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Parka (Singapore)
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Burning inside
Burning inside
by Jean-Sébastien Rossbach
Edition: Hardcover
5 used & new from CDN$ 78.84

5.0 out of 5 stars Heavy on fantasy art, Oct. 13 2014
This review is from: Burning inside (Hardcover)
Length:: 1:27 Mins

Burning Inside is a 192-page hardcover artbook collecting ten years worth of work from the French artist Jean-Sebastien Rossbach (DeviantArt).

The book is heavy on fantasy art, primarily the characters. Included are his personal artworks and also those he did for titles such as Punisher, Magic the Gathering, World of Craft and for other clients.

The art is beautiful. It has a painterly feel that doesn't smack of digital painting. There are nice textures and details going across the canvas. There are warriors carrying their long blades, barbarians with axes, pirates, magical creatures, portraiture inspired contemporary art, pin-up posters of a personal fictional character Cheree Furiosa. Even the few pieces of sci-fi art have the fantasy feel because of his style and lighting.

There's not much text except the occasional commentary that's in both French and English.

It's a book to look out for if you like fantasy art.

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

Art of Mathieu laufray - Axis Mundi
Art of Mathieu laufray - Axis Mundi
by Mathieu Lauffray
Edition: Album
Price: CDN$ 56.66
15 used & new from CDN$ 56.66

5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic art book, Oct. 13 2014
Length:: 1:30 Mins

Axis Mundi is the artbook of the talented Mathieu Lauffray. He's an illustrator, comic artist, concept designer and storyteller. You'll see the various work he has in the book.

It's a 240-page hardcover. There's quite a bit of text but they are in French only. I see several names so they should be interviews by other artists on Mathieu Lauffray and the projects.

Axis Mundi, in mythology, is the world centre or the connection between Heaven and Earth.

Featured in the book are work from films such as The Tall Man, Saint Ange, Warner Bros' 10,000 B.C., Lord of the Apes (cancelled) and comics such as Prophet and Long John Silver and Chroniques De Legion.

The art is fantastic. The environment art for 10,000 BC and Lord of the Apes are wonderful. This guy can really paint and design. Mathieu Lauffray has a very nice style for comic art as well with the strong blacks and textured line art. Very bold and striking. There are several comic panels and rough sketches included. The art pieces are printed satisfyingly large.

Even if you can't read French, it's still a highly recommended artbook.

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

Corpus delicti
Corpus delicti
by Serge Birault
Edition: Hardcover
11 used & new from CDN$ 66.32

5.0 out of 5 stars Delicious pin-up artbook from Serge Birault, Oct. 13 2014
This review is from: Corpus delicti (Hardcover)
Length:: 1:04 Mins

Corpus delicti. That's the latin phrase for body of crime, a principle that crime must be proven before a person can be convicted of committing that crime. The choice for the title wasn't explained in the book and I can't make sense of it.

This is a delicious book. The lady you see on the cover is actually Serge Birault's girlfriend. She's detaining the octopus, and judging from the HUMAN SUSHIS hat it's wearing, it's probably cooking something foul. And, she forgot to remove the chopper from its tentacles -- she must be a new cop. This must be linked to the book title somehow.

Serge Birault's illustrations are wonderful. They are cartoons usually, but they have amazing realism with hints of caricature. The characters look real, feel real. I love the expressions on the faces of all the pin-up girls. Yes, it's a pin-up book with lots of beautiful girls with the occasional tentacles.

Serge Birault is a French artist trained in classic painting but now paints digitally with a flair. This guy is all for the details. He can use up to 1000 layers in Photoshop -- who even keeps track of the number of layers, and count them!?

Also included are some more experimental portraits which he calls doodles. I love the pencils sketches too.

Right at the end he talks about his process of painting. There are step by step pictures but it's not really technical talk, just the challenges of creating realism and some drawing tips.

It's a great artbook. 144 pages. Hardcover. Large. If you like pin-ups, you'll love this.

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

The Art of the Croods
The Art of the Croods
by Noela Hueso
Edition: Hardcover
25 used & new from CDN$ 28.15

5.0 out of 5 stars A luscious visual treat, Oct. 9 2014
This review is from: The Art of the Croods (Hardcover)
Length:: 1:26 Mins

The Art of the Croods is one of my top favourite artbooks for this year.

Every page is a luscious display of gorgeous art. There are plenty of fun and wonderful character designs and sketches. The environment art are filled with inviting colours covering exotic locations. You know that heightened sense of awareness you get when you're traveling overseas? I feel a bit like that just from looking at the background art. It's a beautiful colourful world.

