Friday, December 21, 2012

Book Alert: Century of the Child

This is the catalog for a the 2012 MOMA Show in NYC "Century of the Child", definitely my favorite show ever seen at the MOMA. The books consists of illustrations, photographs, video stills and nicely photographed pictures from a wonderfully curated collection of toys, children's furniture, children's books, animation, educational aids and playground equipment from the 20th century. The show was really great and in fact this book is equally great and a super informative documentation of the evolution of design for children. 

I grew up in a time when skate parks and what might of been described as dangerous playgrounds and toys were being torn down, recalled, and phased out due to a society with an astoundingly itchy finger for lawsuits. The photos and sense of nostalgia of those playgrounds and the raw creativity they generated makes me realize when and where the pinnacle "play" was at.
Here's a photo and description from the show that's a perfect example of the most amazing playground;

"The 'Model' (name of the playground which was installed in a Stockholm museum) was dense, chaotic, and exuberant. An extensive wooden structure- part jungle gym, part tree house, part construction scaffolding- provided various heights from which to jump into a pit full of foam blocks below. There were ramps and slides, rope swings, water chutes, tools and building materials and endless art supplies. Completely unfettered, the children played, built, and painted the walls in a chaotic tangle of raw energy, complete with loud speakers pumping music from turntables operated by the children themselves. Few adults dared to enter this creative anarchy...(1968)"
Now that is the description of the pinnacle of play, and something we will likely never see again. 
Besides pointing out that playgrounds were initially built to discourage children from playing in the burnt out military equipment and bomb craters of post war Europa- this book tracks an entire history of playthings, from early montessori educational aids, through legos, to the Pee Wee Herman show and into some of todays most advanced robotic toys- this book is nearly complete history of Toy design in the 20th century. An amazing collection of history and reference in here for anyone interested in toy design or design for children. Highly recommended!

Century of the Child; Growing by Design 1900-2000
Tanya Harrod, Medea Hoch, Juliet Kinchin
Museum of Modern Art (August 2012)
264pgs (HC)
ISBN-10 0870708260
12 x 9.8 x 1.1

Listing for about $40 bucks on Amazon !

Tuesday, December 18, 2012


I had the opportunity to present a handful of Octonaut toy concepts- here are a couple that did not get accepted. This one started as an underwater bath toy but they changed it to a bubble toy and then it was passed up on during later meetings- and right into the circular file of my art blog

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Spiral Ramp

Had a couple product sketches presented today, they were interested in a couple to move on ward with, but not interested in this one.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


rough fresh branding

Coffee on the Brinkley's Bench

Getting chilly but still some warm sunny spots to drink my morning coffee at.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

24th and Madison

Its that time of year where you really appreciate the soft air and warm sun.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Last Express on iOS

Amused to see that they ported The Last Express to iOS. This was my first fulltime paying job after art school and really some of the funnest days in my life. 2 shifts of 4-6 animators packed into a small room rotoscoping characters 5-7 days a week. I had the night shift (4pm-12am) and became good friends with Dreamworks Consumer Products Legend; Lawrence Hamashima. Im pretty sure we were using a mouse to clean and paint all the frames, which from the comfort of my Cintiq, I find hard to imagine doing. Jordan was already pretty famous from his original Prince of Persia and for the time the entire project was really innovative and smart- and felt sort of like a punk-rock-do-whatever-you-gotta-do-to-get-it-done little studio on the edge of Telegraph Hill in pre dot com San Francisco. Ahh man, best of times, best of times. By far my favorite character I was assigned to animate was Kahina, who was Kronos's female bodyguard. Check her out! So cool. I could go on and on about those days but perhaps thats better left for a different post.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Art of Mass Effect

Here's The Art of Mass Effect Book. Pretty good look at the development process of a large Sci-Fi franchise. Lots of environments, aliens, vehicles and weapons. A lot of familiar design cues for Mass Effect mass appeal. I like this book though and the art is all really good even if its exactly what youd expect. Theres a lot of the same drawings slightly altered but thats definitely part of the process of developing something of this scale. Ive posted a few of my favorite pictures from the book above... As you can see I particularly liked the white guns. Such a great color for a gun.
Worth it for 25 bucks on Amazon

The Art of the Mass Effect Universe
Casey Hudson
Derek Watts
Chris Helper
Dark Horse Books (February 21, 2012)
184 Pages (HC)
ISBN-10: 1595827684
9 x 12 x .90

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


Home away from home @LaColombe

Thursday, October 04, 2012


You maybe shocked to hear that there's an entire industry of Christmas, while on this job I met people who work on Christmas all year round. Like full time, major trade shows around the world and everything. Here's one of the sketches from a project with the Christmas people. It's a good possibility that this ornament or one similar to it is on sale at Macy's this year.

