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Parka (Singapore)

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The Sketchbook Project World Tour
The Sketchbook Project World Tour
by Steven Peterman
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 29.69
27 used & new from CDN$ 19.99

5.0 out of 5 stars For those who like sketchbooks and journaling art, May 16 2015
Length:: 1:36 Mins

The Sketchbook Project is a crowd-sourced library of sketchbooks from artists around the world. The project started in 2006 online. The public would sign up and for a fee they would receive a sketchbook and after filling it with sketches send it back to add to the collection. The physical sketchbooks are on display at the Brooklyn Art Library, and digital scans are also available on their website. At the time of this writing, the artist community has grown to 70,000. Wow!

The Sketchbook Project World Tour is a 256-page paperback book that features a selection of sketchbook pages from the project.

The artworks are grouped according to different continents. There are lots of styles to check out and in some ways this book feels like a journal. There are artists who draw things that happen in their daily life, some draw from imagination, others from observations, there are some doodles, realistic drawings, line sketches and many more. It's nice to see the creativity on display. There are also several artists who are featured with short interviews.

The book could be useful as a source of inspiration and motivation.

If you like journaling art, this is the book for you. And also check out all the other sketchbooks I've reviewed so far.

(See more pictures of the book on my blog. Just visit my Amazon profile for the link.)

Harry Potter: Magical Places from the Films: Hogwarts, Diagon Alley, and Beyond
Harry Potter: Magical Places from the Films: Hogwarts, Diagon Alley, and Beyond
by Jody Revenson
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 39.99
37 used & new from CDN$ 39.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended for Harry Potter fans, May 14 2015
Length:: 2:19 Mins

Harry Potter: Magical Places from the Films is actually one of the books from the Harry Potter Page to Screen Collector's Edition. In that collector's edition, the book was titled Environments Envisioned: Building Fantastic Sets and Scouting Dramatic Locations. I don't have the collector's edition, so I can't compare the exact contents, so I'll just talk about this book alone.

I only have the standard edition of Harry Potter Page to Screen so the first thing I want to say is it's great to have this book sold separately rather than bundling it into the pricey collector's edition. Sure it took a long time for it for come out but it's more affordable, and all fans can enjoy the book now.

This is a large 208-page hardcover film companion. The cover has a nice design with trimmings embossed. The presentation is beautiful and the same can be said about the layout inside. The pages are filled with behind the scenes photography, film stills and lots of commentary. Fans will no doubt find it extremely satisfying to delve into the information and revisit the Harry Potter world again — I know I did.

This book focuses on the locations and sets. There are environment concept art, stories on how the sets were build, what was filmed there, how the props were created, how the sets relate to the movie and the book, and many other bits of interesting details.

There are nine chapters and they are

Dursley's House
Diagon Alley
King's Cross Station
Hogwarts Castle
Hogwarts Classrooms and Offices
Hogwarts Grounds
Ministry of Magic
Wizarding Homes

Highly recommended to all Harry Potter fans. It's the only way to "visit" all the grounds without being growled by Snape.

Another thing to note is there are two publishers for this book, Harper Design and Titan Books. Depending on where you buy it, the price of the book will differ.

(See more pictures of the book on my blog. Just visit my Amazon profile for the link.)

Marvel's Avengers: Age of Ultron: The Art of the Movie Slipcase
Marvel's Avengers: Age of Ultron: The Art of the Movie Slipcase
by Marvel Comics
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 29.39
20 used & new from CDN$ 29.39

5.0 out of 5 stars Great artbook, May 13 2015
Length:: 3:38 Mins

There are two artbooks for Avengers: Age of Ultron. This is the official book for the second Avengers film Age of Ultron The other one, The Road to Marvel's Avengers: Age of Ultron: The Art of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is a rehash of artworks from other Marvel movie artbooks.

Marvel's Avengers: Age of Ultron: The Art of the Movie is a 336-page hardcover artbook that comes with a slipcase. So far, most of the Marvel artbooks are the slipcase edition and this one looks great as well.

