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Parka (Singapore)
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Warbirds: The Aviation Art of Adam Tooby
Warbirds: The Aviation Art of Adam Tooby
by Adam Tooby
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 25.04
35 used & new from CDN$ 25.04

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful book for aviation and war plane enthusiasts, Nov. 1 2014
Length:: 2:39 Mins

Here's a book for those who love aviation art, particularly military planes.

Adam Tooby only got into creating aviation art 6 years ago and now has an artbook filled with amazing artworks. That's really impressive.

Warbirds is a large coffee table hardcover artbook that features more than 200 artworks of military planes from over the last 100 years of aviation. These planes are from before and after the first and second World War. Actually the most recent jet featured is the Mig-29 with its maiden flight in 1977.

The book starts with a lengthy and insightful Q&A interview about his work and inspiration. At the end is a step by step breakdown, including screenshots, of how he models and textures the planes. It's not a tutorial where you can follow along though, but it's interesting to know the creative process.

Tooby uses 3D Studio Max with Photoshop and Illustrator to create his artworks. He would visit museums and places where the planes are displayed to take hundreds of photos, then gather whatever blueprints and information available before modelling the planes in 3D. That is a lot of groundwork and his work rate is very inspiring.

The artworks are wonderful, either rendered individually or featured in flights during war. Details are amazing, right down to the rivets on the legendary Spitfire, the shine of the metal, the weather worn paint peeling surfaces on the wings of the planes, or the words, logos and decorations on the plane bodies. The artworks are printed huge, sometimes across the whole 3 page gatefold.

Each plane featured comes with specifications, a writeup on the history and variations of upgrades. There's a lot to read and should appeal to aviation or World War buff.

This is a beautiful and informative book. I hope there will be future volume covering planes that weren't included this time round.

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

Star Wars Costumes
Star Wars Costumes
by Brandon Alinger
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 43.89
21 used & new from CDN$ 43.89

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome book, Oct. 31 2014
This review is from: Star Wars Costumes (Hardcover)
Length:: 2:17 Mins

Gosh, it really took a while for this book to come out considering the previous costume book Dressing a Galaxy which came out in 2005.

It's a fantastic book just like the earlier one. It's a huge 226-page hardcover with lots of wonderful photos and in depth writeup.

Star Wars Costumes focuses on the costumes created for Star Wars original trilogy Episodes IV, V and IV. It's really cool to look at the huge variety of costumes used in the movies.

There are costumes for Chewbacca, R2-D2, C-3PO, Boba Fett, bounty hunters, Princess Leia's skimpy slave dancer outfit, Darth Vadar, Stormtroopers and many more. Across the movies, there are also updates to the costumes so you'll get to see Darth Vadar's original and the updated one after A New Hope. What I find interesting is to see that most costume designs have aged quite well while some not so well.

The photographs are great. They are high resolution with close ups just in case you want to examine the seams. There are photographs almost on every page. Some sketches and concept designs are also included.

The text is even more in depth compared to Dressing a Galaxy, talking about the making of those costumes. Forewords are written by costume designers John Mollo, Nilo Rodis-Jamero and Aggie Rodgers. It's a very insightful writeup by author Brian Alinger.

Highly recommended to all Star Wars fans.

By the way, there are two publishers for this book, namely Chronicle Books who is distributing for USA and Canada, and Titan Books for UK, Europe and other places. Prices of the book will vary slightly from the publishers and of course places where you buy it.

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

The Art of Jim Burns: Hyperluminal
The Art of Jim Burns: Hyperluminal
by Jim Burns
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 25.04
39 used & new from CDN$ 25.04

5.0 out of 5 stars For Jim Burn fans, Oct. 31 2014
Length:: 1:38 Mins

Jim Burns is an artist from Wales and started his career in the 1970s. He's a sci-fi artist whose artworks have appeared on numerous covers and that is what he's probably most well known for doing.

The Art of Jim Burns: Hyperluminal features a collection of artworks from Burns's career from the 70s to the recent years up to 2014. You'll see the book cover art he created for authors such as Peter F Hamilton, George R R Martin and many more. The artworks are reproduced huge in this coffee table book compared to the novels. Because of the size, you can see more clearly the amount of detail he puts in the paintings.

