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Reviews Written by
Parka (Singapore)

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Sorayama: XL - Masterworks Edition
Sorayama: XL - Masterworks Edition
by Hajime Sorayama
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 97.14
22 used & new from CDN$ 80.57

5.0 out of 5 stars Incredible Sorayama art collection, Nov. 3 2014
This is quite an incredible book and collection of artworks from Japanese artist Hajime Sorayama. Publisher Edition Skylight had actually published the first edition of the book in 2010 as a 448-page hardcover. With this new edition, a couple more pages of artworks were added.

It's one heck of a tome. Huge, about 9 by 12 inches, hardcover, 464 pages thick. The paper quality and binding are great.

The book's quite heavy so there might be additional weight surcharge depending on your shipping method and where you ship to.

There's not much text so it's basically art throughout. The pages are packed with huge reproductions of Sorayama's beautiful erotic art plus the shiny chrome robots. It's just so awe-inspiring to look at so much high quality art.

Sorayama has a masterly ability to draw beautiful women. Needless to say, many of the images are explicit. There are ladies in their evocative poses as well as scenes of bondage.

The technical prowess as an artist is at full display page after page. The details are amazing such as the way he draws the textures of the skin, clothing, or design of the bondage equipment, how he handles metallic chrome texture, lighting and colouring. The realism is fantastic.

Unfortunately, the artworks are not captioned so there's no way to know when they were created. It will be quite unbelievable to know that he's this good even at the start of his career.

Overall, it's a stunning collection of work from Sorayama. Those who are into erotic art or pin-ups should definitely check out this book.

(See more pictures of the book on my blog. Just visit my Amazon profile for the link. Usually I would post a flipping-page video but the images are too explicit so I have the video only on my blog.)

Transformers Legacy: The Art of Transformers Packaging
Transformers Legacy: The Art of Transformers Packaging
by Jim Sorenson
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 50.20
29 used & new from CDN$ 39.64

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book for Transformers fans, Nov. 2 2014
Length:: 3:14 Mins

I love the Transformers cartoons when I was a kid. The only toy that I had was an Optimus Prime toy (shown in the book) which was a hand-me-down so I don't even know how the packaging art looks like. But this book really reminded me of the good old days of watching the cartoons.

Transformers Legacy large format 296-page hardcover artbook authored by Bill Forster and Jim Sorenson. The amount of work they did in curating 750+ artworks in this book is incredible.

As mentioned in the book, Hasbro did not retain the original art for the packaging back in those days. So the authors had to look for original art, photo negatives, style guides and other sources that could provide the quality that holds up to print. No scans were used because the conditions of old boxes were usually too lousy. As a result, the reproduction quality of the artworks quite good.

To see all these packaging art in one book is quite amazing. There are so many of them. It's quite fun just looking at all the interesting names of the Transformers. Most of the artworks show just the robot versions. Also included are a handful of concept art drafts. There are also a few double page splash art with massive battle scenes of showing transformation in progress.

The few chapters included are quite brief with only introductions.

Chapter 1 starts off with the Classic Era, toys introduced in the 1984 and 1985. Chapter two has the toys from 1986 to 1988 excluding some sub-lines. Hasbro transitioned from toys licensed from Japanese companies to creating their own.

Chapter Three covers Scramble City, the Japanese name for the teams of interchangeable combiners. There are seven groups that form the product lines from 1986 to 1988.

Chapter four covers the Nebulan Era. Headmasters, Targetmasters and Powermasters form the product lines in 1987 and 1988.

Chapter Five has the Pretenders. Six has the Micromasters. Seven, the Action Masters.

Generation 2 moved towards using more computer generated graphics. In 1996, Generation 2 was cancelled and the Beast Wars line was introduced. The artistic style was very much different from the air-brushed style so the authors used that as a stopping point for the book. Even so, the number artworks already clocked in at about 750 pieces.

Basically, there are so many toy lines it can get a bit confusing. I'm not sure if all the toys from the within the time period are included, but then this is already quite an immense collection for the 80-90s toys.

This is a truly awesome book for Transformers fans out there, especially those who collect the toys.

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

The Worlds of Sam Kieth, Vol. 1
The Worlds of Sam Kieth, Vol. 1
by Sam Kieth
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 63.31
9 used & new from CDN$ 56.81

5.0 out of 5 stars Sam Kieth's 256-page sketchbook, Nov. 2 2014
Length:: 1:39 Mins

The Worlds of Sam Kieth is the autobiography artbook of American comic book writer and illustrator Sam Kieth. He's more known as the creator of The Maxx, Zero Girl, and My Inner Bimbo.

This artbook isn't about his commercial works, although there are some but those are not the focus. It's more like a sketchbook or scrapbook for his personal works, art that look like they were created spontaneously.

There are lots of sketches, doodles, colour pencil works, comic panel drafts, paintings and other art experiments. By art experiments, I mean he would draw on leather, there are pieces with surface finishing that resemble granite textures, and then there's the cover art (the sides) that you can't tell that is created from something that could actually be soil.

