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Parka (Singapore)
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Sketching for Architecture + Interior Design
Sketching for Architecture + Interior Design
by Stephanie Travis
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 35.95
8 used & new from CDN$ 34.18

5.0 out of 5 stars Taught in a simple and easy to understand manner, Sept. 6 2015
Length:: 1:05 Mins

This is a great book for architecture students, sketchers and those who want to develop the skill of sketching. It's a 128-page paperback written by Stephanie Travis who teaches interior architecture and design.

The book collects lots of useful tips on sketching. You'll need observational drawing skills to get the most out of the book. Many of the examples require you to draw what you see. There's not so much of constructing objects from imagination. The main drawing tools used are markers and the fine, medium and thick stroke pens.

Earlier chapters focuses on the basic fundamentals and simple techniques that are used in the later chapters. There are techniques to help you present your drawings more clearly, lessons on perspective, exercises on positive and negative style of drawing, how to render textures and many more. The exercises are short and easy to follow.

The underlying concept is the process is more important than the end result itself. Through drawing, you'll learn more about the subject that you have drawn.

Overall, it's quite an insightful book with plenty of useful techniques. It's a good book for beginners.

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

WOOSH: Spaceship Sketches from the Couch
WOOSH: Spaceship Sketches from the Couch
by Lorin Wood
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 15.07
25 used & new from CDN$ 7.33

5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful spaceship sketches, Sept. 6 2015
Length:: 1:06 Mins

Lorin Wood likes drawing on the couch after a day's of work and now even has an artbook of spaceships to show for it. I find it quite humorous that there's even a graphic showing the comfortable position he has discovered on the couch.

Unlike other books from Design Studio Press, this paperback volume is stapled bind. The paper quality is matte and thick enough. The book's sold at an affordable price. No complaints from me.

This 80-page artbook features spaceship sketches, so maybe it's more like a sketchbook. The wonderful spaceship designs are drawn mostly on toned paper in grayscale and highlights with occasional colours thrown in. There are simple 15-minute sketches and the detailed 60-minute ones. They are drawn in a rather technical style with different accents to the lines, and copic marker renderings for the shadows.

The designs look terrific. I love the detail, form and composition. They look very physical. The latter half of the book has spaceship designs inspired by Star Wars so you'll get to see quite a few spaceships with those Star Wars-ish wings.

There's also a short two-page interview with Lorin Wood. By the way, he's also the founder of Nuthin But Mech which has two artbooks out already.

If you like spaceship designs, check out BLAST: spaceship sketches and renderings as well.

Devil May Cry: A Divine Comedy
Devil May Cry: A Divine Comedy
by Mehdi El Kanafi
Edition: Hardcover
10 used & new from CDN$ 62.70

5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful DMC companion, Sept. 1 2015
Length:: 1:51 Mins

Devil May Cry: A Divine Comedy is like a making-of book for the Devil May Cry games. The book was released by Capcom and Pix'n Love Publishing in 2014 to celebrate the successful of DmC: Devil May Cry (2013).

It covers the first game that was released in 2001 to the current reboot.

The book provides the background to the stories and analysis to the main characters. This serves only as a recap as much of these you would already know if you have played through the game.

Highlight of the book would be the commentary on the creation process of the game. It talks about details like inspiration, e.g. like the gothic influence, where The Divine Comedy by Italian poet Dante Alighieri comes in, the art direction from developer Ninja Theory, influence of each game director, namely Hideki Kamiya, Tsuyoshi Tanaka, Hideaki Itsumo, Hiroyuki Kobayashi.

The book covers a lot of topics such as reception of each games, the tie-in products such as mobile games, film, artbooks, comics, how the gameplay is designed, themes, how licenses are handled, etc. It doesn't always talk about the good parts but also problems, such as with the stories and other controversies. There's also a chapter on Capcom and how their like to milk their franchise, how they recycle assets like environments and even moves.

The visuals included are screenshots of the game, illustrations and pieces of concept art. There are some cool pieces of artworks but that's not the main selling point of the book. You'll find more art in Devil May Cry: 3142 Graphic Arts and DmC Devil May Cry: Visual Art.