Creature designs are real fun and you get to see the many different ways of creating cute. There are a lot of cross species mix and match which somehow reminds me of creatures from Avatar The Last Airbender but the style here is much different. And there are the flora designs of all the places in the movie. There are a lot of details to take in.

Chris Sander's on board as director but you won't see much of his art. However, you'll see art from Carter Goodrich, Dominique Louis, Shane Prigmore, Christophe Lautrette and many other talented artists. The art director is Paul Duncan. The art team is amazing.

This book is a treat to the visual senses.

Highly recommended.

Do not miss out on this.

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

Tomb Raider: The Art of Survival
Tomb Raider: The Art of Survival
by BradyGames
Edition: Paperback
8 used & new from CDN$ 197.96

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The place where it all began for Lara, Oct. 9 2014
Length:: 1:26 Mins

This book is thicker than I expected. I know it's 272 pages from the description but it's really quick thick with the heavy paper stock.

Tomb Raider. Ah. I've always wanted to have a Tomb Raider artbook. Love the environments. This book is filled with wonderful concept art of the characters and environments. Surprising, or maybe not, about 80 percent of the book are on the environments.

Looking at the environment art, it reminded me instantly of Uncharted 2's artbook, except here it's much darker to suit the mood of the game. The colours are muted, the world is harsh, bleak, and the sun doesn't shine through much. There are art for the forests, villages, worn down buildings, monasteries and a bit on ship Endurance.

The art is great. You get a good sense of this exotic, mysterious and weather battered island. It really makes you wonder who lived there.

It's a wonderful companion artbook to the game. Highly recommended.

If you like this type of art, definitely check out The Art of Uncharted 2: Among Thieves also.

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

UDON's Art of Capcom: Complete Edition
UDON's Art of Capcom: Complete Edition
by Udon
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 62.66
22 used & new from CDN$ 62.66

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Udon's biggest artbook ever, Oct. 9 2014
UDON's Art of Capcom: Complete Edition is quite an artbook to behold. This is the largest artbook ever from Udon at 600 pages. Very impressive indeed.

The first thing to note is this is actually the compilation of two earlier artbooks from Udon, namely Udon's Art of Capcom (304 pages) released in 2007 and UDON's Art of Capcom 2 (284 pages) released in 2010. So if you have those two artbooks, you're going to see mostly duplicated artworks, and hence it's not going to be worth buying it again. If you don't have those two artbooks, then this is a great collection to get into Capcom art.

Unlike most of Udon's artbooks, this is a hardcover edition. The cover art is beautiful. Binding is great for a book this thick. The book looks and feels great overall. However, I feel that the paper is slightly thinner but not really a major issue. The reproduction quality is still top notch with good colours and sharpness.

The content in the book are arranged by the games, namely Street Fighter (342 pages), Darkstalkers (64 pages), Rival Schools (22 pages), World of Capcom (48 pages) and other game projects (119 pages). The edge of the pages are colour coded to these five sections.

The last section on other game projects is actually also based on the main games such as Street Fighter, Darkstalkers etc. The main difference is here the artworks aren't splash art pages but miscellaneous art like game sprites, ending cut scenes, environment art for the stages, comic panels based off the games, and other stuff.

So what's new?

Well, the new artworks are the ones created after 2010 when UDON's Art of Capcom 2 came out. It can be difficult to spot the new ones because artworks in the books are credited with the artist names and purpose but the year is usually left out. But from the few I know are new, they are the box art for Marvel vs Capcom 3 Collector's Edition, cover art for the hardcover limited editions artbooks, Marvel vs Capcom 2 promo art and storyboards, and a handful of others.

All in all, this is an amazing artbook. The art is fantastic and it's definitely value for money. Highly recommended.

If you're shipping this book out of USA, watch out for the additional weight surcharge just before you confirm your purchase. For overseas buyers, you might want to compare prices with your local bookstore and consider getting it locally, or get it from Book Depository where the shipping cost is included in the price.

Beyond the Page
Beyond the Page
by Quentin Blake
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 37.00
20 used & new from CDN$ 31.82

5.0 out of 5 stars Quentin Blake's work after year 2000, Oct. 7 2014
This review is from: Beyond the Page (Hardcover)
Length:: 1:21 Mins

Before this book, there was another one called Words and Pictures which collected Quentin Blake's illustrations from the previous fifty years. That book was published in 2001.

This new book Beyond the Page looks at his work from year 2000 onwards. As the title subtly suggests, it features work that does not just appear in on the page.

While Quentin Blake continues to illustrate books, he also has many projects and many bring his work to places such as galleries, museums, hospitals and other public spaces. That's the focus of this book. He writes in first account of the stories behind these projects.