He uses primarily acrylics, occasionally oils and also took up digital painting. The details and defined edges of his acrylics paintings are impressive. The artworks are credited to the books they are for, year and medium.

The artworks are beautiful, well reproduced, particularly the ones painted with traditional medium. Digital ones still look digital though. Most are sci-fi, some fantasy, and a few surreal ones. The sci-fi worlds he creates are quite unlike those from other artists with his choice of colours, realism, details and design. They belong more to the traditional sci-fi art in those days as compared to the busy video game style concept art commonly seen nowadays.

I've a minor quibble for page 110 where a face was cut into half by the page gutter.

Overall, a good book for fans of his art.

The Art of Jim Burns: Hyperluminal is another wonderful addition to the sci-fi artbooks that Titan Books have published in the recent years such as for Fred Gambino, John Harris and Chris Foss.

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

Art Without Waste: 500 Upcycled & Earth-Friendly Designs
Art Without Waste: 500 Upcycled & Earth-Friendly Designs
by Patty K Wongpakdee
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 17.55
31 used & new from CDN$ 15.96

4.0 out of 5 stars Nice source of ideas, Oct. 31 2014
This book is a nice source of ideas for those into recycling materials to create artworks.

Author Patty K. Wongpakdee has curated 500 pieces of art created from discarded materials such as lenses, circuit boards or even fire hoses. It's interesting to see how some things are repurposed. Skateboards are made into guitars, wine corks into chairs, gas cans into luggages and many other unexpected ideas.

The content is split into four chapters, namely Personal Items & Accessories, Home & Garden, Interior & Outdoor Spaces and Art & Design.

Some ideas work, but others not so much. For example, under accessories, recycled lenses from spectacles are stringed together to form a dress. Personally, I don't think anyone would wear the dress. But it's an interesting concept. It works well when the recycled materials are turned into art rather than some other tool, clothing or something with functionality. Sometimes art is just not meant to be functional.

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

Boris Vallejo And Julie Bell: Dreamland
Boris Vallejo And Julie Bell: Dreamland
by Boris Vallejo
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 27.27
31 used & new from CDN$ 27.27

5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning collection from Boris Vallejo and Julie Bell, Oct. 30 2014
Length:: 2:10 Mins

Dreamland presents a stunning collection of new artworks from the fantasy art masters Boris Vallejo and Julie Bell. They are among the best painters and fantasy artists around, and after looking at the book, it just seems that they keep getting better and better.

The A4 size 192-page hardcover artbook is filled with more than 150 paintings, mostly printed one on each page with a few over two pages. Most paintings are in portrait format and fit nicely within the page.

The paintings are absolutely beautiful. The collection features their personal as well as commercial works. There are individual pieces and also those that they painted together.

The subject matter is what they paint best, mostly character based. Muscular heroes and heroines in fantasy lands, with dragons or mythical creatures. There are also some commissioned work they painted for advertising. The amount of detail in their work is amazing. The lighting scheme reminds me of old masters paintings and it is indeed mentioned in the book that they use techniques from old masters for their artworks, and when it comes to using human models for reference.

The book includes brief autobiographies, common questions they received, hints and tips on painting, how they work together, and commentary for selected pieces of paintings. Right at the end is an envelope with 10 art prints featuring selected artworks. Very nice but the paper quality is that of the book which is not too bad, the low gloss type.

This is a fantastic artbook. The only downside is that this artbook is not larger, like A3 size. I would love to look at the paintings huge and up close.

Highly recommended.

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

Alien the Archive: The Ultimate Guide to the Classic Movies
Alien the Archive: The Ultimate Guide to the Classic Movies
by Titan Books
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 34.48
31 used & new from CDN$ 34.48

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Terrific companion to the Alien movies, Oct. 30 2014
Length:: 3:09 Mins

When I bought this book, I had the fear that there's going to be a rehash of content that has already appeared in Alien Vault whose content was also a rehash of an earlier book called The Book of Alien.

