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Parka (Singapore)
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The Art of Inside Out
The Art of Inside Out
by Amy Poehler
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 34.53
37 used & new from CDN$ 31.30

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Mixed bag of emotions, June 11 2015
This review is from: The Art of Inside Out (Hardcover)
Length:: 1:56 Mins

Unlike other Pixar films, Inside Out deals with something rather abstract like emotions. So how do you use art to represent that. Well, you get to see just that in this artbook.

The book collects the concept art for the film. There are sketches and coloured illustrations of the characters, places and fantasy landscapes. The artworks are beautiful and nice, but can also be abstract at times, such as for the imaginary landscapes, so I really prefer those with more details fleshed out. The main artists whose work you'll see a lot are from Ronnie Del Carmen, Ralph Eggleston and Don Shank.

The downside of the book is the presentation style. I feel that it's unnecessary to blow up simple sketches to full page sizes. Sometimes it works, sometimes, it doesn't. And when it doesn't, it feels like it's trying to fill space. I found myself flipping through several pages with just a single sketch on it rather quickly because they just don't have enough details to hold attention. Whereas I would pause and admire the more detailed pieces.

There's quite a lot of white space in the book that could have been filled by commentary. Or the simple sketches could have been scaled down to allow more artworks to be included. There's no commentary other than the foreword by Amy Poehler and introduction by Pete Docter. Some text talking about the design would have added so much more depth to the book. There are some captions that describe the art, but more often than not there are none. I find it very confusing that they don't label who some of the characters are.

The Art of Inside Out feels lacking. I was looking back at the last four Pixar artbooks for Monsters University, Brave, Cars 2 and Toy Story 3 and they were all more substantial, with much more artworks and interesting commentary from the artists and staff.

Another downside is the lack of order. I wasn't able to perceive any type of categorisation. Usually, artbooks would group designs for characters, environments, props, effects separately. Some books would choose to present the art chronologically as they appear in the film. The artworks in this book feels jumbled up in no particular order. And it doesn't help that the captions are sometimes missing. All the artworks are credited to specific artists though.

It's probably not surprising that there's not even an author listed. I guess nobody wants to take credit for this book.

So overall, this book is a mixed bag to me. I would have expected something better coming from Pixar. If you have owned other Pixar artbooks, you'll be able to see clearly that the other books are better.

3 out of 5 stars.

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

Sketchbook: Composition Studies for Film
Sketchbook: Composition Studies for Film
by Hans P. Bacher
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 21.84
25 used & new from CDN$ 16.18

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Would be better with more instruction, June 8 2015
Length:: 1:46 Mins

I'm a big fan of Hans Bacher's earlier book called Dream Worlds: Production Design for Animation, an instructional book on production design and composition for film. Hans Bacher has worked in the animation industry for years, including for companies such as Disney when they were still big on their traditional animation.

This new book Sketchbook: Composition Studies for Film is actually more of a sketchbook rather than an instructional book. There are a couple of tips on composition but do not get this book for the instructions because they are few and far in between.

The sketches featured are seemingly random but they may look familiar because they are composition and framing techniques used for films, not for any specific films though. They look like they were drawn from traditional media. They are, as the book title suggest, studies on composition. Many just use black, grey and white to block out shapes and characters. Even though the art may look very simple in execution with just a few lines and areas of colours, the composition are very well thought out and looks effective. You don't have to go into the details to make good art, as one of the tips in the book says.

It's a beautiful artbook but I wished they had been more instructions. This book works well as a reference where you can flip to any page to just get some visual ideas.

Anyway, you should definitely get his earlier book Dream Worlds if you haven't. And if you want to learn more about composition, I highly recommend Framed Ink: Drawing and Composition for Visual Storytellers by Marcos Mateu-Mestre, another expert in this field.

