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Parka (Singapore)
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Pepita: Takehiko Inoue Meets Gaudi
Pepita: Takehiko Inoue Meets Gaudi
by Takehiko Inoue
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 18.17
22 used & new from CDN$ 16.61

5.0 out of 5 stars A travelogue sketchbook from Takehiko Inoue, Nov. 2 2014
Length:: 1:01 Mins

I've had the Japanese edition of this book pepita 井上雄彦 meets ガウディ that was published in 2011. I like the book but could not understand what was written. It's great that Viz Media released this English edition. There's some difference between the two edition. The English edition left out the behind-the-scenes DVD and some calendar postcards.

Pepita is a sort of a travelogue sketchbook from Takehiko Inoue, the artist for the popular comic series Slam Dunk and Vagabond. Pepita is a very different piece of work from Inoue who is known for manga art.

In 2011, he traveled to Barcelona in Spain to look for inspiration and meaning in Spanish Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi's architecture. Collected within are the sketches, photographs and notes that he made on the trip. It's written very candidly and you can read about the thoughts he had when looking and drawing the different places.

He visited the mountains at Montserrat, places were Gaudi lived, and the many sites where the famous buildings are, such as Sagrada Familia, Casa MIla, Park Guell and many more. If you've never seen these places before, you might be filled with a sense of wonder after looking at the designs. The buildings are very organic and is very much influenced by nature. You can't even describe them as European looking because they are something else.

Inspired by the mosaic tiles that Gaudi used occasionally, Takehiko Inoue uses that as a design element for his art in the book. He also has sketches drawn over photographs and portrait sketches of how Gaudi and his family and friends would look like.

There's also plenty of interesting information about Gaudi in the book. The name of the book is actually the name of the woman Gaudi loved. Gaudi scholars were interviewed and provided many insights to the life and career of Gaudi. A list of Gaudi's structures is included.

Recommended to fans of Inoue and those who like travel sketchbooks.

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

Hatsune Miku Graphics: Character Collection CV02 - Kagamine Rin & Len Edition
Hatsune Miku Graphics: Character Collection CV02 - Kagamine Rin & Len Edition
by Comptiq
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 21.94
23 used & new from CDN$ 21.94

4.0 out of 5 stars For fans of the singing twin Vocaloids, Nov. 2 2014
This is the other Hatsune Miku artbook, but it features the singing twins Kagamine Rin and Len.

The original is the Japanese 鏡音リン・レン edition published in 2011. Udon translated this to English.

Just like the first book on Hatsune Miku, this book also features 39 artists with their take on the two characters. Because there are two characters, some of the illustrations remind of scenarios that might actually be used for wedding photos -- you know those who like to dress in cosplay costumes. But mostly you get the two kids in school uniforms or casual wear hanging out.

The art is beautiful and the book is worth getting if you like the Vocaloids.

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

Hatsune Miku Graphics: Character Collection CV01 - Hatsune Miku Edition
Hatsune Miku Graphics: Character Collection CV01 - Hatsune Miku Edition
by Comptiq
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 18.71
35 used & new from CDN$ 18.71

5.0 out of 5 stars Artbook of the most popular vocaloid, Nov. 2 2014
Length:: 1:04 Mins

This is one of two Hatsune Miku artbooks that Udon has translated to English. The original Japanese edition for this is 初音ミクEdition released in 2011.

This edition features the Vocaloid diva Hatsune Miku. The other edition features the singing twins Kagamine Rin & Len.

Collected within are artworks from 39 artists, each with their own take on Hatsune Miku, putting her in different settings. Most if not all are Japanese artists so the Japanese art style is heavy.

Hatsune Miku is a character with lots of fan art. You'll see many of the beautiful illustrations in this volume.

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

Animated Life: A Lifetime of tips, tricks, techniques and stories from an animation Legend
Animated Life: A Lifetime of tips, tricks, techniques and stories from an animation Legend
by Floyd Norman
Edition: Paperback
28 used & new from CDN$ 28.12

5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring read from a Disney Legend, Nov. 2 2014
Floyd E. Norman is a veteran American animator who has worked in the animation industry for decades, more specifically from 1956 to 2000.

With this book Animated Life, he tells us the story about how it was like working for Disney as an animator. It's a story from the inside as he introduces us to all his coworkers and their jobs, talks about animation production, management, and reminisce about the good old days working with Walt Disney. It reads like a autobiography. There are lots of interesting stories, like how he bought Roy Disney's video camera and filmed the 1965 Watts Riots, quirks of different people, learning on the job.

The other half of the book is on tips, tricks and other observations, mainly observations. It can be about filming, getting fired, storytelling, marketing, new animators on the job, racial politics, Steve Jobs, etc. The last part are some brief exercises on storytelling and idea generation.

