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Parka (Singapore)
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Impeccable Scene Design for Game, Animation and Film: Scene Design Course
Impeccable Scene Design for Game, Animation and Film: Scene Design Course
by Weiye Yin
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 33.83
9 used & new from CDN$ 26.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Good resource to scene and background design, Dec 21 2011
Length:: 1:05 Mins

Weiye Yin is a concept artist with over ten years of experience. He draws a variety of subjects but this book focuses on scene design, creating believable backgrounds that serve as a backdrop for stories in games and films.

The book is split into three parts. First is the introduction to scene design and how it differs from just painting background art. Second part looks at the principles and procedures. Third is a collection of demonstrations that look at how a few scenes are developed, namely Landscape, Environment, Urban Architecture, Atmosphere and Still Life.

It is a good introductory guide to scene design. You get tips on dealing with composition, lighting, colours, adding details, effects, doing drafts and even on dealing with clients.

The step-by-step demonstrations talks in depth about the conceptualization process, the considerations when handling different types of projects. Two of the case studies presents some tips on using 3DS Max for scene designs. Most, if not all, the examples are digital paintings, some with the use of 3D software.

It's more recommended to intermediate and advanced artist who already know the basics of painting and want to apply that knowledge to a different field.

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

The Dynamite Art of Alex Ross HC
The Dynamite Art of Alex Ross HC
by Alex Ross
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 26.30
23 used & new from CDN$ 20.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Alex Ross with a new cast of characters, Dec 17 2011
Length:: 1:38 Mins

Alex Ross' third art book has as much impact as Mythology and Rough Justice. However, it's a little different from those two books.

It features art for the lesser known superheroes (to me) from Dynamite. Most of the characters are new to me, like those from Project Superpowers, Kirby: Genesis. There's also The Torch, Bionic Man, Green Hornet, Flash Gordon Zeitgeist, The Shadow and even Voltron (yes, that Voltron). There are sketches, designs, layouts, pencils, panels and plenty of covers.

Having gotten used to seeing DC superheroes like Superman and Batman from Alex Ross, I wasn't expecting a whole new cast of characters in the book. The art for Kirby: Genesis is quite radical with the wild costumes and unfamiliar colour palette.

The bulk of the book features completely new art so there's no duplication with the earlier art books. This one's a 328-page hardcover. Many illustrations come with short commentary from Alex Ross. The art is fantastic, very typical of Alex Ross' style of realism and lighting.

This is another impressive art book for those who can't get enough of Alex Ross.

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

Overkill: The Art of Tomer Hanuka
Overkill: The Art of Tomer Hanuka
by Tomer Hanuka
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 33.95
21 used & new from CDN$ 29.50

5.0 out of 5 stars Arresting illustrations of Tomer Haunka, Dec 15 2011
Length:: 0:57 Mins

Tomer Hanuka was born in Israel, studied art and lives in USA.

It's hard to miss the bright pink clothed cover on any bookshelf. The book is a large format 104-page hardcover. Overkill collects mainly his commercial works with a handful of personal pieces. He has done work for Playboy magazine so there are some sex themed illustrations included.

His illustrations are highly imaginative, at times psychedelic. Most revolve around dark subject matter. The first illustration in the book shows an old baby something being born out of someone's mouth.

Many of his work feature strong juxtaposition, either through imagery or the use of colours. His colour palette is quite arresting, particularly for pieces that use strong complementary colours. He doesn't use much gradient for his colours so they look very manga style. I had actually thought he was a Japanese artist because of his colouring. And his composition is masterful.

Also available is a limited edition of the book with a slipcase and an A4 print of a girl with a giant lizard. You can get that at Upperplayground website.

This is a great art book. You can check out more work on his website.

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

Drawing & Painting Buildings
Drawing & Painting Buildings
by Richard Taylor
Edition: Paperback
12 used & new from CDN$ 14.95

4.0 out of 5 stars Useful guide, Dec 14 2011
Length:: 1:02 Mins

I bought this book to help with my outdoor sketches.

The book is roughly divided into three parts. The first talks about the materials. The examples featured mainly uses pencils, ink and watercolour. The second part looks at drawing small subjects like bricks, tiling, textures. The last part explores various building styles.

The coverage on perspective is very basic. There are the usual 1, 2 and 3 point perspective all covered in 6 pages. I was expecting more from a book on buildings. There aren't any tips on dealing with tricky perspective, like drawing buildings with vanishing points off the paper.

There are plenty of drawing tips accompanying the examples. Those are helpful and the techniques are easy to follow.

The downside of the book is it doesn't teach you how to observe proportions, and the examples are mostly on observational drawings. Those with basic drawing knowledge would gain more from this book.

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

Ar Tonelico Visual Book
Ar Tonelico Visual Book
by Hirokazu Hamamura
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 24.91
24 used & new from CDN$ 24.91

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For the Ar Tonelico fans, Dec 13 2011
Length:: 1:08 Mins

The Ar Tonelico Visual Book is the English edition of the Japanese one released in 2010. So Udon has been quite fast in bringing this Englished translated edition out.

It collects artwork from the three game series including Ar tonelico, Ar tonelico II and Ar tonelico Qoga. This is the first time I've heard of the game and seen its artwork. The content inside are arranged into three chapters for the splash art, character designs and the interview.

The art is beautiful. The character designs come with the character profiles. The designs are the finished versions so there aren't any concept sketches. There are plenty of characters and they are drawn in very typical Japanese style, in this case I think it's more towards the Shoujo manga style except with more elaborate fantasy costumes. There are also costume designs for the female characters at different levels.

The background artworks are great but many pieces are packed into a 2-page spread that appears before the chapters. So each piece is rather small.