The book ends with the tablet of contents right at the back.

If you have been a fan of Devil May Cry, this is a wonderful companion to go with the games to find out more about the production process.

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

Every Person in New York
Every Person in New York
by Jason Polan
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 29.80
32 used & new from CDN$ 7.84

4.0 out of 5 stars Fun sketchbook, Aug. 29 2015
Length:: 2:06 Mins

In 2008, Jason Polan gave himself a challenge to draw every person in New York. His earlier projects were The Every Piece Of Art in The Museum Of Modern Art Book, An Entire Bag of Popcorn, and Every Person in the Phone Book. The words obsessive and patient come to my mind.

Every Person in New York is a 408-page paperback book that features the sketches of all the people he has drawn so far. There are over 30,000 thousand people in this book. That's why this book is so thick. And I'm quite amazed he actually kept count.

Polan is an artist who lives in New York. Over the last 7 years, he has been sketching New Yorkers whenever and wherever he can. He has drawn at cafes, outside the New York Public Library, the many museums, Apple stores, on the train, at tennis matches, markets, parks, etc. You get the idea.

It's interesting to see the diversity of the people captured in the sketches. There are people sleeping on the trains, marathon runners, dog walkers, lots of pedestrians and even celebrities. Every page is filled with line art ink sketches of people. Some are just simple silhouettes while others have their facial features more fleshed out. The line art is loose and many are like contour drawings. Sometimes, even the bump while the train is moving is recorded in the sketch.

Generally speaking, the style is that of simplicity and because of that this may not be the book for those who are looking for detailed drawings. Because of that, this is a book you can flip through quickly.

This is a fun sketchbook.

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

Other sketchbooks you might want to check out:
Denys Wortman's New York: Portrait of the City in the 30s and 40s
Meanwhile in San Francisco: The City in its Own Words
All the Buildings in New York: That I've Drawn So Far
New York Drawings
New York Sketchbook

Shining Blade & Ark: Collection of Visual Materials
Shining Blade & Ark: Collection of Visual Materials
by Sega
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 44.94
24 used & new from CDN$ 38.35

5.0 out of 5 stars 224-page thick artbook packed with beautiful art, Aug. 12 2015
Length:: 1:46 Mins

Here's another video game companion book translated by Udon Entertainment, this time for fans of Shining Blade (2012) and Shining Ark (2013).

Presentation is not different from other Japanese video game artbooks. So far, I've reviewed the artbooks for Shining Hearts, Shining Force Feather and Shining Force EXA. I will not be surprised if there are more Shining artbooks lined up.

The book's a 224-page paperback that features the character designs and profiles followed by environment art, weapons, ships and enemies. Each main character is given a full page treatment with a few different poses and many different expressions. These are full coloured illustrations. When you flip the book to latter pages, there are line sketches for the same characters. The artworks are drawn by pin-up artist and character designer Tony Taka.

Fans of the game would probably be delighted by the beautiful illustrations. The first few pages of the book feature full page splash images.

The artworks for locations, environment, enemies and ships aren't printed as big as those for the characters. Generally speaking, these are the artworks with more details compared to the characters so it would have been better to have them printed larger, but they are not. The environment art are beautiful and I like them.

The last few pages features interviews with Tony Taka, producer Tsuyoshi Sawada, director for SEGA Takeshi Ozawa, assistant producer at SEGA Kei Mikami. They talk about the Shining series and of course this two games in particular.

It's a nicely packed artbook with lots of wonderful artworks. Highly recommended to fans.

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

Marvel's Ant-Man: The Art of the Movie Slipcase
Marvel's Ant-Man: The Art of the Movie Slipcase
by Marvel Comics
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 42.40
22 used & new from CDN$ 41.98

4.0 out of 5 stars Decent art companion but not as flamboyant as other Marvel artbooks, Aug. 4 2015
Length:: 3:08 Mins

Ant-Man's artbook has a similar presentation style like the earlier Marvel film artbooks that came before. As usual, the large hardcover comes with a slipcase. I'm glad to get this a local bookstore because it saved me some shipping cost to offset the higher than usual price of Marvel movie artbooks. The book comes in at 256 pages and it's filled with concept art and commentary from the staff and artists.

