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Parka (Singapore)
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Atelier: Artworks of Arland
Atelier: Artworks of Arland
by Gust
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 35.43
29 used & new from CDN$ 28.12

5.0 out of 5 stars For the fans, Oct. 7 2014
Length:: 1:03 Mins

Here's another Atelier series artbook translated by Udon. The original Japanese edition was published in 2011. The Japanese edition has pretty favorable reviews. Udon also did a great job with the English edition.

The book's is a paperback with 256 thick pages. Binding seems good enough for a book this thick.

Arland is a sub-series of the Atelier series. This book features the three game titles Atelier Rorona: The Alchemists of Arland, Atelier Totori: The Adventurer of Arland and Atelier Meruru: The Apprentice of Arland

Those three are the 11th to 13 game titles with the Atelier series -- already?!

Mel Kishida is the character designer for these three games. The pages are fill with full page illustrations, character designs, storyboards of cut scenes, pin-ups and sketches. These are Japanese style characters with strong shoujo influence. There are lots of female characters with their fancy dresses and generous use of pastel colours. The illustrations are beautiful with details. The costume designs are rendered really nice.

There's not much text except for the short notes beside sketches.

If you like the games and art, this is the book to get.

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

An Illustrated Journey: Inspiration From the Private Art Journals of Traveling Artists, Illustrators and Designers
An Illustrated Journey: Inspiration From the Private Art Journals of Traveling Artists, Illustrators and Designers
by Danny Gregory
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 16.29
69 used & new from CDN$ 15.03

5.0 out of 5 stars Sketches have the charm, Oct. 7 2014
Length:: 1:25 Mins

An Illustrated Journey is a delightful collection of travel sketches from 40 contributors all over the world. They draw on location, they record their thoughts, and they share their stories in this book. The presentation style is similar to Danny Gregory's previous book An Illustrated Life, a book that I still refer to regularly.

This book is somewhat similar to The Art of Urban Sketching. The sketches are all done on location. In this book however, the focus is on the contributors themselves and their thoughts on places and sketching while traveling. The writeup is longer with more depth and you really get to feel their love for sketching.

I really enjoy looking at the beautiful sketches and reading the scribbled notes on the pages. Sketches have the charm and personalities that can't be found from photographs. I guess that's why I love sketchbooks so much.

This is an inspiring sketchbook for travel and art lovers. It's definitely one of my favourite books for 2013.

Highly recommended.

The artists featured are:
Ken Avidor
Roberta Avidor
Chris Buchholz
Suzanne Cabrera
Lisa Cheney-Jorgensen
Fabio Consoli
Jean-Christophe Defline
Benedetta Dossi
Bob Fisher
Enrique Flores
Will Freeborn
Carol Gillott
Virginia Hein
Miguel "Freekhand" Herranz
Hannah Hinchman
Kathrin Jebsen-Marwedel
Nina Johansson
Cathy Johnson
Andrea Joseph
Tommy Kane
Stephane Kardos
Amanda Kavanagh
Ch'ng Kiah Kiean
Kirk Kolby
Olivier Kugler
Lapin
Veronica Lawlor
Don Low
Prashant Miranda
Steven B. Reddy
Melaine Reim
Lucinda Rogers
Felix Scheinberger
Pete Scully
Richard Sheppard
Suhita Shirodkar
Ian Sidaway
Liz Steel
Roz Stendahl
Brenda Swenson
Asnee Tasnaruangrong
Earnest Ward
Bryce Wymer

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I wanted to recommend a few more travel related sketchbooks but realize that there are too many. So instead, I'll post a link to the list on my blog in the comments section below.

Frankenweenie: The Visual Companion (Featuring the motion picture directed by Tim Burton)
Frankenweenie: The Visual Companion (Featuring the motion picture directed by Tim Burton)
by Mark Salisbury
Edition: Hardcover
12 used & new from CDN$ 112.59

5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful visual companion, Oct. 7 2014
Length:: 1:21 Mins

Here's the movie companion for Tim Burton's charming stop motion film Frankenweenie. It was originally a short film conceived in the early 80s and made in 1984. The 2012 film is a charming remake of that short film.

This is a large coffee table book with a matte cover with movie title in gloss. It's 208 pages.

The book is filled with concept art, storyboards, interviews and photos behind the scenes. Among the development art, there are even sketches by Tim Burton from 1982 of his short film. It's interesting to see the original Sparky the dog in sketch and his final stop motion figure. Included, of course, is the history of the original short film.

