I just want to say it's nice to see someone putting out more books of this sort. Painter touted as the most natural digital painting program - because of its ability to emulate more traditional media, ironically has a problem. Most books show you how to paint and create digital art in Photoshop, but most tutorials I have encountered teach you how to edit a photo to look like something painted traditionally in Painter. This leaves many illustrators interested in the process looking long and hard for Painter tutorials and the likeness.
This book is actually somewhat small, but thick. This makes it a bit awkward to read, even more so if you haven't taken out the DVD in the back. The DVD is protected in a cardboard sleeve located in the very back of the book. I personally find these DVD jackets irritating because it's far more likely you'll end up damaging the book if you're not careful removing the sleeve.
The other problem with its size is that the screenshots in the book are rather small. Although you're provided with the a gallery on the dvd, unfortunately, screenshots not so much. Sometimes you'll find something in a screenshot that the artist doesn't mention in his/her brief process tutorial.
The book I received had a small hole/tear on the last page. It didn't affect anything I was reading fortunately, but I am upset about the handling of the book. What I should also mention is that it's likely you may also receive the blurry print run as I have on pages 251-266 it's not illegible but it is obnoxious. The fortunately didn't seem to carry to the images on these pages.
So... let's talk about the content. Content is pretty much what I expected it to be. There are 17 artists featured in this book, each gives a small tutorial along with a brief bio and captions that give you tips. They also feature educational levels which I don't exactly find important. You don't need a degree in art, but lots of dedication so you can practice and improve - so personally I'd love to see more info on how many years was it till an artist felt comfortable in his/her craft.
As I mentioned previously there is also a companion DVD. If you bought an e-book version, you can also contact the authors and receive the accompanying DVD. The content of the DVD could be worked on. While it was easy to run, the content could use a bit sprucing up. Pop the DVD in, and there is no "autorun" you just hit the "start.html" and get a silly "agree/disagree" dialog. Once you agree you are taken to a very plain white page link listing of each artist featured. While I don't mind the simple setup, the other problem I had is that you need to explore the DVD to get to the other content like brushes or videos. So it makes the "start.html" rather pointless. You can just simply browse to each artist's folder.
Of the 17 featured, only 5 of those artists have additional content. Mike Thompson having the most goodies contribution to the DVD. I'm a bit surprised since John Derry had nothing - who is a longtime partner in creating Painter.
I actually enjoyed the content of most of the artists, save the "generic anime art" in this book. I really think they could have chosen someone more representing of this genre. When I saw that artist's work the colors were off - like they were were either overly saturated, or poor color palette choices, other times looking chalky. That artist could work more on color theory. Other than that, there was a very good and wide variety of styles so something for everyone can be found in this book. You can find a fantasy painter, someone more modern, comic book style, concept art, etc..
I really hope Corel decides to push out more of these kinds of books because there really is a shortage of illustrative content and their process and considering Painter's great amount of useful tools it needs to promote itself as a digital painting medium that illustrators and photographers alike can use and not just a "Digital painting medium that can do nifty things to your photos"
Overall, I'd give this about 3 1/2 stars but Amazon only lets you grade in whole stars.
No that is not me in the video just a couple of noisy co-workers!