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Parka (Singapore)
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The Art of Space: The History of Space Art, from the Earliest Visions to the Graphics of the Modern Era
The Art of Space: The History of Space Art, from the Earliest Visions to the Graphics of the Modern Era
by Ron Miller
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 24.45
28 used & new from CDN$ 24.45

5.0 out of 5 stars Visual treat to fans of space and sci-fi art, Nov. 19 2014
Longueur :: 1:49 Min

The Art of Space is a wonderful artbook collecting artworks that have been created about space by prominent artists of the past and present.

Author and artist Ron MIller has provided an in-depth and engaging writeup on the history of space art dating to the 19th century when artists were just starting to look to space for subjects to paint. Some of the early works include illustrations to accompany Jules Verne's novels.

Content of the book is arranged by subject matter, namely Planets & Moons, Stars & Galaxies, Spaceships & Space Stations, & Space Colonies & Cities and lastly Aliens. Throughout the book, there are special features on selected artists and space events, such as the Great Moon Hoax of 1835 and a few others.

The book's filled with beautiful artworks from over two centuries. You'll be able to see the beautiful paintings of Chesley Bonestell, Ron Miller himself, Chris Foss's stylish depictions, Pierre Mion's view of space colony, H.R. Giger's aliens and many other artists and their creations of planet terrain, astronauts, spaceships and stations and the nebula sky.

The artworks could be traditionally drawn with pen and ink, or pencils, woodcut, oil painted, or digital paintings that look almost photo-realistic. These are either standalone pieces or those created for book covers, posters and magazines. There are over 350 pieces of work included in this 224-page artbook. Each artwork comes with a brief description but unfortunately the date is not included.

Overall, the book's a fantastic visual treat to fans of space and sci-fi art, and there's interesting information on the history and pioneers of space art and evolution.

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

Marc Davis: Walt Disney's Renaissance Man
Marc Davis: Walt Disney's Renaissance Man
by Disney Book Group
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 25.08
36 used & new from CDN$ 25.08

4.0 out of 5 stars Good book, Nov. 17 2014
Longueur :: 1:55 Min

Marc Davis is certainly one of the master animator and draftsman Disney has ever hired. He has worked on iconic characters such as Cinderella, Alice (in Wonderland), Tinker Bell, Maleficent and Cruella De Vil.

This book is a retrospect of his work and the influence he has over other artists. I was actually expecting some sort of biography but there's only a short two-page worth of text on his life and career written by veteran animation writer John Canemaker. The rest of the text are essays from Davis peers and those who know him, such as Andreas Deja, Glen Keane, Pete Docter, Charles Solomon, Don Hahn and others. Reading about Marc Davis through the account of other animators and artists is still every bit as engaging.

There's also a chapter written by Marc Davis himself based on excerpts of his notes for an unpublished books. This chapter talks about anatomy of motion and provides some drawing tips.

The pictures in the book is a mixture of photographs of Davis and his family, him at work, personal sketches, animation artworks from Disney and his paintings. His sketches are lively and the designs are always clear. The characters have their characteristic stance that really brings out their personalities.

Besides the pencil sketches, there are also coloured design drawings he did for Disney theme parks. The back portion of the book features his paintings which are not too animation-looking like, but gives us an idea of his personal expression. Last chapter is on his wife Alice Davis with some accompanying artworks from her as well.

This book has been getting some flak from other reviewers who commented on the lack of more pictures. I wasn't familiar with Marc Davis' work beforehand but after a quick search online, I can see many of his artworks, but I can also say that many of those in this book are not available online.

It's a good book.

The Art of Robert E McGinnis
The Art of Robert E McGinnis
by Robert E. McGinnis
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 24.42
32 used & new from CDN$ 24.42

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic artbook for an amazing artist, Nov. 16 2014
Fans of Robert E McGinnis' art will be delighted with this book. And those who don't know who he is will be surprised by his stunning work.

Born in 1926, McGinnis started his career early in 1947. However he didn't start painting paperback covers until 1958. But after he started, he has painted over a thousand of them, on top of other illustrations he has created for movies and magazines. He is one of the great illustrations who is as inspiring as Norman Rockwell, Andrew Wyeth, Coby Whitmore, Drew Struzan.

This 176-page hardcover features over six decades worth of splendid work. The paper quality used is low gloss and reproduction quality is fantastic. Bravo to publisher Titan Books.

