Christmas Round Up

The Friday Book Review - Christmas Round Up

The Friday Book Review – Christmas Round Up

GIG POSTERS VOLUME 2 – BY CLAY HAYES

Gigposters.com, created by Clay Hayes in 2001, is a living document on the modern rock poster movement and the ‘go to’ resource for music poster art featuring over 130,000 examples by 10,000 artists and designers from around the world. The first volume of Gig Posters (released in 2009) from Quirk Books was an outstanding collection of exciting and electric work, presented in large format and including 101 pull-out posters! Released this month is the long awaited second volume presenting a new collection of work that’s just as good as the first. Sticking to the original format, you have another 101 posters to grace your walls (among the 700 posters in total) with interviews and short biographies on each of the artists. Particular favorites from this edition include Craig Horky, Hyp Inc, R.Black and Joe Whyte.

Highly recommended, if not only for an incredibly cheap way to decorate your house with posters for bands such as The Flaming Lips, QOTSA and The New York Dolls, but also as a book that celebrates a collection of equally cool poster artists in an increasingly digital and sanitized age.

Gig Posters Volume 2 – By Clay Hayes of gigposters.com
Quirk Books
Paperback (with pull out pages) 208 pages
35.4 x 28.2 x 2.6 cm 

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Gig Posters Volume 2 – By Clay Hayes of gigposters.com

Gig Posters Volume 2 – By Clay Hayes of gigposters.com

Gig Posters Volume 2 – By Clay Hayes of gigposters.com

Gig Posters Volume 2 – By Clay Hayes of gigposters.com

TYPOGRAPHY SKETCHBOOKS – BY STEVEN HELLER & LITA TALARICO

It’s hard to imagine any other area of work for the Graphic Designer that’s subject to as much scrutiny as their skill with type. It’s basic fundamentals are understood the world over, and effective type can suggest a brand ethos, an advertising message or hint at a movie’s plot before you’re even conscious of reading it. Let’s not even get into what happens when type goes bad!
Designers Steven Heller and Lita Talarico present an engaging look at the sketchbooks from over 100 dedicated creatives who take up the type challenge. From the precise work of typographer Mathew Carter to the highly illustrative approach of Emek, we go ‘behind the scenes’ to see their successes and failures in presenting their most beautifully formed letters to the world. Coupled with a short bio plus thoughts on the design process and sketchbook keeping, this is an insightful look at the painstaking work involved in an area of creativity that most of us take for granted.

Typography Sketchbooks – By Steven Heller & Lita Talarico
Thames & Hudson
Hardcover, 368 pages
24.8 x 19.2 x 4.2 cm 

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Typography Sketchbooks – By Steven Heller & Lita Talarico

Typography Sketchbooks – By Steven Heller & Lita Talarico

Typography Sketchbooks – By Steven Heller & Lita Talarico

Typography Sketchbooks – By Steven Heller & Lita Talarico

STEVE RUDE, ARTIST IN MOTION – BY JOHN FLESKES

I have to confess that I was unfamiliar with Steve Rude (aka The Dude) before I picked up this book, and it left me wondering why I hadn’t discovered his work sooner. In terms of the artistic influences we share you couldn’t get much closer with Norman Rockwell, Andrew Loomis and Alex Toth. His extremely impressive work is stylistically on a par with the ever popular Alex Ross (a friend and collaborator of Rudes and another favourite of mine) so I’m puzzled as to why this talented artist isn’t better known. The answers may lie in the artist’s fight with depression or his self-confessed stubborn work ethic, an example of which he gives in a refusal to work for Marvel due to their ‘shabby’ treatment of Jack Kirby. All of that aside, this book is full of truly outstanding illustration that deserves a wider audience. Inside you’ll find a masterful collection of comic book based art finished in a painterly style that harks back to the ‘Golden Age’ of American illustration, followed by top-notch brush, pen and ink work and an ongoing animation project to bring his creation ‘Nexus’ to the screen. Rude gives a frank and personal commentary throughout, introduced by John Fleskes in the form of an excellent interview that serves as the perfect initiation to the world of The Dude. Essential.