Sam Kieth also talks about his work. The book starts off with a rather weird introduction by an alter-ego created by Sam Keith. Thankfully, the rest are first-person commentary.

There are quite a lot of photos of the artworks taken with a camera. Those can be quite disorientating to look at because the artworks are meant to be view flat on. Some of those artworks are quite impossible to scan because of the media that's used to create them.

The book description says the content are mainly entirely new pieces of art.

Well, this is a book for Sam Kieth fans. It's hard for me to describe the style except to say that you'll probably want to flip through before buying.

The book has 256 pages, hardcover. It's another good artist-centric artbook from IDW Publishing.

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

Fun With A Pencil
Fun With A Pencil
by Andrew Loomis
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 34.48
39 used & new from CDN$ 30.03

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars More on cartoon-like figures. For Beginners, Nov. 2 2014
This review is from: Fun With A Pencil (Hardcover)
Length:: 0:48 Mins

This is the fifth book from Andrew Loomis that's reprinted by Titan Books. It's a well done reprint yet again.

This book is more light-hearted compared to the other Andrew Loomis drawing books. It's almost like Figure Drawing for All It's Worth except you get to draw more cartoon-like characters. The figures have more caricature features, with more exaggerations. But the underlying drawing principles remain the same, such as the construction of the head and body. There are lots of examples.

The main section is on drawing the head. The other lessons look at body proportions, poses, hands and feet, clothing, perspective, and lighting and shadow. Those lessons are short but do cover enough material for you to get started.

I'll recommend it to beginners who are looking to draw more cartoon-like characters. If you want to draw more standard human figures, you should get Figure Drawing for All It's Worth.

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

Sketching on Location
Sketching on Location
by Matthew Brehm
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 129.95
14 used & new from CDN$ 77.17

5.0 out of 5 stars Your guide to sketching outdoors, Nov. 2 2014
This review is from: Sketching on Location (Paperback)
Length:: 1:14 Mins

Sketching on Location by Matthew Brehm is like a textbook on sketching, and it reads like one. The introduction even has a history on sketching from the days when people were drawing on parchment before paper was invented, to the present day where sketches are shared online.

There are lots of useful tips and techniques on sketching written in a conversational tone. Many of these tips can actually be found in other drawing books but this book focuses on drawing on location, hence all the examples are location drawings.

Using the sketch examples that Brehm drew himself, he talks about techniques like sighting and measuring, choosing subjects, setup and composition, perspective, applying value, using colours and including miscellaneous backgrounds for context. The book covers just enough of the basic sketching fundamentals and the instructions are explained very clearly. And there's insightful commentary as Brehm talks about the sketches he made.

This book is actually quite similar in scope with another book called Freehand Drawing and Discovery: Urban Sketching and Concept Drawing for Designers by James Richards. This book provides slightly more info on technical drawing skills though. The authors present the topics differently though from their perspective.

If you're a beginner starting out, I would also recommend Keys to Drawing. That's more hands-on to complement Brehm's book.

It's a good book overall but I felt that selling it at 57 dollars is quite pricy. It's a 176-page paperback and the paper feels like textbook quality paper -- soft.

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

The Art of Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2: Revenge of the Leftovers
The Art of Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2: Revenge of the Leftovers
by Tracey Miller-Zarneke
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 44.58
24 used & new from CDN$ 21.06

5.0 out of 5 stars Sumptuous visual treat, Nov. 2 2014
Length:: 1:23 Mins

This art book for Cloudy's sequel is just as good as the first art book.

This is a very well done companion art book to the movie Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2. It's hardcover with 144 pages. The front cover is actually a gatefold that when opened up shows a beautiful landscape painting of the Swallow Falls with the wonderful food creatures. On the back of that cover is a 3-page colour script, essentially the storyboard from start to the ending.

The book covers the characters and creature designs, and the production designs for the environment and props.

Every page is filled with wonderful art.

As most of the characters are featured in the earlier art book, the emphasis here is the commentary on how they have changed since we last saw them. The extra characters are Chester V, Barb, Thinkquanauts, Sentinels of Safety and the other Live Corp employees.

The creature designs are for the foodimals, the complex food-based organisms (or the mutant food-inspired creatures as I would call them) created by the Food Replicator. Those foodimal designs are great, whimsical and creative. There are lots of hilariously cute foodimals with funny names, such as Cheespider, Tacodile, Watermelophant, Shrimpanzees and more. Their designs are almost as wacky as those from The Croods except they are made of food here.

Environment art are beautiful too. There are San Franjose city, Live Corp and the evolved Swallow Falls. The colour palette and shapes look inspired by Mary Blair and Maurice Noble.

In addition to the art, a scratch-and-sniff stickers booklet is included. The moment you open it, you can smell something sweet. The stickers are of the adorable foodimals. Each foodimal will have their own smell based on the food or fruit they are created from.

This book is a sumptuous visual treat. Recommended for fans of the film and art.

Alright, some technicalities to point out. There were two publishers for the first art book. It seems there are also two publishers for this book, namely Cameron + Company and Titan Books. I wanted to point this out because Titan Books left out some content in their version of the first book, namely the scent stick booklet and other stuff. I'm not sure if they did the same here as I only have the Cameron + Company version.