Actually, there was another McGinnis artbook published in 2000 titled Tapestry: The Paintings of Robert E. McGinnis. There are some duplication of artworks but this book is still worth getting because it has included works from 2000 to 2014, Yes, McGinnis is still painting today.

The book starts of with a lengthy interview by author Art Scott with the artist and is followed by the galleries of artworks.

You'll get to see the cover art that has adorned paperback titles of the past, iconic movie posters such as for Breakfast at Tiffany's and James Bond, works for various magazines, his personal paintings of nudes, Western and contemporary landscapes. Among which you'll see the many stunning 'McGinnis women'. His style, sense of aesthetics and colours are amazing.

One cover was deemed to saucy and had a sticker pasted strategically over the offending bit.

The accompanying text has McGinnis sharing his creative process, insights from his career and some stories behind the selected pieces of works. He talks about elaborate wraparound art that require meticulous research and extensive model shoots, movie posters that require countless iterations, paintings for men's magazines where he did not want to be associated with, and other interesting stuff. Not only that, I also enjoyed reading the descriptions of those paperbacks, such as one that has "Man, she had a shape to make corpses kick open caskets - and she was dead set on giving me rigor mortis."

Most of the time, the artworks are reproduced in their raw form without the other forms of typography or designs. Even when actual book covers are used, the art is not obscured because McGinnis had taken into account the space for the book titles and other text elements.

This wonderful artbook will make a fine addition to the shelves of any art lovers.

Highly recommended.

One of my favourites for 2014.

Interstellar: Beyond Time and Space
Interstellar: Beyond Time and Space
by Mark Cotta Vaz
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 32.60
29 used & new from CDN$ 28.22

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great book marred by some printing issues, Nov. 16 2014
Longueur :: 1:44 Min

This is a nice movie companion book for Christopher Nolan's Interstellar.

It's an insightful writeup on the making of the film with wonderful accompanying photographs and artworks. Nolan's directing philosophy is still the same as in previous films, such as in The Dark Knight Trilogy, preferring to use real sets over CGI graphics. So this book covers the different sets that he has to build, and the locations used for other planets.

There are lots of interesting details. You'll learn how they created the look of zero gravity, shooting in Iceland where winds can go up to 100mph, where the idea for the Tesseract came from and how they build the set, where they find the farm and got the farmer to actually plant acres of corn, Anne Hathaway's spacesuit had a zip not fully closed and soaked herself while jumping into the water, how dust was created and many other things that happen behind the scenes.

The book talks about the story quite a bit so you must definitely watch the film first.

They actually got Kip Thorne, a professor of theoretical physics, to be an associate producer for the film, and his equations provided some of the visual imagery represented on screen as the worm hole. Those equations on the chalkboard are from Thorne, not professor Brand or Murph.

However, if you know a bit of space and science, then you may be disappointed that the book does not cover the really technical and geeky parts, basically the possible plot holes, things like how space travel is possible with a ship like Endurance, how far it is before you get pulled in by the black hole, etc.

Overall, it's a well done film companion. Those who enjoyed the film should enjoy this book as well. I find it intriguing enough to finish reading in one sitting.

The only downside to this book is the problem with sticky pages. My copy has several pages that stick together. They can be pulled apart but sometimes the paint gets peeled off and leaves tiny white spots over the area. You might want to wait for a reprint or contact the publisher Running Press to get it sorted out.

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

The Art of Assassin's Creed Unity
The Art of Assassin's Creed Unity
by Paul Davies
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 25.04
36 used & new from CDN$ 25.04

5.0 out of 5 stars Another wonderful Assassin's Creed artbook, Nov. 15 2014
Longueur :: 2:21 Min

Nice. Another wonderful artbook to the Assassin's Creed series.

I like Assassin's Creed artbooks because they usually feature beautiful landscape artworks of historical places from the past. In Unity, it's in Paris during the French Revolution. Presentation style is similar to the earlier artbooks with a good mixture of character designs and environment art.

The costume designs for all the characters are beautiful and detailed. I've always wondered how people in those times managed with so many layers of clothing and how heavy they weigh with all those accessories and weapons hanging all around. Almost all the characters are male except Elise De La Serre.

The other artworks are all on the landscapes, interiors and key scenes. It's really cool to see how the artists interpret old Paris. There are the rooftops of Paris with their familiar chimneys. exquisite monuments such as the Conciergerie, Notre Dame, Eiffel Tower and other landmarks and less savoury places. There are some really nice textures going on that show the nitty-grittiness of the places. I really enjoy looking at the architecture design of buildings at that time.

