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Parka (Singapore)

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Valkyria Chronicles 3: Complete Artworks
Valkyria Chronicles 3: Complete Artworks
by Sega
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 44.94
39 used & new from CDN$ 42.04

5.0 out of 5 stars Third time as good, Nov. 2 2014
Length:: 1:13 Mins

Valkyria Chronicles 3: Complete Artworks continues in the same style as Valkyria Chronicles Design Archive and Valkyria Chronicles 2: World Artworks, the two earlier art books.

It's translated by Udon from the Japanese edition that was published in 2011. There are 256 pages in this paperback.

It's basically the concept art book and visual guide for the game. There are illustrations for characters, weapons, vehicles, scenes, storyboards, a bit of environment art and other promotional materials.

Character designs still form the main bulk of the book. There are sketches and many variations to look at. Some characters are from the previous games. For a military establishment, the military uniforms are as non-standardised as they can get. Even so, with a common art direction, you still see that they are from the same army.

What might interest fans would be the extensive commentary provided by the design notes, character profiles and story summaries.

It seems that the game wasn't released in English. If don't know Japanese and can't play the PSP game but still want to follow the series, then this art book will be great for you.

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

Haruhi Suzumiya Illustrations: Spring & Summer
Haruhi Suzumiya Illustrations: Spring & Summer
by Kadokawa Shoten
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 45.52
29 used & new from CDN$ 26.70

5.0 out of 5 stars Haruhi Suzumiya in anime style, Nov. 2 2014
Length:: 1:09 Mins

You might remember that I've also reviewed another art book earlier called Haruhi-ism: Noizi Ito Artworks. That one features the comic art of Noizi Ito while this one features the anime art. So you can get both books and not worry about duplication. This book is also thicker at 176 pages. It's a paperback with good paper.

The art book is large and all the illustrations inside are also printed large, to the edge of the pages. The illustrations are for anime magazines, CD jackets, posters and other merchandise.

The artworks are beautiful. Colours are vibrant. Characters are animated and full of life. There's sunshine, beach, and fun, and more. I sort of prefer the anime-style art compared to the manga art versions.

There are illustrations from various artists, namely Shoko Ikeda, Futoshi Nishiya, Yukiko Horiguchi, Tomoe, Aratani, Yasuhiro Takemoto, Seiichi Kitake and Kazuya Sakamoto. At the back, you can see their rough sketches and a brief career profile.

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

Star Trek: The Art of Juan Ortiz
Star Trek: The Art of Juan Ortiz
by Juan Oritz
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 34.47
37 used & new from CDN$ 20.29

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book for Star Trek Original Series fans, Nov. 2 2014
Length:: 1:13 Mins

Fans of Star Trek: The Original Series would probably find this book rather nostalgic. This is a movie poster artbook created by Juan Ortiz for the TV series.

Juan Ortiz started with a movie poster he created for one episode, liked it so much he created a whole bunch of them, one for each episode for the three seasons, including the unaired pilot 'The Cage'. There are 80 episodes in all.

The art style is retro and looks great. The colours look like they are faded on purpose to create that old look from the 60s. For some posters, he even created the folded crumpled paper look, as if the poster had just been taken out from some box.

In terms of design, you can see the influence from Juan Ortiz's background in editorial illustrations from the use of typography, composition, reverse colour fills. There are the strong shapes probably created by a vector graphics software. Compared to photographic movie posters, these Star Trek posters stand on their own for their composition and play of space (pun not intended).

The last few pages contain the index with commentary. The index comes with list of titles with one memorable quote from each, and Juan Ortiz talking about his designs.

This is a huge hardcover measuring almost 14 by 10 inches. The paper's low gloss. All the posters are nicely reproduced, printed to the edge. You'll be able to find the printed posters that sell separately online. But if you want the whole collection in one handy book, this is it.

Recommended to all Star Trek Original Series fans.

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

London You're Beautiful
London You're Beautiful
by David Gentleman
Edition: Hardcover
7 used & new from CDN$ 41.95

5.0 out of 5 stars London, You're Beautiful, Nov. 2 2014
Length:: 1:21 Mins

London, You're Beautiful is a lovely sketchbook from David Gentleman. He was born in London in 1930. He's still drawing and that makes this sketchbook even more impressive and inspiring.

Compared to his earlier book David Gentleman's London, this is smaller but it's 400-pages thick.

The sketches are loose and free. They remind me of tourist snapshots for the very candid look they present. The sketches are of the people, places and mood of the place. There are the lively shopping areas, the touristy places, peaceful parks, boats on the river, hidden streets and sights.

The sketches are arranged by month and you get to read many of David Gentleman's observation about his hometown.

It's a lovely sketchbook. Recommended to those who love sketches and London.