With the book in hand, I do see that there are duplication but it's perhaps unavoidable because it covers all the four films from the franchise. Duplication mainly comes the from the first film with some similar pictures and stories from Alien Vault being reused, just laid out differently. For me, it's not a major bummer because the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

Alien the Archive is presented as a huge 304-page hardcover published by Titan Books, who have also recently released another Alien-related book called The Art of Alien: Isolation, an awesome video game artbook by the way.

This is a visually driven book with the large pictures and supporting text. From cover to cover, it's filled with wonderful photographs and artworks that are gloriously reproduced on the huge pages.

The book starts off an interesting analysis of Sigourney Weaver's character Ellen Ripley before going into the specific films. It looks at the casting and at how Ripley had evolved in the Alien universe. It's a nice way to connect the films together using a common element.

Content for each film features the history and production process, the cast, designs for the environment, spaceships, and the alien, all in the at order.

The text overall is insightful and informative. However, history for each film is rather brief but this isn't a detailed production diary so it's not surprising. The other text comes in the form of interviews, captions and commentary explaining the designs, filming process and the work that is done. The paragraphs here and there plus snippets of text all add up to a huge amount of content to read.

The text reveals interesting details like how they construct the spaceships, art direction, the artists who are involved, difficulties on filming Alien 3, creating of sets and of course the alien, and the different aspects that each film faces.

The behind the scenes photographs are really great and fun to look at. You can see the actual models for spaceships and sets, alien suits, many of the alien props including the mechanical parts that control the movements, actors, the filming process and more. There are many new pictures that I've not seen before because I've not seen companion books for the second to fourth film.

The included artworks are fantastic. There are artworks from Chris Foss, Moebius, H.R. Giger and other artists. H.R. Giger contribution is the most significant with designs for the alien, its environment and other elements. You'll also see concept art and sketches for the spaceship interiors, vehicles, props, storyboards and physical models such as maquettes and miniatures.

This is a terrific companion to the Alien franchise. Highly recommended to the fans.

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

The Art of Big Hero 6
The Art of Big Hero 6
by Jessica Julius
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 28.84
4 used & new from CDN$ 28.84

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful artbook for Disney's Big Hero 6, Oct. 30 2014
This review is from: The Art of Big Hero 6 (Hardcover)
Length:: 2:16 Mins

Beautiful artbook for Disney's Big Hero 6

I find this to be an interesting artbook particularly because of the environment designs. About half the book is dedicated to the environment designs which includes the city San Fransokyo, Hiro's house, the cafe, San Fransokyo Institute of Technology, Fred's mansion and the portal.

The San Fransokyo is like a character by itself with its blend of architecture and aesthetics from west and east. It's fun to see how the artists create a populated city inspired by San Francisco and Tokyo.

Cited by art director Scott Watanabe, there are also influences from anime films such as Tekkonkinkreet, Ghost in the Shell and Akira. Indeed when I look at some of the environment sketches, they remind me of sketches from the Tekkon Kinkreet anime artbook. The vibe is certainly present.

Looking at the city's environment concept art, you'll be able to spot Japanese elements such as the tapered rooftops, Koinobori (carp-shaped wind socks), a Golden Gate Bridge lookalike with Torii design elements, signboards with Japanese typography, wooden curved bridges, cherry-blossom trees, etc. There are also major characteristic San Francisco elements such as the roads with very recognisable cable cars, sloping hills, Victorian-style houses, etc.

There's an emphasis on function and a sense of feeling lived-in for the environments, so buildings aren't just designed to look cool. For example, city streets or Hiro's rooms are made to look a bit more messy or wonky.

The second half of the book features the character designs for the heroes, villains and side characters. Again, there's noticeable Japanese influence in the designs. Early designs for Hiro shows off costumes that look like ninjas or even Patlabor. There are more pages for Baymax because he's has a big role. Go Go's hero suit reminded me of Tron and some Japanese toy/game/anime that I can't remember. The characters in their non-hero forms are pretty standard and do not stand out, but their hero costumes look quite good.

Finally the last part of the book talks briefly about the cinematography used, such as lighting, the new Disney Hyperion renderer and colour script.

There's a good amount of text included in the form of introductions for each environment and character, and quotes from the staff talking about the designs. It's a book solely on the designs, with nothing being mentioned about the movie's plot.