The book written in a very candid manner. You can tell he loves animation and it's like he's telling the stories as if they happened yesterday.

Since Floyd Norman is pretty much a Disney guy -- he was named Disney Legend in 2007 -- much of the animation industry is seen from his eyes while working at Walt Disney Studios. The stories are mainly from the early days. He did work with Pixar until Monsters Inc, but the later stories aren't as detailed.

It's a nice inspiring read for those who like to learn more about the animation industry.

Elysium: The Art of the Film
Elysium: The Art of the Film
by Mark Salisbury
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 29.47
28 used & new from CDN$ 29.45

5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic art book companion to the film, Nov. 2 2014
Length:: 1:23 Mins

Going through this artbook reminded me of The Art of District 9. Director Neill Blomkamp teams up again with his District 9 production designer Phil Ivey and Weta Workshop for the concept art and models. Elysium is no sequel to District 9, but the art does feel like they could have come from the same world, except in Elysium, it's year 2154.

The content can be roughly split into two main parts, that on earth and on Elysium. There are designs for the Exo-Suit, robots, spacecrafts, weapons, environments and other concept paintings. Designs for everything that appears on Earth would be more weathered, showing signs of prolong usage, as compared to those on Elysium which are cleaner and sleeker. The contrasting style is interesting.

The robot policemen look pretty cool. Designs involving Max and his Exo-Suit can be gruesome because Blomkamp doesn't like to be constrained by PG-13 ratings.

For the Elysium, Syd Mead has contributed several pieces of artwork that are in the book. You get to see the detailed sketches and the final renders of Elysium that took 10 months to finish building.

Overall, the art is great and there are lots to read about the designs and on how they film certain scenes.

It's a fantastic art book companion to the film.

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

Warbirds: The Aviation Art of Adam Tooby
Warbirds: The Aviation Art of Adam Tooby
by Adam Tooby
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 25.04
21 used & new from CDN$ 25.04

5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful book for aviation and war plane enthusiasts, Nov. 1 2014
Length:: 2:39 Mins

Here's a book for those who love aviation art, particularly military planes.

Adam Tooby only got into creating aviation art 6 years ago and now has an artbook filled with amazing artworks. That's really impressive.

Warbirds is a large coffee table hardcover artbook that features more than 200 artworks of military planes from over the last 100 years of aviation. These planes are from before and after the first and second World War. Actually the most recent jet featured is the Mig-29 with its maiden flight in 1977.

The book starts with a lengthy and insightful Q&A interview about his work and inspiration. At the end is a step by step breakdown, including screenshots, of how he models and textures the planes. It's not a tutorial where you can follow along though, but it's interesting to know the creative process.

Tooby uses 3D Studio Max with Photoshop and Illustrator to create his artworks. He would visit museums and places where the planes are displayed to take hundreds of photos, then gather whatever blueprints and information available before modelling the planes in 3D. That is a lot of groundwork and his work rate is very inspiring.

The artworks are wonderful, either rendered individually or featured in flights during war. Details are amazing, right down to the rivets on the legendary Spitfire, the shine of the metal, the weather worn paint peeling surfaces on the wings of the planes, or the words, logos and decorations on the plane bodies. The artworks are printed huge, sometimes across the whole 3 page gatefold.

Each plane featured comes with specifications, a writeup on the history and variations of upgrades. There's a lot to read and should appeal to aviation or World War buff.

This is a beautiful and informative book. I hope there will be future volume covering planes that weren't included this time round.

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

Star Wars Costumes
Star Wars Costumes
by Brandon Alinger
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 43.89
19 used & new from CDN$ 43.89

5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome book, Oct. 31 2014
This review is from: Star Wars Costumes (Hardcover)
Length:: 2:17 Mins

Gosh, it really took a while for this book to come out considering the previous costume book Dressing a Galaxy which came out in 2005.

It's a fantastic book just like the earlier one. It's a huge 226-page hardcover with lots of wonderful photos and in depth writeup.

Star Wars Costumes focuses on the costumes created for Star Wars original trilogy Episodes IV, V and IV. It's really cool to look at the huge variety of costumes used in the movies.

There are costumes for Chewbacca, R2-D2, C-3PO, Boba Fett, bounty hunters, Princess Leia's skimpy slave dancer outfit, Darth Vadar, Stormtroopers and many more. Across the movies, there are also updates to the costumes so you'll get to see Darth Vadar's original and the updated one after A New Hope. What I find interesting is to see that most costume designs have aged quite well while some not so well.

The photographs are great. They are high resolution with close ups just in case you want to examine the seams. There are photographs almost on every page. Some sketches and concept designs are also included.

