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Parka (Singapore)
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Freehand: Sketching Tips and Tricks Drawn from Art
Freehand: Sketching Tips and Tricks Drawn from Art
by Helen Birch
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 16.57
27 used & new from CDN$ 4.79

5.0 out of 5 stars Book of interesting drawing ideas, Nov. 2 2014
Length:: 1:25 Mins

Freehand is a book of sketching tips and techniques that invite you to experiment with them. The author Helen Birch is an artist and drawing lecturer based in UK.

There are more than a hundred ideas and techniques featured by different artists. There are doodles, collages, intricate pieces, realistic ones, illustrations and many more.

The examples are rather unconventional. I like them for the unexpected nature and surprise element. For example, some would like to draw on graph papers to make use of the grid lines and some like to wash their paper with colour before painting. There's one who draw on styrofoam cups, others create collages using paper and scissors. There are artists who talk about using subdued colour, bright colours, layered colours or even no colours such as the use of silhouettes.

Anyway, you can check out selected page previews on Amazon. And this book is available as a Kindle edition also.

Freehand is not strictly about art created traditionally. Some artists would use graphics software to touch up. There really aren't any rules, just that all the examples start off hand drawn.

At the back is a brief section on drawing fundamentals. They cover line, tones, colours and materials. It's all elementary stuff for the beginners.

This is an ideas book essentially, rather than a technical book that teaches you how to draw.

If you like doodling, sketching or drawing for fun, or looking for ideas and inspiration to get started, this is a good book to check out.

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

d'artiste Matte Painting 3
d'artiste Matte Painting 3
by David Luong
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 75.16
17 used & new from CDN$ 68.85

5.0 out of 5 stars Terrific matte painting resource, Nov. 2 2014
Length:: 1:52 Mins

Matte Painting 3 is an indispensable book that explains how beautiful and intricate matte paintings are created. It's a reference book complete with tutorials as well as an artbook with galleries of artworks.

The book has 240 pages, not 192 pages as listed on Amazon. It comes with a slip case.

In addition, there's an interesting foreword by Michael Pangrazio, one of the pioneer matte painters in the industry, and the senior art director at Weta now. He recounts the history of matte painting through his experiences and provides advice through eight pages of Q&A.

The three matte painters featured are David Luong, Damien Mace and Milan Schere. They have worked for Diablo III, StarCraft II, World of Warcraft, Game of Thrones, Avatar, Harry Potter, Sherlock Holmes, Dredd and The Three Musketeers. They are some serious industry professionals who have worked on big titles.

Each of these painters talks about their past projects, the type of software used, workflow, their inspiration and thoughts about the future. They also have to answer a rather out of place question thrown in at the end "Would you rather slay the dragon, or rescue the princess?" which I found rather amusing. Well, unlike Mario, they all chose to slay dragons. Oops. Spoiler!

There are 10 tutorials in all. The first four tutorials are landscape pieces of wide open spaces, such as forest, barren rocky wasteland, with the occasional beautiful castle, structure in the background. The next six tutorials are from Milan Schere. His tutorials are of places where people are more likely seen, e.g. container park, aerial of a town, Time Square, castles and a town. With the latter tutorials, there's more emphasis on perspective as there are more buildings and structures involved, especially in the foreground.

All the tutorials are detailed step by step walkthrough with screenshots. They show how photo references are used, and how images are blended together. There are tips on achieving realism and they discuss all the little details that make for a successful matte painting. The process is elaborate and the tutorials are very insightful.

Besides the tutorials, there are also galleries featuring lots of great matte paintings. The three painters have their own galleries and there are invited guest galleries as well. Commentary is provided by the three painters for every example.

This is a great book. Resources on matte painting techniques are not easy to find. So this makes the book very useful for those who want to learn the craft or improve their skills.

Highly recommended to matte painters and those interesting in matte painting. You probably would need to be an intermediate artist to get the best out of the tutorials.

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

Pen & Ink Drawing
Pen & Ink Drawing
by Frank J. Lohan
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 14.78
13 used & new from CDN$ 7.28

4.0 out of 5 stars Less technical than his earlier book, Nov. 2 2014
This review is from: Pen & Ink Drawing (Paperback)
Length:: 0:45 Mins

I've reviewed Frank Lohan's earlier book on pen and ink drawing called Pen and Ink Techniques. This book is less technical than that book.