There are plenty of character designs to look at. Most of the main Avengers designs are on updates to their costumes.

The highlights for the book are the artworks for Hulkbuster, Ultron and Vision. There are so many pages of concept art for those three it's almost shocking. The art is fantastic. Ultron is scary-looking for all the designs in the book. Vision looks so alien and mysterious. Just amazing. And if you thought the Hulkbuster in the movie was cool, you have to check out the many iteration that weren't even used. Some versions of the Hulkbuster reminded me of the animation-style Juggernaut from the X-men.

The rest of the art are of the environment, props and storyboards. You'll get to see the fortress that appeared at the start of the film, the floating "island", Hawkeye's arrows, interiors for the new Avengers HQ and other buildings, and more. Commentary is provided for most pieces of art.

This is an incredible artbook. Most highly recommended. Really worth the money.

I think it's one of the best Marvel movie artbooks so far.

(See more pictures of the book on my blog. Just visit my Amazon profile for the link.)

Mad Max: Fury Road INSPIRED ARTISTS Deluxe Edition
Mad Max: Fury Road INSPIRED ARTISTS Deluxe Edition
by Lee Bermejo
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 22.27
43 used & new from CDN$ 17.15

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 65 artists' take on Mad Max Fury Road, May 12 2015
Length:: 2:01 Mins

There are two artbook companions to Mad Max: Fury Road, the first would be this, the INSPIRED ARTISTS edition which was released before the film as well as the official movie artbook The Art of Mad Max: Fury Road which will be released after the movie screening.

The INSPIRED ARTISTS edition is a 144-page hardcover published by Vertigo. The vertical portrait format is just like those trade paperback comics.

The book features 65 comic artists with their own interpretation on director George Miller's Mad Max world, more specifically just for Fury Road. You'll see that the two main characters drawn by the artists at times will resemble Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron as they appear in the film.

The art is fantastic, filled with frenzy and mayhem that has come to be associated Mad Max movies. There are lots of styles to check out. Some adopted the more painterly style with more details, others went for the comic style with pen and ink.

Some of the artists included are Tara McPherson, David Mack, Bill, Sienkiewicz, George Pratt, Dave McKean, Simon Besley, Tommy Lee Edwards, Jim Lee, Gilbert Hernandez, Paul Pope, Ben Templesmith and more. It's a nice diverse selection of artists featured.

The only downside of the book is the format. Each piece of art is a double page spread that gets printed across the gutter. It's not that nice to see every piece fall into the gutter. And if you know those binded trade paperbacks, they can't open flat. Choice of format for the book is peculiar, especially when the art are all same size, so they could have gone for a larger canvas and not print across the gutter. There's a Kindle edition for this book as well but I don't know how the art is presented as there are no preview pages provided.

Overall, the artworks are top notch and worth the money.

Ultimate Star Wars
Ultimate Star Wars
by Ryder Windham
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 33.83
35 used & new from CDN$ 27.33

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Star Wars encyclopedia for the fans, May 11 2015
This review is from: Ultimate Star Wars (Hardcover)
Length:: 2:22 Mins

Ultimate Star Wars is in essence the encyclopedia of Star Wars.

This large 320-page hardcover published by DK Books is meant to be a comprehensive reference and companion to the Star Wars universe.

As you would expect from DK Books, Ultimate Star Wars is packed with lots of information and wonderful pictures.

There are four sections to the book, namely Characters and Creatures, Locations, Technology and Vehicles. Each character, creature or subject is covered in chronological manner as they appear in the films and the animated series Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebel. There are also key events pulled out from the timelines included. This should refresh your memory regarding the universe while you wait for the next film Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Some of the information have been published in other Star Wars books over the years. For example, there are the vehicles and spaceships from Star Wars: Complete Vehicles or planet information from Star Wars: The Essential Atlas, etc. That is however no excuse not to get this book because everything is now collected in one beautiful and convenient volume.

Highly recommended to all Star Wars fans.

(See more pictures of the book on my blog. Just visit my Amazon profile for the link.)