The text is even more in depth compared to Dressing a Galaxy, talking about the making of those costumes. Forewords are written by costume designers John Mollo, Nilo Rodis-Jamero and Aggie Rodgers. It's a very insightful writeup by author Brian Alinger.

Highly recommended to all Star Wars fans.

By the way, there are two publishers for this book, namely Chronicle Books who is distributing for USA and Canada, and Titan Books for UK, Europe and other places. Prices of the book will vary slightly from the publishers and of course places where you buy it.

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

The Art of Jim Burns: Hyperluminal
The Art of Jim Burns: Hyperluminal
by Jim Burns
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 25.04
28 used & new from CDN$ 23.20

5.0 out of 5 stars For Jim Burn fans, Oct. 31 2014
Length:: 1:38 Mins

Jim Burns is an artist from Wales and started his career in the 1970s. He's a sci-fi artist whose artworks have appeared on numerous covers and that is what he's probably most well known for doing.

The Art of Jim Burns: Hyperluminal features a collection of artworks from Burns's career from the 70s to the recent years up to 2014. You'll see the book cover art he created for authors such as Peter F Hamilton, George R R Martin and many more. The artworks are reproduced huge in this coffee table book compared to the novels. Because of the size, you can see more clearly the amount of detail he puts in the paintings.

He uses primarily acrylics, occasionally oils and also took up digital painting. The details and defined edges of his acrylics paintings are impressive. The artworks are credited to the books they are for, year and medium.

The artworks are beautiful, well reproduced, particularly the ones painted with traditional medium. Digital ones still look digital though. Most are sci-fi, some fantasy, and a few surreal ones. The sci-fi worlds he creates are quite unlike those from other artists with his choice of colours, realism, details and design. They belong more to the traditional sci-fi art in those days as compared to the busy video game style concept art commonly seen nowadays.

I've a minor quibble for page 110 where a face was cut into half by the page gutter.

Overall, a good book for fans of his art.

The Art of Jim Burns: Hyperluminal is another wonderful addition to the sci-fi artbooks that Titan Books have published in the recent years such as for Fred Gambino, John Harris and Chris Foss.

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

Art Without Waste: 500 Upcycled & Earth-Friendly Designs
Art Without Waste: 500 Upcycled & Earth-Friendly Designs
by Patty K Wongpakdee
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 17.55
26 used & new from CDN$ 15.35

4.0 out of 5 stars Nice source of ideas, Oct. 31 2014
This book is a nice source of ideas for those into recycling materials to create artworks.

Author Patty K. Wongpakdee has curated 500 pieces of art created from discarded materials such as lenses, circuit boards or even fire hoses. It's interesting to see how some things are repurposed. Skateboards are made into guitars, wine corks into chairs, gas cans into luggages and many other unexpected ideas.

The content is split into four chapters, namely Personal Items & Accessories, Home & Garden, Interior & Outdoor Spaces and Art & Design.

Some ideas work, but others not so much. For example, under accessories, recycled lenses from spectacles are stringed together to form a dress. Personally, I don't think anyone would wear the dress. But it's an interesting concept. It works well when the recycled materials are turned into art rather than some other tool, clothing or something with functionality. Sometimes art is just not meant to be functional.

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

Boris Vallejo And Julie Bell: Dreamland
Boris Vallejo And Julie Bell: Dreamland
by Boris Vallejo
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 34.80
19 used & new from CDN$ 32.58

5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning collection from Boris Vallejo and Julie Bell, Oct. 30 2014
Length:: 2:10 Mins

Dreamland presents a stunning collection of new artworks from the fantasy art masters Boris Vallejo and Julie Bell. They are among the best painters and fantasy artists around, and after looking at the book, it just seems that they keep getting better and better.

The A4 size 192-page hardcover artbook is filled with more than 150 paintings, mostly printed one on each page with a few over two pages. Most paintings are in portrait format and fit nicely within the page.

The paintings are absolutely beautiful. The collection features their personal as well as commercial works. There are individual pieces and also those that they painted together.

The subject matter is what they paint best, mostly character based. Muscular heroes and heroines in fantasy lands, with dragons or mythical creatures. There are also some commissioned work they painted for advertising. The amount of detail in their work is amazing. The lighting scheme reminds me of old masters paintings and it is indeed mentioned in the book that they use techniques from old masters for their artworks, and when it comes to using human models for reference.

The book includes brief autobiographies, common questions they received, hints and tips on painting, how they work together, and commentary for selected pieces of paintings. Right at the end is an envelope with 10 art prints featuring selected artworks. Very nice but the paper quality is that of the book which is not too bad, the low gloss type.

This is a fantastic artbook. The only downside is that this artbook is not larger, like A3 size. I would love to look at the paintings huge and up close.

Highly recommended.

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

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