Shadowplay Reviews


Most readers will know Wilkinson for his work with Marillion, designing every album and single sleeve of the Fish era and continuing to be associated with both Marillion and their former singer with some visually stunning work. Indeed having spent hours copying his first cover for Market Square Heroes onto my geography folder as a schoolboy, it even inspired early forays into music journalism – calling my first fanzine Court Jester!
In Shadowplay Wilkinson’s second tome [his first, 2000’s Masque: The Graphic World Of Mark Wilkinson, Fish and Marillion did exactly what it said on the cover], and this time looks at a long and well-established career of a man whose paintings have had as much impact on the prog world as the likes of Roger Dean and Storm Thorgerson.
Shadowplay is essentially bookended with chapters on Marillion and Fish with insightful tales from Wilkinson himself, but what is perhaps even more interesting are those chapters that display the breadth and depth of his work. Wilkinson has not only worked with metal titans Judas Priest (for whom he deigned the Ram It Down, Painkiller, Angel Of Retribution and Nostradamus covers, to name but four), but has also worked with Iron Maiden, Bon Jovi, HIM, Europe and The Darkness. He’s even worked with Kylie! Outside of music there’s been some amazing work for 2000AD comic, Red Dwarf and some intricate work with stamps, and a whole load more.
There’s a special edition of Shadowplay that comes bound in cloth with a silver cover print which is quite mouthwatering. But as you will have undoubtedly noticed from the striking front cover of this issue, it’s Mark’s attention to details that is the most striking thing about his stunning work. And there’s plenty of that to feast your eyes on in this exceptional book.
Jerry Ewing


One of the things I love is fantasy and science fiction artwork usually on album covers and old Pan paperbacks from the ‘50s and ‘60s. Mark Wilkinson’s book ‘Shadowplay’ is a collection of his artwork from music, books, comics, stamps and rock memorabilia. The book begins with a first person account of Mark’s career prior to becoming a professional artist. Hardback and coffee table-sized, it’s neatly laid-out with single chapters detailing his work for Marillion, Judas Priest, Fish, The Darkness and Iron Maiden as well as the bits he’s done for Monsters Of Rock, various other rock artists (Bon Jovi, Europe and others) and the non-music things he has worked on like Judge Dredd, Red Dwarf and stamp designs. It’s wonderful to look at. Some of my favourite pieces of artwork in the tome include Marillion’s ‘Misplaced Childhood,’ Judas Priest’s ‘Ram It Down’ (shame the album wasn’t quite as good as the cover!), Priest’s ‘Metalworks’ and Iron Maiden’s ‘Eddie’s Archive.’ The Red Dwarf video covers are superb too. Wilkinson is as good as the likes of Rodney Matthews, Derek Riggs, and Roger Dean and ‘Shadowplay’ is a fine celebration of his artwork. Visit for information on how to buy the book.
Review by Neil Daniels

Mark Wilkinson is the artist best known for illustrating Marillion’s first four, Fish fronted albums, Shadowplay is a lush visual walk through his career. The accompanying text acknowledges the synergy and trust required between he and the band, and the commercial rewards that the resulting aesthetic identity brought


Best known for his work with prog rockers Marillion and Fish, cover artist Mark Wilkinson collates a splendid body of work, that also includes his art for Iron Maiden, Europe, The Darkness, HIM, Judas Priest and even Bon Jovi. A vibrantly stunning and enjoyable collection of richly colourful creations and the stories behind them.

(Voted in top ten music books of 2010)

Plenty more Fish there to see:
This sumptuous hardback book is an overview of artist Mark Wilkinson’s career to date, but it also serves as a memorial to the meticulous sleeve art commissioned during the era of the long player. Despite entering the market at a less-then-promising period – the late 70s/early 80s – Wilkinson had the good fortune to come into contact with the equally unfashionable-seeming Marillion – and a perfect marriage of graphics and music was born.
This series of album covers, with their immediately recognisable iconography, will be familiar to many readers, but Wilkinson has produced similarly accomplished designs for a wide variety of artists. Though primarily a picture book, the text makes for interesting reading, especially given the fact that the album art field seems to have been in chronic decline for the best part of 20 years. Besides album sleeves, Wilkinson has also ventured into comics, movie and TV work, and even postage stamps, making for a varied, interesting output perfectly captured in this beautifully-designed book. A limited number of signed copies of the standard and deluxe versions (in a slipcase with two signed prints) are available at
William Pinfold