The art and photos are printed huge. They look great, especially the photos of the stop motion figures. The character designs are stylish and they really make full use of the medium for caricature to create characters of all shapes and sizes and facial expressions. There are photos of character sculpts and their armature beneath. I love looking at studio photos just to see the working environment, how they create the characters and sets, and the overall organised chaos of a production set.

This is a wonderful visual companion for the film.

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

The Art of Dead Space
The Art of Dead Space
by Martin Robinson
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 25.71
38 used & new from CDN$ 25.71

5.0 out of 5 stars An intriguing and horrific world, Oct. 7 2014
This review is from: The Art of Dead Space (Hardcover)
The Art of Dead Space is a wonderful concept art book for the chilling game series. It has 192 pages and a hardcover with a nice matte surface going on.

The book collects art from all the three games so far. Squeezing three games into 192 pages means that some artworks could not be included. So at times, I was thinking,"Shouldn't there be a bit more of this and that?" Having said that, this artbook is as good as it can get. It's great actually.

All pages are filled with huge detailed concept art of the characters, creatures, vehicles, spacecrafts and environments. The content covers Isaac, Ishimura, Machinery (all the hardware and stuff), Marker, Necromorphs, The Sprawl, New Horizons Colony, Tau Volantis.

The painted art are gorgeous. Creature designs are awesome. You can feel the grit of the world and the chilling sensation from the grotesque creatures. There are many what-the-hell-happened-here interior art, dying space stations and haunting locations. The art direction really nailed down the look and feel of this intriguing yet horrific world.

This is fantastic video game artbook for fans of the Dead Space, sci-fi art and creature design. Highly recommended.

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

Little Big Books: Illustrations for <br>Children's Picture Books
Little Big Books: Illustrations for
Children's Picture Books
by R. Klanten
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 37.62
29 used & new from CDN$ 37.62

5.0 out of 5 stars Fun, playful and diverse, Oct. 7 2014
Length:: 1:22 Mins

Little Big Books is a wonderful collection of work from 100 illustrators and creators of children picture books. That's 240 pages in this big beautiful hardcover book.

The illustrations are fun, playful and diverse. There's an appealing childlike simplicity to them. Each illustrator has a profile and there are five interviews talking about the psychology of children picture books, awards, and advice on publishing rights and licensing.

It's a great book for children book illustrators and those looking for inspiration on drawing for children.

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

Prime: The Definitive Digital Art Collection
Prime: The Definitive Digital Art Collection
by 3dtotal Publishing
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 50.75
22 used & new from CDN$ 50.75

5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning collection, Oct. 7 2014
Length:: 1:31 Mins

Prime: The Definitive Digital Art Collection is an interesting publication from 3DTotal Publishing for its format.

Housed inside a large slipcase are five art books each covering a particular subject namely, Cartoons, Characters, Fantasy, Scenes and Sci-Fi. Each book is 80 pages, which makes the set 400 pages in total. The semi-gloss print quality is as good as other 3DTotal books.

The book is somewhat similar to the EXPOSE series from Ballistic Publishing. Instead of having that many categories, here we concentrate on five.

Each art book is a collection of wonderful art from artists all over the world. In Cartoons, you have humorous rendition of characters and scenes in either digital paintings or 3D models. In Characters, it's more serious with properly proportioned characters in either realistic and stylistic manner. Then there are Fantasy and Sci-Fi with breathtaking concept art of worlds realised. The environment paintings are amazing. In Scenes, there are even more environment art but focus on reality rather than fantasy and sci-fi. There are interiors, streets, buildings and cityscape.

The art pieces are stunning. The ideas and execution makes this an inspiring set to go through. All artists also have their contact and website provided.

Highly recommended to fans of digital art.

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

The Art of Deception: Illusions to Challenge the Eye and the Mind
The Art of Deception: Illusions to Challenge the Eye and the Mind
by Brad Honeycutt
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 21.56
21 used & new from CDN$ 18.46

5.0 out of 5 stars More tricks to fool your eye, Oct. 7 2014
The Art of Deception is wonderful book of optical illusions and artworks curated by optical illusion enthusiast Brad Honeycutt. I've also reviewed the author's previous book The Art of the Illusion which I enjoyed as well.

The book's 224 pages, hardcover, and uses nice thick paper. 200 images are included.

The artworks featured are a mixture of paintings, photographs, occasional sculptures, 3D chalk painting and other creations. Some of the more prominent artists included are Erik Johansson, Ben Heine, Oscar Reutersvard, Tracy Lee Stum, Vladimir Kush, Rob Gonsalves and Bev Doolittle, to Istvan Orosz, John Langdon, Scott Kim and more.

