases, Signal to Noise). He did 
the covers for the Sandman comics and books (collected in a book called Dustcovers). We’ve 
done a children’s picture book (The Day I Swapped My Dad for 2 Goldfish), which proved so 
popular in certain quarters that Dave redid the book cover as a CD cover, and it was on the side 
of buses all over the world. We have another picture book, called The Wolves in the Walls, which 
will come out when Dave finishes the drawings. 
This is why Dave McKean has illustrated Coraline
When I finished Coraline I needed some guinea pigs to read it. Dave has a daughter named 
Yolanda. (He also has a son named Liam and a wife named Clare, but they don’t come into this 
explanation, except in this sentence, where they don’t do very much, even though in real life 
Clare plays the violin and Liam runs in and out of rooms wearing different hats to surprise you.) 
Dave read Coraline to Yolanda, who decided that it was her favorite book, and that she wanted it 
to be the theme of her birthday party. 
So the invitation to Yolanda’s birthday party was the picture of the Mouse Circus that finishes 
this book. 
When Dave e-mailed that drawing to me, I knew that I wanted him to do the rest of the pictures. 
Which, to my great delight, he did. And the pictures are very creepy, and very odd and very true. 
He even went to the house I used to live in, in Nutley, Sussex, and drew it.
I like working with Dave, and hope he keeps drawing things I write forever. 


NEIL GAIMAN is the critically acclaimed and award-winning author of the novels 
AMERICAN 
GODS, NEVERWHERE, STARDUST
(winner of the American Library Association’s Alex Award as 
one of 2000’s top ten adult novels for young adults), the short fiction collection 
SMOKE AND 
MIRRORS
, and the children’s book 
THE DAY I SWAPPED MY DAD FOR 2 GOLDFISH
(illustrated by 
Dave McKean). He is also the author of the Sandman series of graphic novels. Among his many 
awards are the World Fantasy Award and the Bram Stoker Award. Originally from England, 
Gaiman

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