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Kids in a variety of styles

Kid characters in a couple different styles from a summer project that went in a slightly different direction.

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

The Art and Making of Surf's Up

Here we are, Art of Surf's Up, little bit of an older book but still probably really easy to get a hold of. Obviously I love this kind of content- any sort of surfing animation and Im on board. Im especially onboard with Mr. Paul Lassaine's paintings which Ive been enjoying since the days of Prince of Egypt.
There's so many great painting of his on his blog which you can find HERE. Sooo good. Definitely on my top 5 list of visual developers in animation and film. Hes had an amazing career.
Anyways, fun book of surfing characters and locations- not the hugest fan of the making of aspects of any art of book but the technical strides the engineering team made in creating realistic, controllable, animated CG waves is pretty remarkable, and in my eyes earns enough respect to have a place in this book.
One thing worth mentioning is all the extra inserts of post cards, dvds and other little bells and whistles they added into this book (and quite a few others, Art of Monster House, Art of Open Season, etc)- some people must like this stuff but for me I would prefer they just left it out and put the budget towards more pages or something else. It makes the book sit funny and flipping through the pages is far from smooth because it automatically flips straight to those inserts. Uhg, I hate it when they add that stuff in. But I digress and apologize for that rant. Really hard to fit all of my favorite pictures onto my book review page but here above are a handful of my favorites. Definitely check out the Paul Lassaine Art Blog for ALOT of great bits of art that are and aren't included in this book.

Surf's Up: The art and making of a true story
Cody Maverick
Insight Editions (May 15, 2007)
148 Pages (HC)
ISBN-10 1-933784-15-6
11.1 x 10.4 x 1

Almost 20 clams on Amazon

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Everyone Knows What A Dragon Looks Like

It suddenly occurred to me to expand these art book postings into the massive collection of illustrated children's books that I've been collecting throughout my entire life. So, not only will I start with one of the first books I can remember, but to also start with the one that left me with the most incredible continual fascination with Orientalism.
Han, the orphan gate sweeper of the walled frontier city learns the lesson that appearances can be deceiving when the city is besieged by the Wild Horsemen of the West.
I havent looked at this book in a long time and the illustrations by Mercer Mayer are even more stunning than I remembered, and its no wonder I was so attracted to the asian aesthetic from the get go.
Its 32 pages but Ive spent a lifetime wandering the mountain paths and cleanly swept streets of the city of Wu.

Everyone Knows What A Dragon Looks Like
Jay Williams
Mercer Mayer
Four Winds Press 1976
32Pages (HC)
8.5 x 8.5 x 0.1

Friday, September 21, 2012

Maschinen Krieger Graphix Vol. 3

Here's another really cool book from kit-bashing scultpture master Kow Yokoyama, Im pretty sure it's the combined collection of Ma.k. articles from the Japanese hobby magazine Model Graphix from January 2006 through December 2010. If youre not familiar with master Kow's model making I would recommend you start with one of his other books, but if youre a die hard Ma.k. fan such as myself this is a great addition to the collection. Drawings, models, fully lit and photographed dioramas, as well as modeling tips (in japanese) and photos of Kow and Ma.k. fans from conventions and art opening fill this third volume of Model Graphix collections. Stay tuned for future reviews and peaks from Volume 1, and 2. Theres 244 pages in this book with pictures absolutely packed within each page, but above are a handful of my favorites that were easy to photograph with my iphone. I think these books are about $60 US new, but the older ones that are out of print can cost quite a bit more- so if you see one online or at your local book resources you should definitely pick them up if you can-

Maschinen Krieger Graphix Vol. 3
Kow Yokoyama
Ma.K. ZbV 3000
244 (SC)
ISBN 978-4-499-23084-1
8.5 x 11.5 x 5/8

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


Scott Robertson and friends stretch out the wheeled vehicle design muscles in this nice collection of sketches, paintings, and 3D renderings from Design Studio Press. Broken up into 4 sections, Aerospace, Military, Pro Sport, and Salvage, each designer showcases their particular take on the  category- Racers, Explorers, Tanks, Motorcycles- tons of different types of vehicles to inspire everyone including the young aspiring transportation designer in your life. I would have absolutely gone bananas over a book like this when I was a youngster. Kids are lucky these days. You can find this book on Amazon or where ever but I encourage you to buy directly from Design Studio Press's site, which is also the little publishing company that the author and designer Scott Robertson founded, sheesh, probably about 10 years ago? Stacks of other similar books to be had there if youre into looking at this kind of stuff.