The artworks are generally beautiful although some pieces are quite rough, thankfully in minority. Composition for most of the environment art are fantastic, and really captures the scenes well.

The book a 192-page hardcover. There's also a 500-copies limited slipcase edition that comes with two signed art prints from Ludovic Ribardière and Gilles Beloeil. For the limited edition, you've to get it from publisher Titan Book's website

It's a great companion to the video game.

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

The Zen Drawing Pack: The Art of Thoughtful Drawing
The Zen Drawing Pack: The Art of Thoughtful Drawing
by Michelle Dujardin
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 15.87
22 used & new from CDN$ 10.82

4.0 out of 5 stars Zen drawing concepts, Nov. 13 2014
The Zen Drawing Pack is an instructional book that teaches drawing using some of the Buddhism concepts. Many of these concepts get you to relax, go with the flow, to prevent yourself from getting distracted, sometimes to think purposefully, and sometimes to let go. The objective of the book is probably to get you to enjoy the drawing process and not to worry too much about the result.

This is actually a two-book pack. The first book is The Miracle of Zen Drawing which talks about Buddhism and Zen. The second book is a journal with exercises followed by blank pages you can draw on. There are also two pencils provided. No sharpeners though.

Most of the exercises are contour drawing exercises where you have to observe something and draw. It's about going with the flow. There aren't any technical drawing techniques such as using proportion to get an accurate drawing because the focus is not on getting an accurate drawing.

This book's emphasis is on the process of drawing rather than the end result of drawing. I felt that there's overemphasis on contour drawing. There's on exercise that ask you to draw a self portrait, and without any knowledge of proportion drawing, it's not easy to get some likeness. The book even talks about balance, like how you should put in the details, and how sometimes you should make the drawing simpler but in this case, it's always teaching about the latter.

For people who are too critical or judgemental about your own work, this book should give you a different perspective to think about. I find it's a form of relaxation going through the exercises. I'm someone who likes to put a lot of details in my drawings so this book also helps me in the sense that I would worry less about the end result and enjoy the moment of drawing.

4 out of 5 stars.

The Urban Sketching Handbook: Architecture and Cityscapes: Tips and Techniques for Drawing on Location
The Urban Sketching Handbook: Architecture and Cityscapes: Tips and Techniques for Drawing on Location
by Gabriel Campanario
Edition: Flexibound
Price: CDN$ 14.43
36 used & new from CDN$ 9.38

4.0 out of 5 stars Good for beginners but a bit too brief, Nov. 6 2014
Longueur :: 1:30 Min

I managed to get this book early here in Singapore because apparently there are two publishers for the book. One's Basheer Graphic Books and the other is Quarry Books. Basheer distributes for Asia and the book is out in Asia first.

The Urban Sketching Handbook: Architecture and Cityscapes is almost A5 size but smaller as in it it's more vertical. It's a paperback with 112 pages and comes with a rubber band to hold the covers together, like some sketchbooks do.

Gabriel Campanario is a staff artist at The Seattle Times and also the founder of UrbanSketchers.org, an online community dedicated to location sketching. I've followed his personal blog as well as the Urban Sketchers blog for a long time and some of his work and those from other sketchers are included in this book.

The drawing tips in the book are actually contributed by the guest artists including Gabriel Campanario himself. They are written in a concise manner, usually not more than three sentences. Each sketch also comes listed with the tools used. I can imagine that could be quite dangerous to the wallets of those who like to experiment with drawing tools.

An important point to note is this is not a technical or in-depth book on architecture, or for that matter, a technical book on drawing with rules to follow. For example, it talks about vanishing points, and about buildings in perspective with the usual two vanishing points plus building example, but it does not go too much in detail and just focuses on common perspective problems people face. The basic foundation of observation drawing is understanding proportions, and while that is not explicitly taught, there are several tips based on proportion. Another example is that you can create depth using varying tonal values, but the exact techniques of creating those tonal values are not mentioned, and of course the technique will depend on your tool.

This is more like a book that compliments other drawing books, and here it focuses on drawing at urban spaces, the buildings and architecture.

From page 77 onwards, there are galleries featuring pen, pencil, watercolour and mixed media works from other artists. The commentary are the artists' thoughts on using the tools and there are also some drawing tips.