The lengthy interview at the back is with producer Astunori Kawachi and director Akira Tsuchiya. They talk about the concept of the story, the game and the music.

The binding of the book looks alright, the glue not very flexible so I would recommend caution as with other paperback artbooks published by Udon.

Because of the style of the art, this book should appeal more to fans of the game.

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

Where They Create
Where They Create
by Alexandra Onderwater
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 34.62
21 used & new from CDN$ 33.97

5.0 out of 5 stars Captivating and wonderful, Dec 6 2011
This review is from: Where They Create (Hardcover)
Length:: 1:21 Mins

I love looking at workspace of other artists, designers and creators. There's something intimate about people and their workspace.

Where They Create is a large 288-page hardcover book. On the cover is pasted a photo of a workspace, and each book would feature a different photo. The copy I have has a cat sleeping on a desk.

This is a wonderful book that invites us to these places, the offices, studios or even workshops. The idea of this book actually came from a blog by the same name. In this book, 32 studios are selected to be featured.

The pages are filled with beautiful photos taken by Paul Barbera. The photos together with the interviews are nicely laid out in a way to reflect the random nature of the workspace featured.

Each photo reveals the nature of the work that's being done, and the people working there. You can see what strange items that sit on shelves or pasted to walls, the furniture in the rooms, the kitchen, the people and the atmosphere of the workspace. Looking at them reminds me of those beautifully composed Ikea showroom photos, except here they are filled with life.

This is a captivating book. There's a sense of fascination when looking at the photos. Highly recommended.

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

Portraits of the Prairie: The Land that Inspired Willa Cather
Portraits of the Prairie: The Land that Inspired Willa Cather
by Richard Schilling
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 32.73
30 used & new from CDN$ 31.60

5.0 out of 5 stars Beauty in art and prose, Nov. 28 2011
Length:: 1:22 Mins

I found this book while looking for other books from Richard Shilling. I had reviewed his earlier watercolour instructional art book Watercolor Journeys: Create Your Own Travel Sketchbook which I like.

In Portraits of the Prairie, he goes to Webster County, Nebraska, where American novelist Willa Cather spent her childhood and found inspiration for her stories. Cather's elegant prose provides the starting point for Schilling to recreate what the writer might have seen. Schilling also provides short commentary on the places he visited, and sometimes on his watercolour paintings.

The art is gorgeous. The essence of the American prairie is wonderfully captured, together with the creeks, dusty roads, houses and buildings, the clouds and sky.

This is a beautiful book. The text and art work well together. Those familiar with Carther's stories will probably get more insight and appreciation.

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

Mélange [nouvelle édition]
Mélange [nouvelle édition]
by Dean Yeagle
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 26.33
34 used & new from CDN$ 26.33

5.0 out of 5 stars Great book for those into character designs and pin-up art, Nov. 19 2011
Length:: 1:05 Mins

It appears that there was an earlier edition of Melange before this. There's a "+32 pages" sticker pasted on the cover for this edition published by Akileos. The book's a 160-page hardcover.

Dean Yeagle is a cartoonist and character designer with background in animation. This book collects his diverse character designs, nude female figure drawings, pin-ups and his Playboy cartoons with some unused roughs.

The art and characters are beautiful. About half the book is on the character Mandy, a playful busty blonde - she's on the cover with her dog. Even the Playboy cartoons are amusing, and I can't say the same for other artists.

It's a great book for those into character designs and pin-up art.

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

Adventurous Watercolours
Adventurous Watercolours
by Jenny Wheatley
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 21.39
16 used & new from CDN$ 20.53

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Too adventurous?, Nov. 15 2011
Length:: 1:26 Mins

The watercolour art shown in the book isn't the usual watercolour style. If there's traditional and non-traditional style, she would belong to very non-traditional. Her style is more towards to the experimental side, especially her techniques.

Jenny Wheatley doesn't claim to be a purist. Her work in watercolour doesn't follow the conventional approach. She often combines watercolour with other media, like gouache or even collage. She even gives her style a name called mark-making which is unnecessary.

There really isn't any particular piece in the book that really catches my eye. Even if it grabs my attention, it's often for the wrong reasons. The collage with paper cutouts don't work well with watercolour. Her glazing has the effect of looking like crayons sometimes. She doesn't follow any particular colour theory when colouring so colours can be a bit chaotic at times. There are no white space in her paintings, not that it's a bad thing, but I'm saying that to emphasis the non-traditional nature of her work.

Much of her art are created on location and from reference, but with her style, they sort of lose the presence of the place.

Even if you want to try out more experimental watercolour techniques, I'll recommend that you should look at the pages before buying the book, or at least check out her website to get an idea of what to expect.

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

Zero: JM Ken Niimura Illustrations TP
Zero: JM Ken Niimura Illustrations TP
by J. M. Ken Nimura
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 10.94
22 used & new from CDN$ 8.27

5.0 out of 5 stars Charming illustrations, Nov. 14 2011
Length:: 0:49 Mins

ZERO is a 96-page paperback size art book that collects the beautiful illustrations of JM Ken Niimura. There are personal works as well as work for events, magazines and other publication. All from 2007-2009.

The book is published by Image Comics and they have given it some special but simple treatment. There are circular holes cut out from the front and back cover to review portions of art behind them.

Much of the illustrations featured are in manga style, with strong colours and dynamic poses. I like his use of colours which are predominantly red and green, and their close tints. He makes the colours work well against one another. Besides the manga style, there are also more cartoon-like drawings with more simple and loose strokes.

At the back of the book are some nude figure drawings of a slender lady with long hair. I love their poses. The compositions are particularly nice, and that can be said about the other pieces.

It's a charming art book. I wish there were more art but it's certainly worth the money.

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

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