I’ve often stopped to stare at the trade paperback covers of Neil Gaiman’s Sandman series. They were created by the crazy talented Dave McKean, but I never paused to think about how they were made. You see, these covers are from the days before Photoshop. They aren’t made from layers of digital images, they’re built up with actual objects.
McKean created the collages as three dimensional dioramas. As Gaiman said:
They really were that size: paintings and assemblages that Dave would take to get photographed, and send the transparency to DC Comics to use as a cover.