It's interesting to read and see the other side of him. Many of the illustrations included have his distinctive style, but there are also many drawings that you won't see, especially in children books. There are sketches, work he did for reading campaigns, and even nude drawings, for hospitals.

Since the book focuses on work from 2000 onwards, there's mention of his earlier works only when he has to provide new art for updated editions of books, such as those for Roald Dahl.

So if you want to find out what Quentin Blake has been up to the last ten years, get this book.

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

Fringe: September's Notebook
Fringe: September's Notebook
by Tara Bennett
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 42.74
26 used & new from CDN$ 31.66

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent companion to Fringe, Oct. 7 2014
Length:: 1:26 Mins

This is an incredible book for all fans of Fringe. I'm one, and I'm thrilled by it.

It's put together and presented in beautiful scrapbook style. Included are insets, removable items, posters. The book edges have navigation tabs coming out like those you case files you normally see on TV. Full marks for presentation.

In terms of content, this book is packed with an amazing amount of information and pictures.

The book covers in detail both the universes and the other timeline. You have Walter's history, stories about Peter's illness that leads to the crossing of the universe, Cortexiphan Trails, Massive Dynamic and their secret projects, Fringe division and all their agents and the cases they have worked on. That's just for the original universe.

In the later sections of the book, it looks at all the differences between the universes and timelines. So you have Walter(nate) and all the Fringe doubles from the alternate universe.

There's a lot to read. It's a good recap as the events are presented in more linear and hence clearer. You'll also get some insight because September's observations can be found in little blue notes all over the book. These are stuff you don't get from just watching the show, and there are many other nuggets of information.

The pictures are great, and there are loads of them. There are the strange symbols from the opening credits, photos of the past Observers caught on camera, characters, news articles, graphics from the other universe, props, the time machine, gory pictures from cases, and more!

It's a pretty comprehensive companion to the show.

Highly recommended.

All Fringe fans should have this book.

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

The Art of Oz The Great and Powerful
The Art of Oz The Great and Powerful
by Grant Curtis
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 40.00
19 used & new from CDN$ 13.50

4.0 out of 5 stars More like a visual companion than artbook, Oct. 7 2014
Length:: 1:25 Mins

The Art of Oz The Great and Powerful is more of a visual companion to the movie rather than an artbook. As an artbook, it falls short but as a visual companion it's wonderful.

The selected artworks included are mainly the concept art for the environment, basically the forests, China land and castles. There aren't a lot of artwork so it's disappointing, but of those included they are beautiful. I was expecting more artwork since the backdrop for the film is mainly computer generated. Surely there would be a lot more artworks to reference from. The magical land of Oz is also a highlight so the book feels lacking when it comes to showing how it's actually created.

Other pictures in the book are the indoor photos of the set, actors and behind the scenes.

The writeup is from Grant Curtis who has produced Sam Raimi's last six project. He also wrote The Spider-man Chronicles which is a book I like very much for the incredibly detailed production diary.

The Oz book covers in detail the production process, stuff like building the sets, integrating with computer graphics, creating the costumes, and more. They would talk about their references, such as getting inspiration for trees from the old Disney animated movies. Another interesting part is on how they manage to bring the China girl to life using a mixture of old school puppetry and computer graphics.

My other quibble is the book's spine. It doesn't seem strong enough for this 256-page paperback. Mine is showing signs of creasing on the spine.

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

Takehito Harada Art Works
Takehito Harada Art Works
by Takehito Harada
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 31.63
24 used & new from CDN$ 31.63

5.0 out of 5 stars Filled with colourful characters, Oct. 7 2014
Length:: 1:06 Mins

This 208-page artbook features Takehito Harada's artworks from Disgaea, Prinny 1 & 2, Makai Kingdom and Phantom Brave. Almost all the art you'll see are character art from those video game titles.

If you're a fan of Disgaea or Takehito Harada, you may know or have the earlier artbook called DISGAEArt!!! Disgaea Official Illustration Collection, also translated and published by Udon. So yes, there are some duplicated Disgaea art in this book which has half of it dedicated to Disgaea. But there are some new Disgaea art too.

The multitude of characters is amazing. The pages are filled with pretty huge splash art of Takehito Harada's Japanese style of characters with their candy-like colours.

Many of the artworks have step-by-step images of the drawing process, from the sketches to colouring stage, showing how a complicated scene of characters are put together, slowly. The rather short commentary appear at the back of the book.

It's a terrific artbook. If you already have the Disgaea artbook, it might still worth a buy.

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

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