Over 300 drawings in here, but above are a handful of images that stood out to me.

DRIVE: vehicle sketches and renderings by
Scott Robertson
Daniel Gardner
Annis Naeem
Design Studio Press (Nov 30, 2010)
176 Pages (HC)

Saturday, September 01, 2012

Sky Chefs

Airplane food. One of those odd things that nobody likes but everyone wants.

Sunday, August 26, 2012


Ive said it plenty of times so you probably heard before, but Curry-Ya is the best meal I know of in all of New York City. Super thick, smooth textured, japanese curry, rice, with berkshire pork cutlet, and a can of cold sake. This is it. Wait- this is not it- this is me sitting on the bench outside of curry ya waiting for katie to show up for lunchz!

Friday, August 24, 2012

James Casebere: Works 1975-2010

James Casebere has been building and lighting miniature architectural caricatures since the 70s, but it wasnt until seeing this book have I come to know of his work. Pretty well known guy who has shown  alongside some of the greatest modern art photographers of his generation.
If you liked those ParaNorman sets, you will like this book.

James Casabere: Works 1975-2010
Okwui Enwezor
Damiani Publishing (Oct 31 2011)
316 Pages (HC)
11.7 x 1.3 x 11.7 inches

a little pricey for 58 bucks on amazon but worth it

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


Anyone on Instagram? Kinda been my go to for posting incidental sketches. My handle there is en_b.
Ill try to post more of these on here though (by special request of Shifty over at the Sketch Shack)

Monday, August 06, 2012

The Art and Making of ParaNorman

This book snuck up on me and instantly was a huge surprise. Hold on, no surprise. Ive heard some amazing reports from friends at Laika and have followed the company for a longtime, so its no surprise that this is a fantastic-ly creative place. I guess the pleasant surprise is found with-in the book, which has this really nice, compelling Craftsmanship angle twisted into it- along with the typical character designs and background art you find in "Art of" books.
There's something particularly special about a picture of someone building a set, animating a stop motion puppet, or fabricating props that isnt found in a picture of an animator animating on a computer, or an animation wheel, or a layout, color or concept artist drawing or painting, no matter how impressive the piece of art is. The cool thing about this art and making of book is how awesome the making aspect of it is; People building cars, climbing into sets, people sewing costumes, or making wigs! Sucha great documenting of many extremely specialized and rare jobs all coming together to make something.
Super inspiring to see!
Great job you guys!
As with quite a few art books this one is on nice glossy paper which is terrible to try and reproduce, but above are a handful of my favorite pictures- There's tons more of good ones though, all looking way better than these.
A really great book for someone who loves animation art and an even better one for someone who is fascinated with fine Craftsmanship.

The Art and making of ParaNorman
Jed Ager
Chronicle Books July 25th 2012
190 Pages HC
ISBN 978-1-4521-1092-9
11 x 9.5 x .7

pretty good deal for 26 bones on amazon

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Nicolai Fechin; The Art and The Life

I only knew a little bit about Fechin, but now, thanks to this latest, massive, collection of his lifes work, its safe to say I now know a lot more.
Born to a woodworker and gilder in 1881, and later a student of the Russian master painter; Illya Repin, Nicolai Fechin is one of the most well known of Russian artists, achieving the highest grade possible at the legendary Imperial Academy of Art in Saint Petersburg. 
In 1923 Fechin and his family emigrated to the United States where he took up teaching and found quite a bit of success as a portrait painter. Unfortunately in 1927 Fechin contracted Tuberculosis and he moved west to Taos New Mexico where he actually produced some of his most well known recent works, notably of Native American Indians and south western landscapes. Even more remarkable was his continuation of woodworking and the designing of a adobe brick home and studio in Taos which remains a museum today. All post ends and exposed wood beams, furniture and architectural details were all painstakingly carved in the style of his homeland (which oddly works perfectly with the southwestern adobe building style) and it just seems like the most wonderful place. A real artist that guy! This book details much of his house in Taos as well as his paintings, watercolors, sketches, playbills, wood sculptures and a handful of notable works, many with close up details of his brush and edge work which he is extremely well known for. Along with an amazing amount of his art are an enormous quantity of family and historical photos- I usually am more attracted to the art in books such as this, but I actually spent a lot of time engrossed with the family photos. So many great characters and outfits!
This book is authored by Galina Tuluzakova, a well known expert on Fechin and Russian art. Ms Tuluzakova was give unprecedented access to many unpublished family photo albums and family collection of his work- although I have never seen any of these paintings in the flesh, I was a little disappointed that color isn't as vibrant as I suspect it really is, but ones things for certain is that the photos are extremely clear and accurate in showing the texture of paint and brush strokes. Very very clear, large plates fill this book (427 of them apparently), and generally I really am happy to own it. I bought it from Fechin Art Reproductions and they clearly took the time to properly pack this volume particularly well, which I REALLY appreciate. Always the worst to get a book from Amazon with a slightly smooshed hardcover corner- this book came in perfect condition and I actually hesitated before unwrapping the shrink wrap it was so gorgeous looking product wise. These books can go out of print fast and their price skyrocket into the realms that I can hardly reach. If you know of Fechin you will agree at how rare any decent books of him are, and if you're not familiar with his work I can guarantee you won't find a better one for the price, which is pretty steep at $125.
In the meantime, please enjoy a handful of pictures that stood out to me, but be assured there are plenty more in this volume.