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

Freehand: Sketching Tips and Tricks Drawn from Art
Freehand: Sketching Tips and Tricks Drawn from Art
by Helen Birch
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 18.93
39 used & new from CDN$ 14.54

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Book of interesting drawing ideas, Nov. 2 2014
Length:: 1:25 Mins

Freehand is a book of sketching tips and techniques that invite you to experiment with them. The author Helen Birch is an artist and drawing lecturer based in UK.

There are more than a hundred ideas and techniques featured by different artists. There are doodles, collages, intricate pieces, realistic ones, illustrations and many more.

The examples are rather unconventional. I like them for the unexpected nature and surprise element. For example, some would like to draw on graph papers to make use of the grid lines and some like to wash their paper with colour before painting. There's one who draw on styrofoam cups, others create collages using paper and scissors. There are artists who talk about using subdued colour, bright colours, layered colours or even no colours such as the use of silhouettes.

Anyway, you can check out selected page previews on Amazon. And this book is available as a Kindle edition also.

Freehand is not strictly about art created traditionally. Some artists would use graphics software to touch up. There really aren't any rules, just that all the examples start off hand drawn.

At the back is a brief section on drawing fundamentals. They cover line, tones, colours and materials. It's all elementary stuff for the beginners.

This is an ideas book essentially, rather than a technical book that teaches you how to draw.

If you like doodling, sketching or drawing for fun, or looking for ideas and inspiration to get started, this is a good book to check out.

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

d'artiste Matte Painting 3
d'artiste Matte Painting 3
by David Luong
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 78.28
24 used & new from CDN$ 69.94

5.0 out of 5 stars Terrific matte painting resource, Nov. 2 2014
Length:: 1:52 Mins

Matte Painting 3 is an indispensable book that explains how beautiful and intricate matte paintings are created. It's a reference book complete with tutorials as well as an artbook with galleries of artworks.

The book has 240 pages, not 192 pages as listed on Amazon. It comes with a slip case.

In addition, there's an interesting foreword by Michael Pangrazio, one of the pioneer matte painters in the industry, and the senior art director at Weta now. He recounts the history of matte painting through his experiences and provides advice through eight pages of Q&A.

The three matte painters featured are David Luong, Damien Mace and Milan Schere. They have worked for Diablo III, StarCraft II, World of Warcraft, Game of Thrones, Avatar, Harry Potter, Sherlock Holmes, Dredd and The Three Musketeers. They are some serious industry professionals who have worked on big titles.

Each of these painters talks about their past projects, the type of software used, workflow, their inspiration and thoughts about the future. They also have to answer a rather out of place question thrown in at the end "Would you rather slay the dragon, or rescue the princess?" which I found rather amusing. Well, unlike Mario, they all chose to slay dragons. Oops. Spoiler!

There are 10 tutorials in all. The first four tutorials are landscape pieces of wide open spaces, such as forest, barren rocky wasteland, with the occasional beautiful castle, structure in the background. The next six tutorials are from Milan Schere. His tutorials are of places where people are more likely seen, e.g. container park, aerial of a town, Time Square, castles and a town. With the latter tutorials, there's more emphasis on perspective as there are more buildings and structures involved, especially in the foreground.

All the tutorials are detailed step by step walkthrough with screenshots. They show how photo references are used, and how images are blended together. There are tips on achieving realism and they discuss all the little details that make for a successful matte painting. The process is elaborate and the tutorials are very insightful.

Besides the tutorials, there are also galleries featuring lots of great matte paintings. The three painters have their own galleries and there are invited guest galleries as well. Commentary is provided by the three painters for every example.

This is a great book. Resources on matte painting techniques are not easy to find. So this makes the book very useful for those who want to learn the craft or improve their skills.

Highly recommended to matte painters and those interesting in matte painting. You probably would need to be an intermediate artist to get the best out of the tutorials.

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

Pen & Ink Drawing
Pen & Ink Drawing
by Frank J. Lohan
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 20.25
36 used & new from CDN$ 8.94

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Less technical than his earlier book, Nov. 2 2014
This review is from: Pen & Ink Drawing (Paperback)
Length:: 0:45 Mins

I've reviewed Frank Lohan's earlier book on pen and ink drawing called Pen and Ink Techniques. This book is less technical than that book.

The illustrated examples are typical pen and ink perennial favourites such as barns, bridges, farms, wooden houses, countryside, waterside, plants, animals and trees.

Frank Lohan would talk about the subjects he draws, such as places he visits and sights that catch his attention. It's followed by an explanation of how he drew, the techniques and approach he used which are fairly helpful to know.

As I've said, it's not a very technical book. It's a book where you learn by copying what you see. For example, there are many illustrated examples on different kinds of hatching. For shadowed areas, it says to go over the area to make it darker but there's no elaborate instruction on how you layer the lines, choosing the angle of the lines, distance between the lines.

This is sort of a supplement book on whatever pen and ink drawing techniques you've already known. If you're a beginner, you should probably go for more hands-on books like Pen and Ink Techniques or the more comprehensive Rendering in Pen and Ink.