The illustrated examples are typical pen and ink perennial favourites such as barns, bridges, farms, wooden houses, countryside, waterside, plants, animals and trees.

Frank Lohan would talk about the subjects he draws, such as places he visits and sights that catch his attention. It's followed by an explanation of how he drew, the techniques and approach he used which are fairly helpful to know.

As I've said, it's not a very technical book. It's a book where you learn by copying what you see. For example, there are many illustrated examples on different kinds of hatching. For shadowed areas, it says to go over the area to make it darker but there's no elaborate instruction on how you layer the lines, choosing the angle of the lines, distance between the lines.

This is sort of a supplement book on whatever pen and ink drawing techniques you've already known. If you're a beginner, you should probably go for more hands-on books like Pen and Ink Techniques or the more comprehensive Rendering in Pen and Ink.

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

Digital Art Masters: Volume 8
Digital Art Masters: Volume 8
by 3DTotal Team
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 39.19
19 used & new from CDN$ 39.19

5.0 out of 5 stars Great addition to the series, Nov. 2 2014
Length:: 1:26 Mins

This is another insightful volume for the Digital Art Masters series.

50 artists are included and each one walks you through the process on how they created their artwork. There are examples from different styles of art, such as 3D, landscape, concept art, character designs, etc. It's illuminating to see and read about how the work evolves at each step of the workflow. The artworks included as wonderful.

Siamak Roshani, winner for the Portrait (Rendered) category in EXPOSE 11, also has a tutorial here. Other notable pieces would be the one with angel and death playing cards over someone else's deathbed by Hu Zheng and the hyper realistic 3D render of Bruce Lee by Alexander Beim. There are several sci-fi themed pieces with robots, mechas, spaceships and aliens. It's very impressive showcase of work all around.

The book has 288 pages instead of the 320 that Amazon has listed wrongly.

Highly recommended to digital artists.

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

Art Fundamentals: Color, Light, Composition, Anatomy, Perspective, and Depth
Art Fundamentals: Color, Light, Composition, Anatomy, Perspective, and Depth
by Gilles Beloeil
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 39.19
22 used & new from CDN$ 39.19

4.0 out of 5 stars A book of tips on art fundamentals, Nov. 2 2014
Length:: 1:25 Mins

Art Fundamentals looks at the elements that contribute to a successful piece of art.

The fundamentals covered in the book includes light and colour, composition, perspective and depth, and anatomy.

It's written by several guest artists, among them Gilles Beloeil (Assassin's Creed), Andrei Riabovitchev (Harry Potter films), Roberto F. Castro and Matt Smith. The artists provide their own examples and commentary.

There are whole books written specifically for each of those subjects mentioned earlier. Having four in a book, I felt that the depth of coverage is sacrificed at times. So do not expect in-depth complete coverage on each subject. Think of this as a book of tips rather than a detailed practice-along instructional book.

The chapter on light and colour has 27 pages only. It's brief considering it's a huge subject - James Gurney wrote over 200 pages on the same subject in his book Color and Light. Here Gilles Beloeil uses his Assassin's Creed concept art as examples and talks about the fundamentals of lighting.

The next chapter on composition deals with the indispensable golden ratio. There are many useful composition diagrams and example paintings that highlight the importance of strong composition. The concepts are easy to grasp and the subject is sufficiently covered.

Next is perspective and depth. There are basics of 1,2 & 3-point perspectives, and vanishing points of course. What's missing are the rational behind using the different point perspectives and the placement of viewpoint positions. Coverage of depth is too brief. I would definitely recommend a dedicated book on learning perspective instead.

The chapter on anatomy has 76 pages. Emphasis is on muscle form of the body and there are many beautiful detailed illustrations of muscles of the torso, arms and leg. Other parts like head, nose, ears, expressions are briefly covered. There's mention of posing but not much.

The last two chapters are sizable galleries with accompanying commentary discussing each image. The first of the two talks about the paintings with attention to the art fundamentals covered in the book. The last chapter has contributing artists talk about their own artworks, specifically the concept behind. The work featured are contemporary paintings.

This book has useful tips and insights. But because of the limited space, each subject somewhat feels incomplete. Personally, I prefer books dedicated to single subject or aspect of drawing (I've listed some of my favourites in the comment section below).

I'll recommend this book to beginners, probably as a supplement to what you've already learned.