Nicolai Fechin: The Art and The Life
Galina Tuluzakova
Fechin Art Reproductions (2012)
462 pages (HC)
ISBN 0-9674194-4-1
9.5 x 11.1 x 1.5

Wednesday, July 04, 2012


There are so many Moebius books out there but this has to be my personal favorites (definitely my fave of all the Blueberry series), and a book Ive never seen in any colleagues collections or anywhere at all; "Blueberry's" from Stardom press 1997. Best I can make out is its a book of paintings (Watercolor, Acrylic, Pen and Ink), posters and two page spreads from the iconic western series. Also in here is the short, wordless tale "Three Black Birds". Thats one of my favorite things about this book- no text on the cover- that is so bad ass when they do that. PIXAR recently did it with their color script book and its something I always take great delight in seeing. So I doubt you will ever find this book but if you do, better grab it! I have no idea how much it even goes for now a days- my internet search on it was pretty inconclusive- but again, here are a handful of my favorite pages for you to enjoy- Bon Appetite!

Jean Giraud, Jean Michel Charlier
Stardom (1997)
80 pages (HC)
ISBN: 2908706-02-7
11.33 x 9.5 x .33

Monday, June 25, 2012

Riverside Park

Been on some amazing evening bike rides through Riverside park on the upper west side.
The war memorial off of 90th being my favorite places to stop and rest amongst the balustrades and flickering fireflies. Absolutely delightful.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


...another abandoned design for a really fun and exciting project Im currently collaborating on.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


Here's another of the sets, again, super fun project!
The guys were really tight lipped about what it was, I had guessed it was for Battle LA, which was an approaching release, or a possible Battle LA sequel- then about a year and a half later I saw the BattleShip trailer and instantly recognized what I had been working on.
A historical note; My Grandfather was an architect and worked ion the Manhattan Project, but the projects goals were obviously insulated enough that he had no idea what it was he was making. Kinda like me. Hah, alright, not at all like me. :)

Monday, June 18, 2012


Since the movie has already released, I think its safe to show some sketches I did for Hasbro about a year and a half ago on their Kre-O Battleship sets. Obviously a super fun project to be assigned to.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Prometheus: The Art of The Film

Alright here it is, Ive been patiently waiting for this movie and of course, the art of book all year. I even went and saw a 10am show (in digital 2D) just yesterday before opening the book up at Lincoln center. HUGE theater, completely empty. I love seeing movies in big empty theaters. Like whatever, this franchise has gone all over the place over the years and so the odd departures didn't bother me- but one thing that stuck with me was the fact that particle systems are no match for actual atmosphere. You can see it! Literally! Just watch Alien with real atmospheric, and put it next to Prometheus with all the digital effects. No match for the real thing. It all ads to the atmosphere of fear and terror, which was missing from this film. Those opening shots?- and how awesome they were? -another example of the point Im making. But hey- thats how they make movies now, and thats just how it is and thats all I will say about the movie-
Onto the art book-
The thing I didn't like about this book is the thing that makes me really like it- tons of Ridley Scott drawings and storyboards (and they're awesome!) Not a whole lot of other art- oh yeah c'mon, tons of art in here, but lots of Film Outs and Renders, some great paint over renders, but a minority of actual paintings. Again- thats how they do it now a days- creating concept designs in 3D cuts out so many steps in the process along the production pipeline- so it makes sense but still, I am going to miss the actual paintings. Theres some good ones in here and the film outs are cool looking and you get to see everything you want to see, so yeah, if you like this movie you will probably like this book and you should get it for the Ridley Scott storyboards alone.
One small complaint and this is only for real book freaks, but the paper Titan uses is really glossy and kind of cheap feeling, and the book designers chose to do a lot of two page spreads of a lot of stuff I want to look at, a little bit of a bummer. Looks great on InDesign or whatever they use to lay the pages out, but that seam down the middle on the actual book- argh- just a personal peeve. I digress.