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

Digital Art Masters: Volume 8
Digital Art Masters: Volume 8
by 3dtotal Publishing
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 43.21
26 used & new from CDN$ 28.08

5.0 out of 5 stars Great addition to the series, Nov. 2 2014
Length:: 1:26 Mins

This is another insightful volume for the Digital Art Masters series.

50 artists are included and each one walks you through the process on how they created their artwork. There are examples from different styles of art, such as 3D, landscape, concept art, character designs, etc. It's illuminating to see and read about how the work evolves at each step of the workflow. The artworks included as wonderful.

Siamak Roshani, winner for the Portrait (Rendered) category in EXPOSE 11, also has a tutorial here. Other notable pieces would be the one with angel and death playing cards over someone else's deathbed by Hu Zheng and the hyper realistic 3D render of Bruce Lee by Alexander Beim. There are several sci-fi themed pieces with robots, mechas, spaceships and aliens. It's very impressive showcase of work all around.

The book has 288 pages instead of the 320 that Amazon has listed wrongly.

Highly recommended to digital artists.

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

Art Fundamentals: Color, Light, Composition, Anatomy, Perspective, and Depth
Art Fundamentals: Color, Light, Composition, Anatomy, Perspective, and Depth
by Gilles Beloeil
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 49.72
44 used & new from CDN$ 42.47

4.0 out of 5 stars A book of tips on art fundamentals, Nov. 2 2014
Length:: 1:25 Mins

Art Fundamentals looks at the elements that contribute to a successful piece of art.

The fundamentals covered in the book includes light and colour, composition, perspective and depth, and anatomy.

It's written by several guest artists, among them Gilles Beloeil (Assassin's Creed), Andrei Riabovitchev (Harry Potter films), Roberto F. Castro and Matt Smith. The artists provide their own examples and commentary.

There are whole books written specifically for each of those subjects mentioned earlier. Having four in a book, I felt that the depth of coverage is sacrificed at times. So do not expect in-depth complete coverage on each subject. Think of this as a book of tips rather than a detailed practice-along instructional book.

The chapter on light and colour has 27 pages only. It's brief considering it's a huge subject - James Gurney wrote over 200 pages on the same subject in his book Color and Light. Here Gilles Beloeil uses his Assassin's Creed concept art as examples and talks about the fundamentals of lighting.

The next chapter on composition deals with the indispensable golden ratio. There are many useful composition diagrams and example paintings that highlight the importance of strong composition. The concepts are easy to grasp and the subject is sufficiently covered.

Next is perspective and depth. There are basics of 1,2 & 3-point perspectives, and vanishing points of course. What's missing are the rational behind using the different point perspectives and the placement of viewpoint positions. Coverage of depth is too brief. I would definitely recommend a dedicated book on learning perspective instead.

The chapter on anatomy has 76 pages. Emphasis is on muscle form of the body and there are many beautiful detailed illustrations of muscles of the torso, arms and leg. Other parts like head, nose, ears, expressions are briefly covered. There's mention of posing but not much.

The last two chapters are sizable galleries with accompanying commentary discussing each image. The first of the two talks about the paintings with attention to the art fundamentals covered in the book. The last chapter has contributing artists talk about their own artworks, specifically the concept behind. The work featured are contemporary paintings.

This book has useful tips and insights. But because of the limited space, each subject somewhat feels incomplete. Personally, I prefer books dedicated to single subject or aspect of drawing (I've listed some of my favourites in the comment section below).

I'll recommend this book to beginners, probably as a supplement to what you've already learned.

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

Battle Milk 3
Battle Milk 3
by James Gurney
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 28.02
26 used & new from CDN$ 28.02

5.0 out of 5 stars Gets better and better, Nov. 2 2014
This review is from: Battle Milk 3 (Paperback)
Length:: 1:12 Mins

The first volume of Battle Milk was published in 2008. Back then, it was just an 80-page book featuring four artists. Next came Battle Milk 2 with 128 pages from six artists.

Seems like the series is popular enough for a third volume. Again, pages are increased, this time to 160 pages.

There are now nine artists, namely Christian Alzmann, Justin Ridge, Matt Gaser, Pat Presley, David Le Merrer, Thang Le, Kilian Plunkett, Le Tang and Jackson Sze.

Battle Milk is a visual development art book. Each artist comes up with an idea or concept and brings that to life through visuals. Publisher Design Studio Press has published many such visual development art books.

The stories are told with art. Thang Le reveals ancient temples hidden in mountains using his landscape paintings. Christian Alzmann presents a dark tale about a florist in search for a rare flower. Le Tang creates concept art for with circus as a theme. Other ideas include a kid who flew to the moon, a sci-fi tale of another Earth, a planet trillions or years old and inhabited by robots, a world with mythical creatures, weird photos from "Little Shutter Boy" and a dreamscape world.

The illustrations are beautiful. Oddly enough, most of the stories use more of dark and muted colours. Each artist also talks about their creative process.

Volume 3 is the best yet with more artists and work to admire.

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

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