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Parka (Singapore)
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Masters of Science Fiction and Fantasy Art: A Collection of the Most Inspiring Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Gaming Illustrators in the World
Masters of Science Fiction and Fantasy Art: A Collection of the Most Inspiring Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Gaming Illustrators in the World
by Karen Haber
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 20.69
18 used & new from CDN$ 3.62

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful collection and a truly enjoyable read, Aug. 29 2011
[...]Rockport Publishers usually publish graphic design books so it's a bit surprising that this book was published by them.

This is a 224-page paperback that comes with a dust jacket that unfolds into a poster. The poster doesn't show poster art but a collection of the illustrations that appear in the book.

The book profiles and features 28 upcoming and leading artists in the realm of science fiction and fantasy art. The variety is great. The artists are sorted by three mediums:

Combined traditional and digital tools
- Jim Burns
- Shaun Tan
- Dave Seeley
- Avi Katz
- John Picacio
- Pavel Mikhailenko
- Ken Wong
- Brom
- Greg Spalenka
- Bruce Jensen
- Scott M. Fischer
- Todd Lockwood

Digital tools and Techniques
- Stephan Martiniere
- Tomasz Maronski
- Camille Kuo
- Galan Pang
- Marta Dahlig

Traditional Tools and Techniques
- James Gurney
- Kinuko Y. Craft
- Charles Vess
- Donato Giancola
- Rebecca Guay
- Dan Dos Santos
- Petar Meseldzija
- Terese Nielsen
- Bob Eggleton
- Don Maitz
- Gregory Manchess

This is a large book and well laid out. Each artist comes with a few beautiful pieces of illustrations featured, ranging from quarter page size to full page. Some of them are progress snapshots of paintings and come with captions on how they were created. It doesn't go very technical but general enough to know what's going on.

The artists profiles are lengthy and inspiring to read. They talk about how they got started, their influences and views on art and also shares some tips and techniques. It can be Todd Lockwood explaining why he likes graphite, or Marta Dahlig talking about the challenges of creating art for clients.

It's great to see new artists featured along with more established ones like James Gurney, Stephan Martiniere, Charles Vess, etc. More than half of the artists are new to me and their work are of high standards.

This is a wonderful collection and a truly enjoyable read.

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

Watercolour For The Absolute Beginner
Watercolour For The Absolute Beginner
by Alwyn F Crawshaw
Edition: Paperback
35 used & new from CDN$ 13.42

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent for watercolour beginners, Aug. 24 2011
Length:: 1:26 Mins

Watercolour for the Absolute Beginner is actually a collection of 3 books that were published earlier, namely You Can Paint Watercolors by Alwyn Crawshaw, You Can Paint People in Watercolour by Sharon Finmark and You Can Paint Animals in Watercolour by Trevor Waugh.

It's now sold together as a 224-page paperback at a wonderful bundle price.

This is probably the least intimidating watercolour book I've seen. The exercises are short and easy to follow. It shouldn't take more than 15-30 minutes to complete each one.

The examples are simple, usually a single subject, like a banana or some grapes. Even for the landscape paintings, there are also very few elements included. The simple examples are great in a way because they build confidence.

What's lacking is perhaps the section on colour theory. It teaches basic colour mixing, with simple recipes provided in all the exercises. But it doesn't talk about colour harmony, like how some colours work well with others. Anyway, you can get another book for that called Watercolor Artist's Guide to Exceptional Color by Jan Hart.

This book is highly recommended to watercolour beginners who want something less intimidating. Or if you want something more challenging, but still suitable for beginners, check out Complete Watercolour Course by John Raynes.

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

Crazy 4 Cult: Cult Movie Art
Crazy 4 Cult: Cult Movie Art
by Gallery 1988
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 25.08
41 used & new from CDN$ 25.08

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars For cult movie fans who like a bit of lowbrow art, Aug. 23 2011
Length:: 1:15 Mins

Crazy 4 Cult is a cult movie art collection, featuring art from Gallery 1988, a Los Angeles art gallery opened in 2004 that focuses on pop-culture themed artwork.

It's a 176-page hardcover published by Titan Books.

The movies included are limited to just cult movies, depending on how you define cult. Some of them are Clerks, The Big Lebowski, Edward Scissorhands, Donnie Darko, The Shining, Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory etc. Some titles are really obscure.

The art is essentially fan art, a collection a paintings and a few handmade figures. Some ideas are nice, some average. There's a variety of interesting style but overall, there's a strong lowbrow art feel to the book. Can't say that it's the style of art I like.

This book reminds me of Star Wars Art: Visions which is also sort of a cult movie book, but their selection is more refined, and quality is higher. By the way, there's no Star Wars art in Crazy 4 Cult except for some characters that appear as only as cameo.

This book is probably a fan service. I think you need to be a strong cult movie fan (who also likes art) to appreciate.