Prometheus; The Art of The Film
Mark Salisbury
Titan Books (June 2012)
186 Pages (HC)
ISBN 978-1781161098
11 x 10 x .8

A steal for 24 bucks on amazon

Saturday, June 02, 2012

Ultimate Outpost

Safe to say this concept has been abandoned in favor for something completely different so here it is- up on the blog.

Friday, June 01, 2012

Spring cleaning

This has been sitting on my desktop for a long time I might use it for a project that I will keep unnamed for the moment, but I always liked the look of this and since I havent been posting for a while, Im throwing it up here.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Art of Brave

Here we go again, another PIXAR book out and up my PIXAR shelf. This one's a little thin compared to the others but it's still pretty cool and has all the aspects you come to expect in an Art of Book from this premier animation studio. Couple things stand out to me, the biggest one is the talented team of artists on the project. Steve Purcell, his pal Mike Mignola, Character design legends Carter Goodrich and Daniel Lopez Munoz, along with artists Steve Pilcher, Huy Nguyen and Noah Klocek, AND my favorite bits, sculpted foam and acrylic paint maquettes from long time PIXAR artist Tia Crater, among many others fill the volume. Ive never been to the old country but Im sure it looks quite a lot like this- Dark, Rich colors, and Cold.
I saw Secret of Kells a number of years ago and seeing the Brave trailer I right away noticed quite a bit of similarities, but now that Ive seen the book and have a little bit of an idea of the film itself Im a little bit more comfortable with realizing this is definitely a different movie.

The Art of Brave
Jenny Lerew
Chronicle Books (2012)
159 Pages (HC)
ISBN 978-1-4521-0142-2
11.25 x 9.25 x .09

A deal at 22 Doll-hairs on Amazon

Sunday, May 27, 2012

The Art of Disney

The story kinda goes like this:
In 1960, several hundred concept paintings and drawings personally selected by Walt Disney were sent to Japan to promote the release of Sleeping Beauty. 
The art was shortly there after donated to Tokyo Museum of Modern Art. Not seeing the collection as valuable they sent it to Chiba University of Science and Engineering. Chiba University, being a science school, put the art in cardboard boxes and stored it in a damp janitors closet and there it stayed for 50 years until being re-discovered in 2002. The art, some of which in very poor condition was restored and the collection with 350 more bits of additional art from Disney toured Japan before finally being returned the Disney archives.
This is the catalog from that exhibit-
It's a rare book. 
A few things in it Ive seen in the Disney Design and Background books- but much of it Ive never seen ever before. The catalog is broken into sections according to artist instead of film- so get ready to see real mouth fulls of Tyrus Wong, Eyving Earle, Mary Blair along with all the rest of the Disney greats. Id say if I could only have 1 Disney book, this is definitely the one Id want. 

The Art of Disney
245 pgs (SC)
Pretty rare, this book- I cant even direct you to where to find one, I got mine from the amazing Stuart Ng, but his stock has long been gobbled up. Keep your eyes out for it cause its a real gem!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Barcelona Sketchbook

Quality time with the Mini-Moleskine in the BCN. Our terrace above Rambla de la Catalunya.

Monday, May 21, 2012

The Art of Princess and The Frog

Here is another great art book of a movie I did not see. Im not particularly fond of animated musicals but I respect that Disney chose to back track and give the old musical format a new life in one of their latest films; Princess and The Frog. Its a tricky job, these Princess films, and adding an ethnic element to the narrative, and one with the particular dark history of old American South had to have made quite a mine field of stereotypes and false historical perceptions and romanticizations for the visual developers to overcome. With that said Disney handles it reasonably well I suppose, or as well as they always have with previous films like Pocahontas and personally, the only designs that seemed cringe worthy to me were the prince concepts- but hey, what do I know about what little girls or whoever Disney targeted to the prince to like? But that was pretty much it- everything else looks great and you'll see it all in this book; Sketches, Storyboards, Character Designs, Maquettes, Background Paintings, Effects Animations, and some nice critiques of Legendary Disney Dev Artist Tyrus Wong and how they wanted to apply his composition techniques to their current film. Special mentions to Ian Gooding and Lorelay Bove who's artwork on the film and in the book particularly stands out to me.
Nice balance across all topics- sometimes books lean to be heavy in character design or heavy in background art, Jeff Kurti has done a good job in curating the billions of pieces of art from this film and made a really nicely balanced book.