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

The Art and Making of Hannibal: The Television Series
The Art and Making of Hannibal: The Television Series
by Jesse McLean
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 25.16
38 used & new from CDN$ 19.38

5.0 out of 5 stars Recommended to fans who are hungry for more, May 25 2015
Length:: 1:39 Mins

Fans who want to know more and go behind the scenes of Hannibal television series will be delighted with this book.

The Art and Making of Hannibal looks at the production of the series from conceptualisation to the detailed analysis of the characters and stories.

The artworks are mainly concepts of the murders, 3D visualisations of rooms (e.g. Hannibal's office), sketches of dishes by Hannibal and that's about all. Really not too much.

There are lots of behind-the-scenes photographs that show how the props are made, or scenes are staged. Some photos are pretty gruesome even though you know that they are prosthetics and effects.

The insightful writeup goes further to explain the characters and stories, and that's easily the highlight of this book. You'll get a glimpse into the minds of the characters and also producers and writers of the show. The book covers up to season 2.

Highly recommended for the fans.

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

The Art of Mad Max: Fury Road
The Art of Mad Max: Fury Road
by Abbie Bernstein
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 41.40
10 used & new from CDN$ 34.90

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic art and movie companion, May 21 2015
Length:: 2:17 Mins

I've received a few request for the review of this artbook and now it's finally here.

The Art of Mad Max: Fury Road is a huge 176-page hardcover artbook that measures 16 inches diagonally across.

This book features the art and making of the film. In terms of break down, I would say it's 50-50 art and photography. The art consists of storyboards, story scene paintings, character and vehicle design. The photography are of film stills, behind the scenes shots and those to highlight certain aspect, such as close ups on the different vehicles. The photos are fantastic also because they are really high res where you can see lots of details and well composed like film art.

The artworks are beautiful with a nice textural feel to them. I'm not sure how they are created but majority is definitely not digital painting, more like pencils, pastels, and those grainy medium, and some paintings also. Some drawings actually reminded me of Moebius' art because of the level of detail rendered.

So what's featured exactly?

Furiosa and the wives, Immortan Joe, Coma the Doof Warrior, Miss Giddy, Nux and the many other characters. Vehicles are the highlight also and we have the War Rig, Gigahorse, Big Foot and various other pursuit vehicles. The vehicle designs are really amazing. Overall, there's this really gritty steampunk look to everything and everything seems to work well together visually.

The commentary included talks about the filming process, the characters, story plot at time, vehicles, building stuff, the staging and even some nostalgia from the first few Mad Max films. It's an insightful read.

This is a seriously good art book.

Highly recommended.

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

The Road to Marvel's Avengers: Age of Ultron: The Art of the Marvel Cinematic Universe
The Road to Marvel's Avengers: Age of Ultron: The Art of the Marvel Cinematic Universe
by Marvel Comics
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 42.03
27 used & new from CDN$ 42.03

4.0 out of 5 stars Not the artbook for the Ultron movie but still good, May 19 2015
Length:: 2:41 Mins

This is not the artbook for the second Avengers movie featuring Ultron. There's another one specifically for Ultron.

The Road to Marvel's Avengers is just a rehash of all the materials and art from the earlier artbooks for the other Marvel movies, namely Iron Man 1, 2 and 3, Captain America 1 and 2, Thor 1 & 2 and even The Art of Avengers.

If you have been collecting all the other artbooks all along, then there's absolutely no reason for this book. There's nothing new in this book, except some layout changes, e.g. some artworks are printed bigger or shifted around.

This 240-page slipcase hardcover collects only the character design art. You'll get to see a lot of Iron Man suits as that seems to be the most popular. The rest of the characters are given good coverage too. The book focuses on the Avengers and has none of the villains and there's also no Ultron.

The art overall is awesome. But you already know that if you have the earlier artbooks. I had a strong sense of deja vu going through this book and I'm not a big fan of books that rehash material.

I guess if you're only interested in the Avengers movies and not the other character-specific ones, then getting this book makes more sense. Or if you don't want to collect so many artbooks, then this book will be great for you because it has a good selection of art from the other books.