Overall a nice film companion.

4.5 out of 5 stars.

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

Harry Potter: The Creature Vault
Harry Potter: The Creature Vault
by Jody Revensen
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 34.80
24 used & new from CDN$ 34.80

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent compendium on the creatures and plants from the Harry Potter movies, Oct. 30 2014
Length:: 2:24 Mins

As a Harry Potter fan, I have quite a few companion books. The largest in my collection is Harry Potter Page to Screen: The Complete Filmmaking Journey. Right after I bought Page to Screen, I discovered there was a collector's edition that included several other books. I did not get the collector's edition since I already have the main book, but I've always longed to see those additional books.

Harry Potter: The Creature Vault is actually the expanded version of the The Creature Shop Compendium book that is part of Harry Potter Page to Screen Collector's Edition.

This new edition has a makeover and now sports a purple coloured embossed cover. The page count has increased to 208. It's a beautiful looking compendium.

This book looks at all the creatures and magical plants that have appeared in the movie series. It's packed with creature designs, concept art, film stills and photos from behind the scenes which shows how the crew build the animatronics, maquettes, sculptures and life-size models such as the Basilisk or the dragons.

Concept art for the creatures comes in the form of sketches, watercolours and digital paintings. Bulk of the book consists the artworks with accompanying text. A few pictures were reused from Page to Screen but not a big issue.

Below's the list of chapters that group the creatures according to their type:

1. Forest Dwellers - Centaur, Unicorn, Acromantula, Hippogriff, Thestral
2. Lake Dwellers - Merperson, Grindylow
3. Sky Dwellers - Dragon, Cornish Pixie
4. Trespassers - Troll, Giant, Gnome
5. Shape-Shifters - Animagus, Boggart, Werewolf
6. The Working World - Post Owl, House-Elf, Goblin, Fluffy
7. Dark Forces - Basilisk, Dementor, Inferius
8. Companions - Hedwig, Errol, Pigwidgeon, Scabbers, Crookshanks, Mrs. Norris, Fang, Trevor, Arnold, Fawkes, Nagini
9. The Greenhouse - Devil's Snare, Mandrake, Whomping Willow, Mimbulus Mimbletonia, Venomous Tentacula, Dirigible Plum

There's a huge bunch of creatures and plants featured. All are given ample coverage in terms of art and text. Author Jody Revenson has provided an insightful writeup that talks about their designs for the movies, the story component and interesting details such as the technical parts on how the creatures were created, be it in computer or real life. I believe it will be a satisfying read for any Harry Potter fan, especially those who craves for details.

The book description mentioned there's an Eeylops Owl Emporium. That's actually a small 8-page booklet sticked to the main pages showing photos of several owls. The other extra goodie is an A3 size one page bestiary poster with 16 selected creatures.

One last thing to note is there are two publishers for this book. It seems that publisher Harper Design is distributing for USA and Canada, and Titan Books are distributing for UK, Europe and other regions. So depending on where you are and from which publisher you buy from, the book's price might vary slightly. I find that Titan Books sell it cheaper, and for overseas buyers, it's more worth it to get the book from Book Depository.

I really enjoyed going through all the information and looking at the beautiful concept art. This is yet another excellent companion to the movies.

Highly recommended to all Harry Potter fans.

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

RoboCop: The Definitive History
RoboCop: The Definitive History
by Calum Waddell
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 25.04
36 used & new from CDN$ 24.69

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nice companion for the RoboCop franchise, Oct. 29 2014
Length:: 2:19 Mins

I enjoyed watching the first RoboCop movie and the TV series when I was a kid. Back then, I was fascinated by the idea of a human being fused with a robot. I always wait eagerly for RoboCop to appear on screen each time to see his mechanical walk. Those were the days.

RoboCop: The Definitive History is a wonderful book that brings back the good old memories of watching those movies and TV shows.

This book goes behind the scenes to cover the making of RoboCop franchise which includes the first three movies, TV series, the animated RoboCop: Alpha Commando, comics, video games, toys and finally the 2014 movie reboot, all in that order.