Art of He Man and the Masters of the Universe
Art of He Man and the Masters of the Universe
by Various
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 32.66
31 used & new from CDN$ 26.16

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nostalgic collection, May 6 2015
Length:: 2:22 Mins

As a kid, I watched and followed He-Man with enthusiam. That was many years ago and the only characters I could remember today are He-Man and Skeletor. Going through this book is therefore a nostalgic experience. Not just that, it also introduces me to a world of MOTU that I never knew.

The Art of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe is an artbook that looks at the art and design for the animation, comics and toys. Instead of photos of toys and their packaging boxes, you'll be looking at the character designs and packaging art.

There are interviews with many of the creators, such as with Emiliano Santalucia, Joshua Van Pelt and James Eatock, founders of the Power and the Honor Foundation, writer of many MOTU minicomics Steven Grant, illustrator and animator Larry Houston, writer Paul Dini, illustrator Earl Norem, concept artist William Stout, designer David Wolfram and many more. It's interesting to find out how the toys, comics and animation are made, the conceptualisation that went behind, and the creative process used to maintain the series.

The first chapter starts with the business side of making toys to appeal to young boys. It's enlightening to read about the methodology and thinking that goes into toy design, or creating a character that boys can look up to, and eventually buy. There are several notes and internal memos from the Mattel Male Action Team that outlines how they should develop this particular toy market. The book covers not just the creative side but also the business side.

As for the artworks, you'll get to see storyboards, animation cels, including a piece of plastic with He-man and Skeletor that you can overlay onto the background art, toy posters from Mattel, comic covers, designs for the character, background, toys, maps and unused concepts such as toys and characters that never got made.

Personally, I've only watched the animation and don't read the comics or collect the toys, so the bulk of the content in this book are new to me. The artworks are fantastic. There are sketches as well as those fully painted pieces. There's even an illustration by movie poster master artist Drew Struzan.

The latter part of the book covers the relaunch of the toy line and animation from 2000 onwards. Again, it's quite interesting to see the modern take on the classic characters with the current visual styles of comics and animation.

This 320-page hardcover is a wonderful collection of pop culture. Highly recommended to all fans of He-Man and MOTU.

(See more pictures of the book on my blog. Just visit my Amazon profile for the link.)

Drawing Is Magic: Discovering Yourself in a Sketchbook
Drawing Is Magic: Discovering Yourself in a Sketchbook
by John Hendrix
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 15.55
36 used & new from CDN$ 11.11

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fun book to develop the drawing habit, May 5 2015
Length:: 1:05 Mins

Drawing is Magic is a fun book to get you into the habit of drawing with a sketchbook.

The author is John Hendrix, an illustrator and educator. The text in this book is written in an enthusiastic tone, the drawing activities are fun, illustrated examples lively and ideas plenty.

This book is great for beginners who want to pick up sketching, and help you develop a love for drawing. What it doesn't cover are the fundamentals of drawing, e.g. the more academic stuff such as proportion, composition, values, etc. This book is more of an outlet for you to put pen to paper, and you can even draw on the pages inside. If you want to take drawing further, then you source out other drawing books.

Other books you might enjoy if you like this book are:

Art Before Breakfast: A Zillion Ways to be More Creative No Matter How Busy You Are
Playing with Sketches
Freehand: Sketching Tips and Tricks Drawn from Art
Just Draw It!
Sketch!: The Non-Artist's Guide to Inspiration, Technique, and Drawing Daily Life

(See more pictures of the book on my blog. Just visit my Amazon profile for the link.)

The Art of the Uncharted Trilogy
The Art of the Uncharted Trilogy
by Naughty Dog
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 32.66
35 used & new from CDN$ 26.16

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing Uncharted Art, May 5 2015
Length:: 2:02 Mins

I'm a big fan of Uncharted and the art so this book is pretty much a must-buy for me.

When it comes to video game art and concept, I feel that Uncharted probably has the most absorbing characters and environments. The main characters are quite likeable and memorable. The environments in the game are absolutely breathtaking.