So is this a case of Marvel milking the franchise? I would think so. I bought this book at the bookstore where there wasn't any book description. Imagine someone buying this thinking that it's a book for the second Avenger film.

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

The Sketchbook Project World Tour
The Sketchbook Project World Tour
by Steven Peterman
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 26.48
31 used & new from CDN$ 25.60

5.0 out of 5 stars For those who like sketchbooks and journaling art, May 16 2015
Length:: 1:36 Mins

The Sketchbook Project is a crowd-sourced library of sketchbooks from artists around the world. The project started in 2006 online. The public would sign up and for a fee they would receive a sketchbook and after filling it with sketches send it back to add to the collection. The physical sketchbooks are on display at the Brooklyn Art Library, and digital scans are also available on their website. At the time of this writing, the artist community has grown to 70,000. Wow!

The Sketchbook Project World Tour is a 256-page paperback book that features a selection of sketchbook pages from the project.

The artworks are grouped according to different continents. There are lots of styles to check out and in some ways this book feels like a journal. There are artists who draw things that happen in their daily life, some draw from imagination, others from observations, there are some doodles, realistic drawings, line sketches and many more. It's nice to see the creativity on display. There are also several artists who are featured with short interviews.

The book could be useful as a source of inspiration and motivation.

If you like journaling art, this is the book for you. And also check out all the other sketchbooks I've reviewed so far.

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

Harry Potter: The Book Of Magical Places
Harry Potter: The Book Of Magical Places
by Jody Revenson
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 35.49
37 used & new from CDN$ 35.49

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended for Harry Potter fans, May 14 2015
Length:: 2:19 Mins

Harry Potter: Magical Places from the Films is actually one of the books from the Harry Potter Page to Screen Collector's Edition. In that collector's edition, the book was titled Environments Envisioned: Building Fantastic Sets and Scouting Dramatic Locations. I don't have the collector's edition, so I can't compare the exact contents, so I'll just talk about this book alone.

I only have the standard edition of Harry Potter Page to Screen so the first thing I want to say is it's great to have this book sold separately rather than bundling it into the pricey collector's edition. Sure it took a long time for it for come out but it's more affordable, and all fans can enjoy the book now.

This is a large 208-page hardcover film companion. The cover has a nice design with trimmings embossed. The presentation is beautiful and the same can be said about the layout inside. The pages are filled with behind the scenes photography, film stills and lots of commentary. Fans will no doubt find it extremely satisfying to delve into the information and revisit the Harry Potter world again — I know I did.

This book focuses on the locations and sets. There are environment concept art, stories on how the sets were build, what was filmed there, how the props were created, how the sets relate to the movie and the book, and many other bits of interesting details.

There are nine chapters and they are

Dursley's House
Diagon Alley
King's Cross Station
Hogwarts Castle
Hogwarts Classrooms and Offices
Hogwarts Grounds
Hogsmeade
Ministry of Magic
Wizarding Homes

Highly recommended to all Harry Potter fans. It's the only way to "visit" all the grounds without being growled by Snape.

Another thing to note is there are two publishers for this book, Harper Design and Titan Books. Depending on where you buy it, the price of the book will differ.

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

Marvel's Avengers: Age of Ultron: The Art of the Movie Slipcase
Marvel's Avengers: Age of Ultron: The Art of the Movie Slipcase
by Marvel Comics
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 35.80
25 used & new from CDN$ 35.80

5.0 out of 5 stars Great artbook, May 13 2015
Length:: 3:38 Mins

There are two artbooks for Avengers: Age of Ultron. This is the official book for the second Avengers film Age of Ultron The other one, The Road to Marvel's Avengers: Age of Ultron: The Art of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is a rehash of artworks from other Marvel movie artbooks.

Marvel's Avengers: Age of Ultron: The Art of the Movie is a 336-page hardcover artbook that comes with a slipcase. So far, most of the Marvel artbooks are the slipcase edition and this one looks great as well.