The character designs are for Ant-Man, Yellowjacket, Wasp, Hank Pym who are the main characters, and also several pages of art for the different types of ants. Environment designs are for Pym's residence, the secure room at Pym's basement, Pymtech and that's about all. Then there are some pages of storyboards, and a handful of other artworks for props. The main bulk, like 80 percent of the book, are the character designs and the scene paintings.

The Ant-Man designs are pretty cool. While cool, I feel they aren't really iconic. They look like suits worn by sci-fi pilots. Yellowjacket is visually more interesting, at least there are those claw-things coming out from the back. The ants that are carrying interesting tech accessories are rather cute.

Most of the scene paintings are of Ant-Man in some sort of action, whether he's carrying stacks of dollar bills or facing off with huge ants. To create the illusion of something small, or making something appear in macro mode, a lot of background blurring is used. That's to simulate the depth of field effect of camera lens that are used to take macro shot. It does work well the convey the miniature size. However, a lot of artworks have that blurred out effect so if you're someone who likes to see details, then this might be a shortcoming.

The main problem I have would be that many images are printed a bit too dark. Maybe they are drawn too dark to begin with. But it's really difficult to make out the details when it's too dark to see clearly. This is a similar problem with Thor: The Dark World's artbook. Another small issue is some images are blown up too big resulting in pixelation.

It's a good artbook, just that the character designs aren't that strong or striking when compared to other illustrious members of Avengers. Overall, I feel that it lacks the oomph of something special that would make this book even better.

4 out of 5 stars.

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

Senran Kagura: Official Design Works
Senran Kagura: Official Design Works
by Marvelous Entertainment
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 44.94
24 used & new from CDN$ 41.06

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For fans of the game, July 30 2015
Length:: 1:41 Mins

Wow, the producer Kenichiro Takaki is really unabashed at the selling point of Senran Kagura series of games. On page two, in case you missed it, they even printed the words "BOOBS" in big bold red fonts. That's the highlight of this book.

This is a 240-page paperback that's has been translated by Udon Entertainment into English from the original Japanese edition 閃乱カグラシリーズ 公式イラスト集 -少女達の軌跡-.

This book features art for the following games:

Senran Kagura Skirting Shadows
Senran Kagura Crimson Girls
Senran Kagura Shinovi Versus
Senran Kagura NewWave
Senran Kagura Bon Appetit
Senran Kagura 2 Deep Crimson

The other selling point are the wonderful illustrations included. The pages are filled with beautiful anime style illustrations of the female ninjas. There are character designs, funny scenarios and pin-ups. The character designs are awesome. I like how dynamic the characters look.

This book is definitely not safe for work. Although all the important bits are covered up, there are still a lot of touchy-feely pieces, and of course more than a handful of those teasing almost-nude illustrations.

Right at the end are interviews with Righteous Boobage Artist Nan Yaegashi and Righteous Boobage Producer Kenichiro Takaki (that's what they call themselves). Basically they talk about what it's like to make a game that features so much boobs. Some parts are serious, like really talking about the IP and game making, while others parts are on character designs.

There are character profiles for the ninjas across the different games in the last few pages. Also included is an encyclopedia that explains all the terms, phrases and jokes from the past games. I even learned a new Japanese word "bakunyuu" that literally means "explosive breasts".

I can see how fans of the game will be delighted with this book.

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

Sketching from the Imagination: Sci-fi
Sketching from the Imagination: Sci-fi
by 3dtotal Publishing
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 31.13
27 used & new from CDN$ 24.52

5.0 out of 5 stars Another fantastic compilation of sketches!, July 20 2015
Length:: 1:57 Mins

This is the third book from the Sketching from the Imagination series published by 3dtotal Publishing. I love all three of them and I hope they keep coming up with more volumes.