And from what I surmise, the Cameron + Company's published book is for the USA audience, and Titan Books is for the rest.

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

Machine Rendering
Machine Rendering
by Vincent Zhao
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 44.96
23 used & new from CDN$ 33.47

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Recommended to those who like sci-fi art and robotic art, Nov. 2 2014
This review is from: Machine Rendering (Paperback)
Machine Rendering is a 192-page paperback on sci-fi machines, robots, mechas, vehicles, war machine, spacecrafts, etc. This book is actually part of the Fantasy+ series and is authored by Vincent Zhao.

There are apparently different publishers for the book. The Asian edition is published by Basheer Graphic Books. The other one by Gingko Press.

There's a huge variety of concept designs from artists over the world. There are crab-like robots, dooms-day type, military looking, utilitarian, clean and sleek and even cute ones. The details are wonderful. The artists get the textures right. Only a handful are modeled in 3D.

Included are interviews with Scott Robertson, Iwo Widulinski, Ben Mauro, Soren Bent and Guo Feng.

Nice book. Recommended to those who like sci-fi art and robotic art.

Valkyria Chronicles 3: Complete Artworks
Valkyria Chronicles 3: Complete Artworks
by Sega
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 44.94
19 used & new from CDN$ 29.45

5.0 out of 5 stars Third time as good, Nov. 2 2014
Length:: 1:13 Mins

Valkyria Chronicles 3: Complete Artworks continues in the same style as Valkyria Chronicles Design Archive and Valkyria Chronicles 2: World Artworks, the two earlier art books.

It's translated by Udon from the Japanese edition that was published in 2011. There are 256 pages in this paperback.

It's basically the concept art book and visual guide for the game. There are illustrations for characters, weapons, vehicles, scenes, storyboards, a bit of environment art and other promotional materials.

Character designs still form the main bulk of the book. There are sketches and many variations to look at. Some characters are from the previous games. For a military establishment, the military uniforms are as non-standardised as they can get. Even so, with a common art direction, you still see that they are from the same army.

What might interest fans would be the extensive commentary provided by the design notes, character profiles and story summaries.

It seems that the game wasn't released in English. If don't know Japanese and can't play the PSP game but still want to follow the series, then this art book will be great for you.

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

Haruhi Suzumiya Illustrations: Spring & Summer
Haruhi Suzumiya Illustrations: Spring & Summer
by Kadokawa Shoten
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 45.21
18 used & new from CDN$ 38.82

5.0 out of 5 stars Haruhi Suzumiya in anime style, Nov. 2 2014
Length:: 1:09 Mins

You might remember that I've also reviewed another art book earlier called Haruhi-ism: Noizi Ito Artworks. That one features the comic art of Noizi Ito while this one features the anime art. So you can get both books and not worry about duplication. This book is also thicker at 176 pages. It's a paperback with good paper.

The art book is large and all the illustrations inside are also printed large, to the edge of the pages. The illustrations are for anime magazines, CD jackets, posters and other merchandise.

The artworks are beautiful. Colours are vibrant. Characters are animated and full of life. There's sunshine, beach, and fun, and more. I sort of prefer the anime-style art compared to the manga art versions.

There are illustrations from various artists, namely Shoko Ikeda, Futoshi Nishiya, Yukiko Horiguchi, Tomoe, Aratani, Yasuhiro Takemoto, Seiichi Kitake and Kazuya Sakamoto. At the back, you can see their rough sketches and a brief career profile.

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

Star Trek: The Art of Juan Ortiz
Star Trek: The Art of Juan Ortiz
by Juan Oritz
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 32.38
44 used & new from CDN$ 15.49

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book for Star Trek Original Series fans, Nov. 2 2014
Length:: 1:13 Mins

Fans of Star Trek: The Original Series would probably find this book rather nostalgic. This is a movie poster artbook created by Juan Ortiz for the TV series.

Juan Ortiz started with a movie poster he created for one episode, liked it so much he created a whole bunch of them, one for each episode for the three seasons, including the unaired pilot 'The Cage'. There are 80 episodes in all.

The art style is retro and looks great. The colours look like they are faded on purpose to create that old look from the 60s. For some posters, he even created the folded crumpled paper look, as if the poster had just been taken out from some box.

In terms of design, you can see the influence from Juan Ortiz's background in editorial illustrations from the use of typography, composition, reverse colour fills. There are the strong shapes probably created by a vector graphics software. Compared to photographic movie posters, these Star Trek posters stand on their own for their composition and play of space (pun not intended).

The last few pages contain the index with commentary. The index comes with list of titles with one memorable quote from each, and Juan Ortiz talking about his designs.

This is a huge hardcover measuring almost 14 by 10 inches. The paper's low gloss. All the posters are nicely reproduced, printed to the edge. You'll be able to find the printed posters that sell separately online. But if you want the whole collection in one handy book, this is it.

Recommended to all Star Trek Original Series fans.

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

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