The Art of the Uncharted Trilogy features the character and environment design for the first three games. It's a 192-page hardcover filled with wonderful art. Looking back at all the beautiful artworks reminds me of the time I first played the game. I was awed by the visuals, and I still am.

Interestingly, art from the first game had a more comic-like look and feel to them, e.g. line art for character designs. From the second game onwards, it went on to have more realism built in. You can see that in the progression of design for the main characters from the first to third game. Environment art also started to be more detailed.

The downside of the book is there should have been more art included. 192 pages are divided among the three games so actually each game just has under a hundred pages. A lot of artworks were left out for sure because The Art of Uncharted 2: Among Thieves by itself is already 272 pages. It's difficult to imagine how much artworks were left out for the first and third game, and how much more awesome this book could have been.

And because there's the dedicated artbook for the Uncharted 2, artworks for that game are duplicated in majority inside this book.

As a standalone book, it's definitely highly recommended to all the Uncharted fans and those who like video game art. I just wished I could see more.

(See more pictures of the book on my blog. Just visit my Amazon profile for the link.)

Local Color: Seeing Place Through Watercolor
Local Color: Seeing Place Through Watercolor
by Mimi Robinson
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 20.01
38 used & new from CDN$ 12.02

4.0 out of 5 stars Pleasant beautiful book on colours, April 28 2015
Length:: 1:03 Mins

Local Color is a relaxing book to read. The writeup is light and breezy. The pictures are lovely, watercolour swatches are pastel-like in colour scheme. It's the kind of book that you may like if you're also into books from Nigel Peake and Sara Midda.

This book from artist and designer Mimi Robinson invites you to slow down to observe familiar surroundings and record the colours that you see each day for inspiration. The pages are filled with mostly colour swatches created by Robinson with accompanying photographs to show what she saw. The swatches look wonderful. There are just a handful of paintings only.

There are some travel stories, actually they are more like descriptions, flowing descriptions of the colours of places and scenes Robinson has been to, seen and captured. Occasionally, there are some exercises and tips that gives you ideas on what you can do to create your own swatches, where to find inspiration or how to think about colours as a whole in your composition. Overall, the instructions are rather brief but they can be lengthy in actual practice.

Downside of the book is probably the brief instructions on colouring mixing. This book shows mainly swatches and there are only six pages on colour mixing. Not only that, swatches featured throughout the book aren't labeled with the pigments used. Perhaps, it's not that guided to push you to experiment colour mixing yourself. The book would have been more useful with more instructions and colour mixing recipes, even if it's just the name of the pigments.

All in all, it's an enjoyable book, recommended to those who like colours.

(See more pictures of the book on my blog. Just visit my Amazon profile for the link.)

The Elder Scrolls Online: Tales of Tamriel - Vol. I: The Land
The Elder Scrolls Online: Tales of Tamriel - Vol. I: The Land
by Bethesda Softworks
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 29.65
30 used & new from CDN$ 29.65

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book for fans, April 28 2015
Length:: 1:43 Mins

This is a nice companion to Elder Scrolls Online.

The presentation is beautiful. It's a hardcover with a surface that's almost velvety with a nice emboss design. If you happen to have the Diablo III companions on the folklore, such as The Book of Cain or The Book of Tyrael, this is almost like those in terms of presentation. The pages are designed like old parchment with yellow pages and mould stains.

The content are actually text from the game. You might find the text online as well through sources such as Wikia but that would be troublesome to go through compared to them all collected neatly in this book.

The text are stories and lore from various inhabitants of Tamriel, from all the three warring factions, Aldmeri Dominion, Daggerfall Convenant and Ebonheart. There's also a section with several chapters on creatures.

For every spread, there's either one or two pieces of beautiful artworks that decorate the blocks of text.

It's a great book for fans of Elder Scrolls Online. The only downside is the peculiar choice of font used that affects the legibility.

(See more pictures of the book on my blog. Just visit my Amazon profile for the link.)

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