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