There are plenty of character designs to look at. Most of the main Avengers designs are on updates to their costumes.

The highlights for the book are the artworks for Hulkbuster, Ultron and Vision. There are so many pages of concept art for those three it's almost shocking. The art is fantastic. Ultron is scary-looking for all the designs in the book. Vision looks so alien and mysterious. Just amazing. And if you thought the Hulkbuster in the movie was cool, you have to check out the many iteration that weren't even used. Some versions of the Hulkbuster reminded me of the animation-style Juggernaut from the X-men.

The rest of the art are of the environment, props and storyboards. You'll get to see the fortress that appeared at the start of the film, the floating "island", Hawkeye's arrows, interiors for the new Avengers HQ and other buildings, and more. Commentary is provided for most pieces of art.

This is an incredible artbook. Most highly recommended. Really worth the money.

I think it's one of the best Marvel movie artbooks so far.

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

Mad Max: Fury Road INSPIRED ARTISTS Deluxe Edition
Mad Max: Fury Road INSPIRED ARTISTS Deluxe Edition
by Lee Bermejo
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 19.17
42 used & new from CDN$ 19.17

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 65 artists' take on Mad Max Fury Road, May 12 2015
Length:: 2:01 Mins

There are two artbook companions to Mad Max: Fury Road, the first would be this, the INSPIRED ARTISTS edition which was released before the film as well as the official movie artbook The Art of Mad Max: Fury Road which will be released after the movie screening.

The INSPIRED ARTISTS edition is a 144-page hardcover published by Vertigo. The vertical portrait format is just like those trade paperback comics.

The book features 65 comic artists with their own interpretation on director George Miller's Mad Max world, more specifically just for Fury Road. You'll see that the two main characters drawn by the artists at times will resemble Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron as they appear in the film.

The art is fantastic, filled with frenzy and mayhem that has come to be associated Mad Max movies. There are lots of styles to check out. Some adopted the more painterly style with more details, others went for the comic style with pen and ink.

Some of the artists included are Tara McPherson, David Mack, Bill, Sienkiewicz, George Pratt, Dave McKean, Simon Besley, Tommy Lee Edwards, Jim Lee, Gilbert Hernandez, Paul Pope, Ben Templesmith and more. It's a nice diverse selection of artists featured.

The only downside of the book is the format. Each piece of art is a double page spread that gets printed across the gutter. It's not that nice to see every piece fall into the gutter. And if you know those binded trade paperbacks, they can't open flat. Choice of format for the book is peculiar, especially when the art are all same size, so they could have gone for a larger canvas and not print across the gutter. There's a Kindle edition for this book as well but I don't know how the art is presented as there are no preview pages provided.

Overall, the artworks are top notch and worth the money.

Ultimate Star Wars
Ultimate Star Wars
by Ryder Windham
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 28.14
30 used & new from CDN$ 28.14

5.0 out of 5 stars Star Wars encyclopedia for the fans, May 11 2015
This review is from: Ultimate Star Wars (Hardcover)
Length:: 2:22 Mins

Ultimate Star Wars is in essence the encyclopedia of Star Wars.

This large 320-page hardcover published by DK Books is meant to be a comprehensive reference and companion to the Star Wars universe.

As you would expect from DK Books, Ultimate Star Wars is packed with lots of information and wonderful pictures.

There are four sections to the book, namely Characters and Creatures, Locations, Technology and Vehicles. Each character, creature or subject is covered in chronological manner as they appear in the films and the animated series Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebel. There are also key events pulled out from the timelines included. This should refresh your memory regarding the universe while you wait for the next film Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Some of the information have been published in other Star Wars books over the years. For example, there are the vehicles and spaceships from Star Wars: Complete Vehicles or planet information from Star Wars: The Essential Atlas, etc. That is however no excuse not to get this book because everything is now collected in one beautiful and convenient volume.

Highly recommended to all Star Wars fans.

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

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