This is a fantastic book that illustrates the full range of Mark Wilkinson's rich and mesmerising art work. From his signature imagery for Marillion's and Fish's albums through heavy rock art, Red Dwarf and stamp art, Shadowplay vividly demonstrates what an important creative force Wikinson has been from the early 1980s to the present day. One of my favourite artists!
Martin Halliwell, Professor of American Studies, University of Leicester

One package that arrived this week was Mark Wilkinson's new book, "Shadowplay".
And I have to say it's a highly impressive slab of artwork, beautifully assembled and presented in a way Mark is famed for.
Obviously I am well aware of the Marillion and Fish designs and had seen elements of what he had created outside our sphere over the years.
"Shadowplay" brings his artistic career together in one well defined curve and I sat with a coffee in front of the fire and read it from cover to cover immediately after opening it.
It's a fascinating book and even I was surprised at the extent of his imagery and the kaleidoscope of projects he has worked on over the years.
The Red Dwarf and Judge Dredd material I had seen snippets before, but gathered together it's an impressive collection.
I hadn't seen the Glyder sleeves nor the extended stamp designs so there were quite a few surprises! :-)
My favourite is the unused sleeve for Justin Hawkin's solo album after he left The Darkness.
Comical brief that is executed brilliantly! :-D
As well as the artwork, which is superbly printed in the book, there is Mark's commentary on all the projects and his own take on his career path over the years.
All in all it's a great book and great value for money overall.
If you're looking for a Christmas present for a Fishhead friend or for anyone who appreciates airbrushing and album artwork then "Shadowplay" is guaranteed to deliver the "brownie points". ;-)

"So much terrific stuff therein...some of the Judas Priest work I love: Jugulator & Angel Of Retribution, Nostradamus is great and 4 Horsemen - magnificent. Lepidoptera is gorgeous too!"
Anthony Phillips

Some customer reviews:

"What can I say? The Shadowplay special edition is even more beautiful than I imagined. I wish I had 1% of the talent you have, and your eye for detail. I am totally and utterly delighted - nothing more to say, except that the personalised Certificate of Authenticity is a stroke of genius fact, let's face it, the whole lot's divine.Thank you so much. I love the mini Giclées too!”
Ivan Coleman

"Just arrived this morning and It's an amazing book! Thanks for the dedication too!"
Eric Coubard - Bad Reputation Records

"Just a quick note to let you know that my books arrived safe and in one piece on Monday. I immediately paged through them quickly from cover to cover,  and have to say how impressed I am with the product, and how excited I am at the thought of getting stuck into them. Last night I began to read The Masque (as it's the Marillion and Fish material that I'm probably more interested in) and am finding the dialogue between the two of you with regards your artwork fascinating and very informative.
As for Shadowplay, well that's really opened my eyes up to the wide range of work you've undertaken (I've always naively thought you were solely Marillion - though obviously you have to earn your money wherever you can). For years during the 80's I would have been walking around with your Monsters Of Rock artwork on my chest, and only yesterday realised that the artwork was yours !!!
Thanks again for the brilliant books, and for your patience and swift replies to all of my queries. With regards the books and the prints I've purchased, you have been 100% helpful, professional and reliable."
Steve Evans

"Your precious Shadowplay and Masque came to me yesterday in great condition. I was very surprised by the fast delivery to Czechoslovakia. Shadowplay is a very very nice book. The high quality of print inside makes a great impression. Thank you so much for your kindness and especially for your nice dedication."
Jiri Englis

“Its a great book, from Marillion to Priest, Maiden, Red Dwarf, The Darkness and the main man Fish. With my giclée print of 'The Fool ' holding pride of place in our dining room, your art work has been there with me as I listen and pondered the LP covers to CD covers since I was a moody teenager. 
The combination of a great cover and great music is so easily lost in today's download world.”
John Gibson


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