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

Sketch Book For The Artist
Sketch Book For The Artist
by Sarah Simblet
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 17.29
17 used & new from CDN$ 17.29

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A general overview of sketching, Aug. 22 2011
Length:: 1:24 Mins

This book is published by DK is an encompassing look at sketching. It's not an instructional book although you can get lots of ideas from looking at the classic and contemporary drawings included. Some of the sketches are from artist Sarah Simblet, and others from a myriad of artists.

There isn't much covered on the techniques. While there are topics like composition, light and shadow or perspective, they are mainly to introduce such concepts to beginners.

The book is heavy on subjects. The main chapters are on animals, botany, architecture, still life, body, portraits, costumes, imagination and many more.

It's a general guide to sketching and understanding the different sides to it. It's a bit too general for me though. For drawing books, I prefer those that are dedicated to specific subjects.

It's an interesting book to flip through, and isn't too expensive.

The US version of this book is "Sketch Book for the Artist". There's another edition with British English called "The Drawing Book".

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

Watercolour Challenge Techniques in Practice
Watercolour Challenge Techniques in Practice
by Pan Macmillan Limited
Edition: Paperback
12 used & new from CDN$ 20.51

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lots of great exercises to try, Aug. 22 2011
Length:: 0:54 Mins

This book seems to be one of the book published to accompany the Channel 4 series Watercolour Challenge created by Planet 24. That was in 1998. I guess the show was interesting because the content in this book is great.

Below's the list of books from the series, some of which are hard to find.

- Watercolour Challenge (Art)
- Watercolour Challenge
- Painting with "Watercolour Challenge"
- Watercolour Challenge: Practical Painting Course

Looking at the titles, it's difficult to tell if there's any overlap in content. You've to check out other reviews from Amazon.

For Watercolour Challenge: Techniques in Practice, it is split into three chapters: the techniques, mixing colours and projects. 224 pages in total.

Chapter 1 explores the techniques you can use to tackle different painting subjects, such as elements from the landscape, from the water to the sky. These are one-page lessons that give a step-by-step look and explanation at how to paint. There are hands on practices and demos. The lessons though short are insightful and easy to follow along.

Chapter 2 looks at colour mixing with a limited palette of 12 colours. The palette is based on a warm and cool version of each primary: red, yellow and blue. Each of the 12 colours are mixed in a 80 to 20 ratio and the results are presented on a page for quick referencing. There are also 50-50 mixes but only with colours beside them on the colour wheel. Besides explanation of the pigments, there are also some cool photos of the grounded powder pigments.

Chapter 3 has 22 step-by-step guided projects for additional hands-on practice. Each project is filled with satisfying large pictures of the steps, together with clear instructions. Some projects come with a helpful starting template which you need to redraw onto a bigger surface.

Lots of beautiful watercolour examples are used throughout. It's not just a practical book but also very inspiring.

Recommended to beginner to intermediate watercolour artists.

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

The Complete Watercolour Course: A Comprehensive, Easy-to-follow Guide to Watercolour
The Complete Watercolour Course: A Comprehensive, Easy-to-follow Guide to Watercolour
by John Raynes
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 23.61
3 used & new from CDN$ 23.61

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Clear instructions, good exercises, Aug. 22 2011
Length:: 0:58 Mins

John Raynes has authored a few books, and one of them is this one on watercolours.

There are two editions for this one. One's the hardcover published in 2004 by Collins & Brown. The other's the one I'm reviewing, a paperback published by Batsford (an imprint of Anova Books) in 2008.

This book is for the beginner watercolour artists. All the tutorials in the book are guided exercises with step-by-step pictures and instructions. It is very detailed and easy to follow.

There's an exercise on seeing and creating tones that I find to be very useful. In that exercise, several coloured boxes are stacked to create shadows, and the author goes on to demonstrate how physical form can illustrated with just tones. The exercise is really simple and is one of the most effective exercises on tones that I've seen in any instructional art book.

The first half of the book is on the techniques. It explores not just watercolour techniques like glazing and mixing colours but also some art basics like composition.

The latter half has a several lengthy projects on painting subjects, ranging from still life to landscapes to people. Everything is still step-by-step. The examples are pretty nice looking as well.

This is a helpful book. Highly recommended to watercolour beginners.

(There are more pictures of the book on my blogs. Just visit my Amazon profile for the link.)

Travels with Watercolour
Travels with Watercolour
by Lucy Willis
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 14.56
28 used & new from CDN$ 11.43

4.0 out of 5 stars Nice read, Aug. 22 2011
Length:: 1:04 Mins

This is the same book that was published in 2003 except with a change in cover.

Travels with Watercolour is for watercolour artists who paints on location. There are three main parts which are on the preparation for location painting, how to tackle different subjects and finishing up at home. It is packed with advice on how you can capture the subjects and scenes in a spontaneous ways. This isn't a tutorial based book.