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

Battle Milk 3
Battle Milk 3
by James Gurney
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 23.96
25 used & new from CDN$ 23.96

5.0 out of 5 stars Gets better and better, Nov. 2 2014
This review is from: Battle Milk 3 (Paperback)
Length:: 1:12 Mins

The first volume of Battle Milk was published in 2008. Back then, it was just an 80-page book featuring four artists. Next came Battle Milk 2 with 128 pages from six artists.

Seems like the series is popular enough for a third volume. Again, pages are increased, this time to 160 pages.

There are now nine artists, namely Christian Alzmann, Justin Ridge, Matt Gaser, Pat Presley, David Le Merrer, Thang Le, Kilian Plunkett, Le Tang and Jackson Sze.

Battle Milk is a visual development art book. Each artist comes up with an idea or concept and brings that to life through visuals. Publisher Design Studio Press has published many such visual development art books.

The stories are told with art. Thang Le reveals ancient temples hidden in mountains using his landscape paintings. Christian Alzmann presents a dark tale about a florist in search for a rare flower. Le Tang creates concept art for with circus as a theme. Other ideas include a kid who flew to the moon, a sci-fi tale of another Earth, a planet trillions or years old and inhabited by robots, a world with mythical creatures, weird photos from "Little Shutter Boy" and a dreamscape world.

The illustrations are beautiful. Oddly enough, most of the stories use more of dark and muted colours. Each artist also talks about their creative process.

Volume 3 is the best yet with more artists and work to admire.

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

Punch Drunk Moustache: Visual Development for Animation and Beyond
Punch Drunk Moustache: Visual Development for Animation and Beyond
by Will Nichols
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 14.22
27 used & new from CDN$ 14.22

5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting artbook with a weird title, Nov. 2 2014
Length:: 1:02 Mins

Punch Drunk Moustache is an artbook that consist of work from 8 artists from the animation industry.

The artists included are Amy Beth Christenson, Max Lim, Jeff Sangalli, John-Paul Balmet, Will Nichols, Nate Watson, Sean Pando and Chris Voy.

Each artist came up with an idea and concept and developed the visuals for it. The ideas can be as weird as the title of the book.

Amy Beth Christenson was inspired by H.G. Wells and came up with WWI that's fought by giants. The concept art look like they could be used for movies. Will Nichols created a little robot with a head that resembles an afro haircut. Sean Pando tells us how dart frogs earn their colourful patterns and poisonous skin. Jeff Sangalli's Creature Hunter reminds me of Monsters Inc but the monsters here are, well, different. Other formats include a comic and an illustrated story with pictures.

And it seems like everyone has to draw their own version of that boxer with long moustache that's on the cover.

Punch Drunk Moustache is like a cocktail mixed by different people but you can still taste the distinct flavours. Interesting.

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

The Art of Brom
The Art of Brom
by Gerald Brom
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 34.45
16 used & new from CDN$ 34.45

5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing collection of more than 20 years of work, Nov. 2 2014
This review is from: The Art of Brom (Hardcover)
Length:: 1:26 Mins

So Brom has finally released an artbook collecting the work from his career. It's a great one.

It's a retrospective looking back at his past artworks, from the 90s to the present day. You can see that even back in the early years, his paintings are already quite refined, and he gets better over the years.

All the paintings are wonderfully reproduced in high resolution. The bulk of them are printed one of each page in this large hardcover artbook. There are 208 pages so there's easily more than a hundred paintings, all of them character based art in his dark fantasy style. It also includes the paintings from his written books The Child Thief, Plucker and Krampus: The Yule Lord.

There are a few pages on his childhood, art schooling days and early career. He also talks about those three written books. I feel that some bits in the middle of the timeline is missing, probably because most of the paintings don't come with additional commentary.

Interestingly, this book is from a Kickstarter project in 2012. The target was $12,000 and in the end $235,000 plus was raised with over 2000 plus backers. That says something about how well his work is regarded. It's great that the extra books are selling outside of Kickstarter.

The Art of Brom is It's an amazing collection of more than 20 years of work.

Highly recommended.

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

Pepita: Takehiko Inoue Meets Gaudi
Pepita: Takehiko Inoue Meets Gaudi
by Takehiko Inoue
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 18.17
26 used & new from CDN$ 16.80

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
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$ 23.16
28 used & new from CDN$ 23.16

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.)

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