There are stories on the production, behind the scenes photographs, pictures of the make up, costumes, actors, miniatures and storyboards. The text and visuals are about a 50-50 mix.

The text is insightful and detailed with background stories and the challenges faced with making each film. The first three films takes up slightly more than half of the book. Other parts of the franchise are lacking and split up into smaller sections. More could have been written but I still enjoy going through them because I did not know how big the franchise was before I read the book.

The design and make up of Robocop still look amazing today. You'll get to see closeup the unmasked RoboCop with actor Peter Weller's head half-fused with mechanical parts. There are also sketches for the Enforcement Droid Series 209 (aka ED-209), another one of my favourite characters, and even photos of how the miniature and life size models were created. The way the films were shot then is a huge contrast to the latest 2014 RoboCop which relies heavily on CGI.

Overall, this is a great movie companion for the RoboCop franchise. It provides an entertaining read in the form of a good recap and history. Highly recommended to the fans.

I enjoyed watching the first RoboCop movie and the TV series when I was a kid. Back then, I was fascinated by the idea of a human being fused with a robot. I always wait eagerly for RoboCop to appear on screen each time to see his mechanical walk. Those were the days.

RoboCop: The Definitive History is a wonderful book that brings back the good old memories of watching those movies and TV shows.

This book goes behind the scenes to cover the making of RoboCop franchise which includes the first three movies, TV series, the animated RoboCop: Alpha Commando, comics, video games, toys and finally the 2014 movie reboot, all in that order.

There are stories on the production, behind the scenes photographs, pictures of the make up, costumes, actors, miniatures and storyboards. The text and visuals are about a 50-50 mix.

The text is insightful and detailed with background stories and the challenges faced with making each film. The first three films takes up slightly more than half of the book. Other parts of the franchise are lacking and split up into smaller sections. More could have been written but I still enjoy going through them because I did not know how big the franchise was before I read the book.

The design and make up of Robocop still look amazing today. You'll get to see closeup the unmasked RoboCop with actor Peter Weller's head half-fused with mechanical parts. There are also sketches for the Enforcement Droid Series 209 (aka ED-209), another one of my favourite characters, and even photos of how the miniature and life size models were created. The way the films were shot then is a huge contrast to the latest 2014 RoboCop which relies heavily on CGI.

Overall, this is a great movie companion for the RoboCop franchise. It provides an entertaining read in the form of a good recap and history. Highly recommended to the fans.

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

I'd Love to Draw
I'd Love to Draw
by Andrew Loomis
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 28.22
36 used & new from CDN$ 28.22

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It still feels unfinished, Oct. 29 2014
This review is from: I'd Love to Draw (Hardcover)
Length:: 1:16 Mins

Publisher Titan Books did a huge favour for the art community with the reprints of Andrew Loomis books. Apparently, there was an unfinished Loomis that never made it to publication. Well, this is that book.

I'd Love to Draw is a drawing book targeted at the absolute beginners. Loomis' text is as usual very encouraging but some of the text are written in cursive letters which I find difficult to read. Compared to other Loomis books, the instructions here are made simpler, to the extent that I felt they are lacking in depth.

The book covers drawing of basic objects (using geometry), perspective, lighting, drawing the head and figure. The structure is fine but in many cases there could be more explanation included to help beginners. Basic drawing tips are present, but the book had much more potential. A good portion of what's taught here is quite similar to the content in Fun With a Pencil.

The sketches and main text for the book were already completed by Loomis, just that the captions were missing. So comic book artist Alex Ross was enlisted to help finish the book. If you've read Alex Ross' artbooks, you'll find out that he cites Loomis as one of his main influences.

For the last two chapters on drawing the head and figures, Loomis provided only the introduction while Alex Ross had to give captions to all the drawings and he did quite a good job filling in the blanks, providing insight and tips.

Overall, the book still feels unfinished to me. Perhaps it's because of the very sketchy drawings, or the pencils lines that are supposed to be erased but are not, but mostly because there could be more instructions provided.

If you're a beginner, I would recommend getting the other Loomis books which are more detailed, more satisfying to learn from, and represent better value for the money spent.

3 out of 5 stars.

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

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