Lucy Willis has traveled to many places. The beautiful paintings she did drawing plein air are included as examples to her commentary.

It's interesting to read about her travel stories, interacting with people from other cultures, and other amusing happenings.

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

The Marvel Art of Mike Deodato
The Marvel Art of Mike Deodato
by John Rhett Thomas
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 35.10
29 used & new from CDN$ 35.10

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Splendid, Aug. 22 2011
Length:: 1:59 Mins

One artist, hardcover, 240 pages. The Marvel Art of Mike Deodato is in pretty much the same format as other artist art books Marvel published recently, like The Marvel Art of Marko Djurdjevic and The Marvel Art of Joe Quesada.

Although Mike Deodato has a career in comics spanning more than 2 decades, the majority of work featured here are from 2002 to 2010.

The first chapter is dedicated to a selection of covers from that time. There are works from, just to name a few, Amazing Spider-Man, Dark Avengers, She-Hulk, Tigra, Punisher, Wolverine, X-Men, etc.

The later chapters are each dedicated to bigger titles, namely Thor, Elektra, Hulk, Spider-man, Thunderbolts, Avengers, X-Men, and a chapter collecting some other titles.

The art is fantastic of course, characterised by what the editors would say, "Tight pencils". The covers are nicely printed large, with the white space occasionally filled by the inked versions or pencils. You'll see quite a lot of pieces beautifully coloured by Rain Beredo. This is a best-of-the-best collection after all, so some covers have to be left out. There are a couple of pages on interior panel art.

I like the play on title logos when he's given the freedom to do so, especially those from the She-Hulk series. A nice one is of a villain holding a big slate of concrete HULK logo aiming at She-hulk. I also like the Spider-man and X-men art.

The text comes in the form of first person commentary and also quotes from other artists. There's quite a bit on his background. If you're wondering what's deal with him and Deodato studios, it's all in the interview as well. It's interesting to find out that he's into martial arts as a sport.

Splendid art book.

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

How to Draw Poses in Fashion
How to Draw Poses in Fashion
by Cristina Paredes
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 20.24
10 used & new from CDN$ 14.43

4.0 out of 5 stars A reference book for poses, not a drawing guide, Aug. 22 2011
Length:: 1:11 Mins

There's not much difference between this book and 1,000 Poses in Fashion, or Fashion Design Handbook for that matter.

The difference is only in the number of poses included in each book. This book has about 700 poses on 352 pages. The bulk are line art, and some with watercolours. As a reference book for poses, it's fantastic because of the huge number of poses. All drawn by Chidy Wayne.

It's not an instructional book since there's no guidance on how to draw. The captions merely describe the type of clothing featured. The book includes urban, casual and format style. Fashion Design Handbook has a bit on using watercolours on fashion design, not much.

If you're just getting one book, I would recommend 1000 Poses in Fashion since there are 1000 poses. Next would be this book with 700 poses. Fashion Design Handbook with around 600 poses. As far as I can tell, there doesn't seem to be any overlap of poses in these three books, which is pretty amazing -- just in case you want to get all three.

As a reference book, this would be a 5 stars.

Akira Club
Akira Club
by Katsuhiro Otomo
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 20.68
38 used & new from CDN$ 18.39

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For Akira manga fans, Aug. 22 2011
This review is from: Akira Club (Paperback)
Length:: 1:10 Mins

I didn't know that this book existed until very recently.

Akira Club is actually the English version of the Japanese edition Akira club: The memory of Akira lives on in our hearts that was published in 1995.

This English edition is translated and published by Dark Horse in 2007. It's a 256 page hardcover.

The book is all on the Akira manga. There's nothing on the animated movie except for some designs drawn for the laserdisc release.

It collects illustrations, preliminary sketches, all the title pages from the manga, promotional art and rejected art that were unpublished. It's pretty cool looking back at the works that were published in 1982. They were still using halftone dots to create grays. The art is great, and you can see that Otomo is amazing at drawing rubble and scenes of urban destruction.

If you have the manga editions, then you've seen all the title pages. This book includes a few unpublished ones. Majority are in black and white, some of them are coloured but not sure if they were coloured by Steve Oliff or Otomo. The commentary that goes with the title pages aren't related in any way, but just short musings of Otomo on what was happening to him that day, like his birthday or attending a friend's wedding.

What I enjoyed reading is the design commentary, talking about why sequences are arranged in a certain way, why some scenes don't work and have to be redrawn, what's difficult to draw. Most are just afterthoughts. There wasn't any information on his drawing techniques or production process though. And since the book doesn't include the animated movie, it doesn't talk about the differences between the manga and the movie.

This book is more for the Akira manga fans and those who like Otomo's art.

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

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