I had fun going through the work, marvelling at the creativity involved in the conception and creation. There are simple optical illusions made of just line drawings to complicated staged photographs. Some pages have me staring at them for minutes trying to figure out the illusions involved or trying to see the images in a way to reveal other hidden images, e.g. finding an image in a painting of repeated patterns.

There is a lot of creativity involved and this is one book that will delight those who like images that play tricks on your eyes.

The author has a blog called An Optical Illusion where you can even check out more illusions.

Singapore Sketchbook
Singapore Sketchbook
by Gretchen Liu
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 32.49
29 used & new from CDN$ 3.74

5.0 out of 5 stars Nostaglic, Oct. 2 2014
This review is from: Singapore Sketchbook (Hardcover)
Length:: 0:55 Mins

This is the second edition of Singapore Sketchbook. The first was published in 1995 and the second was in 2001. I like this book more than the Oxford Sketchbook and London Sketchbook, both also by Graham Byfield. It could be I'm biased since I live in Singapore.

Featured in the sketchbook are the watercolour paintings capturing the older streets and buildings of Singapore. These are buildings of shophouses, houses and colonial buildings from the past, some dating to before World War II. For me, it's nostalgic looking at the buildings, some of which have undergone restorations. Many, if not all, the buildings in the book are still around.

There are captions for all the paintings the describe the sights and scenes.

I wanted to point out the publication dates earlier because this book only presents one side of Singapore, that from the past. Singapore has been developing at a tremendous rate for the last 10 years. You don't see the modern side which are represented by the high-rise housing blocks, glass covered offices, and the many recent attractions added, such as the Singapore Flyer, Marina Bay Sands and the new Financial Centre, Gardens by the Bay, Sentosa and many more. Perhaps there is a need for a updated and expanded edition.

Overall, it's a beautiful sketchbook recommended to watercolour and sketchbook lovers.

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

An Artist's Journey to Bali: The Island of Art, Magic and Mystery
An Artist's Journey to Bali: The Island of Art, Magic and Mystery
by Betty Reynolds
Edition: Hardcover
25 used & new from CDN$ 0.49

5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, Oct. 2 2014
Length:: 0:27 Mins

Here's Betty Reynold's of Bali. She's a consultant and art director who travels and draws a lot. You might have seen her other sketchbooks on Japan.

An Artist's Journey to Bali is a travelogue sketchbook that captures the culture and life on the Indonesian island of Bali.

The wonderful watercolour paintings highlight the interesting places and sights, such as the festivals, temples, performances, customs, food, people and the flora. All paintings come with description that are informative and fun to read. At the end of the book, you'll know a lot more about Bali.

Nice book for those who like sketchbooks and travelogues.

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

Sketch Workshop: Anatomy
Sketch Workshop: Anatomy
by 3dtotal Publishing
Edition: Spiral-bound
Price: CDN$ 11.51
29 used & new from CDN$ 5.84

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not comprehensive but a nice drawing guide, Oct. 1 2014
Length:: 1:26 Mins

The Sketch Workshop series from 3DTotal Publishing is the result of a successful Kickstarter campaign they launched in 2013. This particular book is actually part of a set of 5 books covering different subjects, namely anatomy, characters, creatures, cityscapes and robots & spaceships. In that Kickstarter campaign, the 5 books come in a leather-style folder. For those who did not back the project, 3DTotal has also made the books available separately at a more affordable price.

The books are spiral-bound vertical format workbooks. Each one features a few instructors and has 48 pages.

This particular book that covers Anatomy features instructors Ryan Lee, Ron Lemen and Matt Smith. They are all accomplished artists and you can tell from their art in this book and the portfolio on their websites.

For a book that has only 48 pages, it's not meant to be comprehensive. So the book instead covers only selected anatomy related areas. The chapters in the book includes:

- Learn to draw a male portrait
- Grasp the anatomy of hands
- Learn to capture expressions
- Draw a complete figure in a pose

Yeah. Just those four areas.

As the book is spiral and in vertical format, the tutorials are laid out in such a way that, when the book is on the table, the instructions appear at the top page and the drawing templates are at the bottom page. It's a smart design that lets you draw on the bottom page while at the same time allowing you to refer to the instructions.

There are many useful drawing tips throughout. Since you're expected to copy what you see, you can get a good idea of your progress by comparing it with the examples. The drawing templates are actually just faint outlines of the illustrated examples. Sometimes you'll be told to draw in the details, and sometimes to practice shading and lighting. If you run out of templates or space on the book to draw, you can download additional templates to print out at 3DTotal Publishing's website.

It's not a comprehensive book. But for the subjects that are taught, they are taught well. Considering the affordable price, it's a good deal. It's a fun hands-on book on learning.

I wish there could be more pages of content though.

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

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