The book is still satisfyingly thick at 320 pages. 50 artists are featured.

The sketches and artworks are really beautiful and inspiring. There's a lot of variety and the artists commentary talks about their love for sketching, inspiration and some tips. Even in black and white, the designs look terrific. Once again, I'm marvelled by the level of details and intricacy of the many sketches.

This particular volume focuses on sci-fi. I still see quite a significant portion on character designs, in sci-fi style of course. There are also the occasional mechas, sci-fi environments, alien plants, etc.

Most highly recommended to all who loves sketchbooks.

Well worth the money!

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

Createascene: Everything You Need to Know About the Art Department
Createascene: Everything You Need to Know About the Art Department
by Bruce Hill
Edition: Paperback
4 used & new from CDN$ 76.96

5.0 out of 5 stars Insightful look into production design for film, July 20 2015
The author Bruce Hill sent me this book for a review. It's about production and scene designs for films, something that I like reading about. I've collected many making-of film books and Createascene is one that really goes into the detail of how scenes, props and effects are made for film, right down to the type of wood or plastic to consider.

Bruce Hill has been in the film industry since 1980s. This book represents 30 years of experience. It's filled with practical knowledge that you can get only by working long enough in the industry.

The topics covered are on how and who to hire, budgeting the set, getting props. It also includes details like how transport is going to be provided to crew to get to the set.

You'll learn how to do budgeting, how to count the man days, materials and other things that may drive up cost, such as waste disposal, etc. There are many considerations to take note of for each area of production.

In the event that you cannot shoot on location, there are also tips on how to create your own studio, the equipment you need, studio etiquette, etc. These are all from the real life experience of working on a studio — "Glamorous it most certainly is not!" says Bruce Hill. He also goes into detail the different types of flooring required for different purposes and people, whether it's for moving the camera around, or for dancers so that they don't injure themselves. You can sense just how thorough this guy is.

There's also a chapter on what type of materials you can use to construct the sets. And what type of paint to use to paint on the materials.

One chapter is on working landscapes, small ones, not those LOTR or green screen types, and working with small models and getting the perspective right. photo-backings, special effects like rain, fog, steam, smoke, etc.

For anyone who wants to get into the film industry to create scenes and props, this is an invaluable resource. It's quite enlightening to find out all the tricks and tips that are used to create believable sets.

The Realism Challenge: Drawing and Painting Secrets from a Modern Master of Hyperrealism
The Realism Challenge: Drawing and Painting Secrets from a Modern Master of Hyperrealism
by Mark Crilley
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 23.74
42 used & new from CDN$ 10.78

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's really a challenge, July 15 2015
Length:: 1:24 Mins

After creating a few viral videos on realism drawings, Mark Crilley has finally come up with a book that shows you just how he draws those amazing realistic artworks.

The Realism Challenge goes behind the scenes with several tutorials that teaches the skills and techniques required to bring realism to your drawings.

Through the step by step demonstrations, you'll learn how to observe your subjects, put down the lines to form the shape, and proceed on to colour and adding shadows. The instructions are very clear and are always prompting you what to look out for. For it's all those little details that create the realism.

One thing about realistic drawings is they take time. Even drawing something like a piece of paper, cracked egg or a handful of pieces of popcorn takes a good involvement of time. Techniques are important but observational skills are almost as important or even more so. I've tried several of the exercises and realised that I was going too fast. One really has to slow down to observe all the subtle changes in colours and shades in your subject.

This book certainly demands patience. There are thirty lessons in the book and that's a lot of opportunity to get your practice. The payoff is a beautiful piece of artwork.

Ultimately, it's quite fun to challenge yourself to complete the drawings. Through the book, you'll also learn to create textures like those on a piece of toast, metallic surface, transparent bottles, food, etc.

The only downside is the source photos could have been printed much bigger, perhaps one page so that people can see the subjects bigger. For example, it's not easy to make out the details of small seashells in one of the lessons.

Highly recommend to all who loves to draw.

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

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