The Art of Princess and The Frog
Jeff Kurti
Chronicle Books (2009)
160 Pages HC
ISBN 978-0-8118-6635-4
11.5 x 9.25 x .75

I think this book is out of print but you can still find new reasonably priced copies out there.
Seems like theyre going for about 40 clams.

Friday, May 18, 2012

BCN with the Mini-Moleskine

You may of heard I got lost. It was 9am after a red eye flight from JFK-BCN and they weren't letting us into our room until after 12. I took a stroll through the silent sunday morning neighborhoods. Sometime between 11 and 12 all the street cafes opened, transforming the street I was looking for into something completely unrecognizable.
I hadn't bothered to take note of the name of my street nor the name of our hotel (I was positive I could find it again) and I ended up wandering the streets all day trying to figure out what to do and how to get back to my wife and luggage. Luckily my panic was contained by my mini-moleskine and the sheer beauty of that city and its architecture. Eventually  I saw a green parrot dart down a street and assumed it was a sign, and it was! I assumed I would find my wife either not there, and or worried to death after my all morning and most of the afternoon disappearance. She was still sleeping.

S.F.3.D. Chronicles 1982.5 - 1984.7

Here's book one of the two book S.F.3.D. Chronicles set, documenting the published work of master kit basher and designer Kow Yokoyama between the years of 1982-1984. Im pretty sure all these photographs and bonus materials appeared in various Japanese hobby mags, most likely the benchmark hobby mag of them all, Hobby Japan. Unfortunately the clarity of the pictures are not fantastic. Im not sure why that is, perhaps the shots are lost or printing standards (thankfully) aren't what they once were- but all these pictures look like pictures of pictures and are quite "grainy".
Still, the brilliant designs, dioramas, and well lit shots are so bad ass to behold, and it all looks like a believable future even though it was 30 years ago when these photos were taken. Timeless, and Kow Yokoyama will be a well regarded "futurist" for many many years to come.
If youre not familiar with Mr Yokoyama's work, his other books such as M.a.K. Chronicles (recently reviewed here and here on the Last Outpost) are probably better books to buy- but if youre a full on, drop anything and everything for Kow type of fan, like me, you will really dig this two book set. Sketches, comics, diorama photos and making ofs, as well as a wealth modeling tips (all in Japanese) fill this two book, slip cased set. Stay tuned for a review of Vol 2; 1984-1985

S.F.3.D Chronicles 1982.5 - 1984.7
Hobby Japan Publishing (2010)
202 Pages (SC) Slip Cased
8.25 x 11.5 x .33
ISBN978-4-7986-0101-4 C0076

Im not really finding any prices for this set on the web but there are definitely copies out there. probably bet on paying 80 buckaroos for the imported publication

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Cosmic Motors

Fun book from designer Daniel Simon and Design Studio Press focusing on a variety of futuristic vehicles; Racers, Ground Effect Vehicles, Explorer Rigs, Fighters and a handful of other creations nicely presented in a 172 Page book. Lots of sketches and tight marker renderings documenting the development Mr Simon goes through, with more than a handful of these designs being modeled, textured, lit, and composited with a slickly styled slightly dated looking fantasy women and a few men. Im a fan of the drawing and surprisingly I found some appeal in the very polished 3D renders. 
Its funny, even the dirt and grime looks really polished, and it all has a very, LA, Art Center feel to them. Quite a few typical nods to Doug Chiang's designs adds to that Art Center feel and marker rendering technique.
All the slickness and LA is something that both bothers as well as delights me, and oddly has me coming back to this book often in order to figure out if I like this book. Very compelling, or even a feeling I would best describe as controversial- Mr. Simon definitely has kept my attention for the past 5 years whether I like it not. If youre into this type of stuff its a good book to have on the shelf. Quite a few things I can say about the styling of the models on the photo shoots, but I will just leave it at that men will always over-idealize women, and women will always strive to be a gorgeous as possible, but the Future is never what it was in the past, even the most recent of pasts. Cool book.
Sadly the hard cover is out of print but the softcovers are easily found.