This book is for beginners who know basic drawing, and they can use the tips to improve their sketches in the different areas taught, namely composition, scale, depth, contrast, line and creativity.

Overall, I wish the book could be more technical, but for the price it's still quite worth the purchase.

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

Sketch!: The Non-Artist's Guide to Inspiration, Technique, and Drawing Daily Life
Sketch!: The Non-Artist's Guide to Inspiration, Technique, and Drawing Daily Life
by France Belleville-Van Stone
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 15.87
42 used & new from CDN$ 10.92

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring and motivating, Nov. 6 2014
Longueur :: 1:22 Min

I was quite excited when I knew that France Belleville-Van Stone was coming up with a book. I follow her blog where she posts her drawings from daily life, be it sketches from the living room, backs of her colleagues during a meeting, cars, shoes, or her cat Peaches. I like the style of her pen and ink drawings, and just her art in general.

The book Sketch! is a 134-page paperback with rounded corners. The pages are designed to look like textured paper, and her encouraging text and beautiful drawings are printed on them. It's a nice presentation.

This book gives us a personal account of her artistic journey and a peek into her creative process. It's one where she shares about her drawing experience, and in finding time to draw. This is more like a book on ideas rather than techniques. The inspiration comes from reading through her personal experiences.

She talks about the drawing supplies that she uses, basic techniques in brief, what and where to draw when time is limited, drawing digital on the tablet (she uses iPad), and finally a list of subjects to draw listed alphabetically. If you follow her art blog, this book is like the behind-the-scenes guidebook to what she does, topics I wished were written on her blog but weren't.

I find it inspiring that she can find time to draw even when she's a busy mum and French teacher — I always imagined she teaches art because of all her drawings. She gives helpful tips and suggestions on what you can draw with limited time, on handling expectations and dealing with the excuses that you might give yourself for not drawing enough. As someone who likes to draw, I could relate to many of the issues mentioned.

It's a motivating and inspiring book. Recommended to sketchers and artists.

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

Walk the Line: The Art of Drawing
Walk the Line: The Art of Drawing
by Ana Ibarra
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 32.60
39 used & new from CDN$ 32.60

5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful traditional media drawing showcase, Nov. 5 2014
Longueur :: 2:04 Min

Walk the Line: The Art of Drawing is a delightful collection of artworks that celebrate traditional drawing.

This is a thick 320-page hardcover authored by Ana Ibarra and Marc Valli. The cover is those cardboard cut off at the sides, and the pages are off white, non glossy.

The work curated and showcased are outstanding. Well, there are 66 artists so you get to see a huge variety of work. The media used are mainly pencils, graphite, charcoal, ballpoint and ink. These artists are masters of the tools they use. It's quite amazing what effects the tools can produce, such as realistic fur drawings with pencils, the textures created by ballpoint pen hatching. The illustrations are really beautiful, detailed.

It's difficult for me to pick any particular artist or piece and say that's my favourite. Every artwork is unique and has their own charm, some alluring element. All are inspiring to look at, be it portraiture, pattern designs, animals or scenes from imagination.

Each artist also has a short profile talking about their background, techniques, style and other stuff.

Highly recommended to those who like contemporary art and illustration in traditional medium.

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

Haruhi Suzumiya Illustrations: Autumn & Winter
Haruhi Suzumiya Illustrations: Autumn & Winter
by Kadokawa Shoten
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 31.31
40 used & new from CDN$ 31.31

5.0 out of 5 stars Haruhi Suzumiya in anime style, Nov. 5 2014
Longueur :: 1:10 Min

This artbook continues in the same style as the earlier Haruhi Suzumiya Illustrations: Spring & Summer.

The book's still paperback but has slightly thicker at 192 pages.

Haruhi Suzumiya and her friends are still having as much fun. The anime style drawings are wonderful to look at. Beautiful and printed huge. The concert illustrations are some of my favourites in the book.

I can't really see much difference with the autumn theme. For the winter theme, the girls are in their long sleeve uniforms with scarfs, sometimes in Santa costume. Most of the time, they are in all sorts of pretty dresses.

The artworks are for anime magazines, CD jackets, posters and other merchandise. In terms of actual illustrations, there are 176 pages, so you can imagine how much merchandise and promotional art there is.

The back pages are drafts complete with commentary from artists Shoko Ikeda, Kazumi Ikeda, Futoshi Nishiya and Yukiko Horiguchi.

Great book set for all fans of Haruhi Suzumiya.

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

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