Cosmic Motors; Spaceships, Cars and Pilots of Another Galaxy
Daniel Simon
Design Studio Press
145 Pages (HC)
12.1 x 9 x 0.6

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Saul Bass: A Life of Film & Design

Here is another massive book. 424 pages of the most accomplished artist you probably never heard of but you have definitely seen. This guy is the brains behind a majority of the most iconic graphics and image sequences. This book is absoutely packed full of Logos, Theater Bills, Movie Posters, Stationary, Storyboards, and amazingly well documented sequences of images describing his film, film title sequences commercial, among many other things. Really nice presentation of Mr. Bass's body of work. This guy can really tell story with image, whether its one frame or hundreds. Even if youre not an artist or film "academecian" you will find a lot of delight in this book. It happens quite often that there just isnt enough room on my little book review image to give this guys potential justice. Im leaning to doing a rare second page just to add to the small peak these book reviews offer the rare reader. But he and this book definitely deserves it.

Saul Bass: A Life of Film & Design
Jennifer Bass & Pat Kirkham
Laurence King (Nov 9 2011)
424 Pages (HC)
11.6 x 10.6 x 1.7

A steal for 48 bucks on amazon, or 75 at you favorite local book store

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Art of Herge: Vol 3, 1950-1983

This is likely the last Vol in the 3 Volume set from the Belgium master of Comics, Herge. Its packed entirely of Tintin and is a bit of a victory lap for the entire set. Super handsome cover, opening to reveal some of the most memorable Tintin adventures. Filled with pencil roughs, final pages as well as quite a few promotional pieces. I might of said this about the last volume, but this one is probably the one to get if youre a lover of the series and can only have one. Although, it must be said that all three look great together on the shelf or art table. Still wondering about the French version of these as they have an additional 200 pages of, shoot, I have no idea what! If anyone of the three or four readers of this blog know please leave a comment about it.
Nicely designed book as is the entire series.

The Art of Herge: Inventor of Tinitin 1950-1983 Vol 3
Phillipe Goddin
Last Gasp
208 pages (HC)
12 x 9 x 1
ISBN-10 0867197633
ISBN-13 978-0867197631

Monday, April 23, 2012

Cannabis Works

So yeah, here we have a nice one from Tatsuyuki Tanaka. He's got great style and a nice sprinkling of some surreal sorts of content. I think Mr. Tanaka is well known for his commercial work but Im sure hes better known for his Manga and Character designs (of which Im not totally familiar with besides whats in this book). But dont be fooled- his backgrounds are super compelling and what I really like in this book is his multiple thumbnails that are included for many of the illustrations. I dont know if these pass for thumbnails, just because theyre so tight, but they are super awesome!
He really thinks and tries lots of different stuff while coming up with his compositions. Really inspiring to see that thought process and super enjoyable looking at the illustrations themselves. Good stuff.

Cannabis Works
Tatsuyuki Tanaka
Style Co., Ltd Publishing (2003)
143 Pages (HC)
10.4 x 6.4 x 0.9 inches

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Hyper Weapon 2009

These Hyper Weapon books go back quite sometime and are in one way or another produced by Legendary designer and modeler Makato Kobayashi- I think these magazines are little show cases of his work. Hyper Weapon 2009 focuses mainly on Space Battle Ship Yamato, its sequels and Battlestar Galactica. Lots of ship sketches and designs, not to mention gobs of kit-bashed models of those designs. Kobayashi has been around for many years and continues to be one of the most creative and unusual designers in the anime and manga industry. I would be hard pressed to present to you another person besides Kobayashi (Kow Yokoyama being the only other) that is as good as building his own models. Absolutely astounding work.
Couple pages of reference photos of the original Galactica model are in here as well.

Hyper Weapon 2009

Friday, April 20, 2012

A real nice, large, hard cover retrospective from the Spanish master. Pretty hard to compare photos to the actual paintings, as usual but this book does a better than average job color correcting each individual plate. This is a big, thick book with quite a bit of text. There is at least one painting on each spread, so not totally disappointing, but I wish there were more and that they were larger plates. 
BUT still, Sorolla is the man and there was no way I wasnt going to get this comprehensive over-view of his life and work.
Good lord. Its already out of print and super expensive. What the heck!

Joaquin Sorolla
Jose Luis Diez and Javier Baron Thaidigsmann
Thames & Hudson Publishers (Aug , 2009)
534 Pages (HC)
ISBN-10: 0500976937
ISBN-13 978-0500976937
12 x 9.7 x 1.7

Thursday, April 19, 2012


Holy Moly you guys. Kronoteko! Just about 150 pages of Syd Mead's color work up to the early 90s. This is the Sibling volume to Kronovecta that came in the Kronolog 2 Book + Laser Discs boxed set. Yes I said Laser disc. Syd Mead and his studio are brilliant designers, no doubt, but this book begins to highlight his technical expertise when it comes to Marker and Gouache rendering (as well as jaw dropping industrial and environmental design you always come to expect for this Legend. This book will blow you away. (also probably your bank account will be blown away- Kronolog was published over 20 years ago)).
Kronoteko begins with his early work in Transportation Design and moves through the groundbreaking Futurism work he produced for US Steel, well into Interior and Architectural designs and firmly into all the work he produced from some really memorable films- Bladerunner, Tron, Aliens, 2010 A Space Odyssey, to name just a few. Plenty paintings and value packed in here.
Hold on.
Good lord- I just looked and this book is well over $1000.00 on Amazon re-sellers-. Damn! Thats perhaps more than I could pay for this book. But its awesome. I dont know what to tell you guys. Unless youre a collector you will probably just have to settle for digital viewings. Im sure there are bunches out there. But shoot- only 1-2k, you will be able to flip it in the next few years for a profit easily. I say go for it!
Not that I would ever sell mine- kiiinda disappointed I wrote my name on the inside, because Im sure it will easily be worth well over 10k within the next 10 years.
Better return than a mutual fund or a 401k.

Syd Mead
141 pages HC
Bandai Ltd. Publishing
ISBN-10: 0929463056
ISBN-13: 978-0929463056
13.9 x 11 x 0.8 inches

Amazon resellers have used copies available from $1,190.00 to $2,183.33 bucks! OUCH!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Art of Herge Vol 2 1937-49

I always liked Tintin from the first day I saw it in the old, pre-earthquake Book Cafe at the top of the mall in Downtown Santa Cruz. They had all the Tinitins and Asterix's, but there is so much damn writing in those comic books that I never got that into them! I know- total Tintin poser- but Ill tell you what- all the big money shots that had airplanes, rocket ship, architecture and all this sophisticated stuff had me drooling and has had me drooling ever since. Herge was a master draftsman and you can find a lot of that stuff I was into all up in this book! There's plenty character stuff along with merchandise concepts and products. Herge was making Tinitin everything decades before Lucas successfully merchandised the hell out a property. This is a great book- perhaps just by a feather, the best of all three volumes... all three are pretty good, all in different ways.

I see theres a French version of each of these volumes that came out a number of years ago but those French pubications are over 400 pages a piece!! What the!? This one, just over 200 pages. What the heck are those other 200 pages filled with? Could be anything!

Well even in these half sized american versions theres lots of fun stuff to look at. Solid work.

The Art of Herge 1937-1949
Georges Remi
Last Gasp (March 1, 2010)
208 pages (HC)
ISBN-10: 0867197242
ISBN-13: 978-0867197242
11.6 x 8.8 x 0.8 inches

It'll cost you about 30 greenbacks on Amazon

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Todays sketches

mini molskine

Art of Kung Fu Panda 2

I heard some pretty funny stories from Dreamworks friends about all the challenges they had getting this Kung Fu Panda property started. Certainly not funny for those who were working themselves to death to get it off the ground, but funny for me, from the outside, on the typical chaos that these animated features suffer through during pre-production and well into production itself. Ive come to see it's pretty common across all companies- orchestrating an animated feature dances along a razors edge of madness- but hey- lookit- Kung Fu Panda 3, I think is on the boards and this definitely looks like the strongest of the Dreamworks properties. And who doesnt like kung fu and those lucious fictional Asian environments?
This book picks up pretty much where the KFP1 Art Book left off- a handful of additional characters build off our returning cast with the addition of Baby Po and his parents (didnt they just do this same thing with Marty and his parents in Madagascar 2? Is this gonna be the Dreamworks go to formula?).
Id say this book, a little thinner feeling than the first, is more environment heavy than its older sibling- some really great painting in here and a few shots of actual mixed media maquettes of sets and locations- very unusual and cool! But mostly the brilliant character work by Nic Marlett steals the show and eclipses everything else in here- and thats coming from a real serious fanatic of environmental art. Yup- his character design is that strong. This is a pretty good book, especially for fans of anthropomorphic characters, or for someone who likes to imagine a fantastical caricature of ancient China. I have Art of Kung Fu Panda 1 up on my shelf- not sure why I choose to talk about this one first but stay tuned for a review of that one too- soon, soon....

Art of Kung Fu Panda 2
Tracey Miller-Zarneke
Insight Editions
156 pages (HC)
ISBN-10: 1608870189
ISBN-13: 978-1608870189
10.4 x 11.4 x 0.9 inches

On Amazon for 27 Beans