Steve Rude, Artist in Motion – By John Fleskes
Flesk Publications,
Hardcover, 207 pages,
31.3 x 24 x 2.4 cm

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Steve Rude, Artist in Motion – By John Fleskes

Steve Rude, Artist in Motion – By John Fleskes

Steve Rude, Artist in Motion – By John Fleskes

Steve Rude, Artist in Motion – By John Fleskes

POSTERS FOR THE PEOPLE, ART OF THE WPA – BY ENNIS CARTER

During the depression era of the 1930′s when approximately one-third of the American people were out of work, a government led by President Franklin D. Roosevelt set up a series of programs under the header of The New Deal. One such program was The Works Progress Administration (WPA) that over its eight year life span employed millions of workers tasked with developing and array of socially focused projects ranging from developing road networks, park areas, music concerts, art exhibitions and the subject of this book, poster campaigns. With offices in the major cities such as New York, San Francisco and LA, nearly 500 artists and designers were employed by the project with an output totaling over 35,000 posters. Compiled in this book by Ennis Carter are 500 of the best examples available in a commendable effort to preserve this bold and strikingly graphic work. Not only does this book provide an excellent resource on 30′s & 40′s style graphic design, it also gives insight into an interesting period of American history invested in promoting a positive and motivational ideal. I found myself comparing and finding similarities in these classic posters to todays American Gig Poster movement in which the same techniques are employed to demand readership and promote a positive message with such graphic flair that elevates them above your standard, throwaway advertising, to a position of collectible art.

Posters for the People, Art of the WPA – By Ennis Carter,
Quirk Books,
Hardcover, 240 pages,
30.5 x 23.1 x 2.8 cm

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Posters for the People, Art of the WPA – By Ennis Carter,

Posters for the People, Art of the WPA – By Ennis Carter,

Posters for the People, Art of the WPA – By Ennis Carter,

Posters for the People, Art of the WPA – By Ennis Carter,

BERNET – BY MANUEL AUAD

Bernet by Manuel Auad collects the work of Spanish comic book artist Jordi Bernet, known for his work on the Belgian comics magazine SpirouTorpedo, a short run on Batman and most recently Jonah Hex. Introduced by Will Eisner and with comment from many others including Joe Kubert, this is a collection of noir tinged (not to mention rather saucy) pen and ink work that displays a seemingly effortless style that many illustrators seek to attain. In Eisner’s introduction he states states;
“Here was a man who was producing pure story-telling art. That is art that uses the kind of minimalism so singular to his draftsmanship that is actually a narrative device in itself. This fit into my own philosophy of sequential narrative art. I pursued the progress of his work with great interest”.
A glance through the book shows just how fitting a statement this is and the similarities in style of the two artists becomes very evident. Both have a confident looseness to their brush that seems to offer more visual information than is really there with equally effective layout and page design. A sure sign of an artist at the top of their game and a book worth studying for anyone attempting to master brush, pen and ink, myself included!

Bernet – By Manuel Auad
Auad Publishing
Hardcover, 240 pages
28.8 x 21.8 x 1.8 cm 

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Bernet – By Manuel Auad

Bernet – By Manuel Auad

Bernet – By Manuel Auad

Bernet – By Manuel Auad

DANIEL ZIMMER’S ILLUSTRATION MAGAZINE

Secondly this week I want to hopefully introduce of a few of you to Daniel Zimmer’s superb Illustration Magazine. Produced by The Illustrated Press, the folks who brought us the excellent reference books 41 IllustratorsNorman Saunders and H.J. Ward, this quarterly publication documents the finest commercial illustration of the past from areas of popular culture including pulp magazines, paperbacks, comic books, advertising, fashion and more. This beautifully made magazine features full colour reproductions of original artwork throughout, along with insightful articles on the individual artist’s working process, often including rare studio photographs and working drawings. You can expect to find among its pages a broad spectrum of work ranging from the highly popular Haddon H. Sundblom (originator of Coca-Cola’s classic Santa Clause) to the unsung and long forgotten Perry Peterson (see below). No other magazine available today offers so much education on these past masters and it’s editorial team should be appluded for their work in insuring that this important work isn’t overlooked. Seek it out at your local book shop or follow the links below. This should be top of every illustrator and illustration fan’s reading list.

Available here US>
Available here UK>

Illustration Magazine – By Daniel Zimmer
The Illustrated Press
Full Colour, Quarterly, 100+ pages 
28cm x 21.7cm

Illustration Magazine – By Daniel Zimmer

Illustration Magazine – By Daniel Zimmer

Illustration Magazine – By Daniel Zimmer

Illustration Magazine – By Daniel Zimmer

HARDWARE – THE DEFINITIVE SF WORKS OF CHRIS FOSS – BY RIAN HUGHES & IMOGENE FOSS

I don’t recall being much of a science fiction reader when I was a kid. I certainly wouldn’t have attempted to tackle the complexities of an Isaac Asimov or Arthur C.Clarke novel back in those days as I’d have much better things to do like play Nintendo or try to teach myself karate in the back garden. But I do remember looking at and loving the cover art of these classic paperbacks, featuring dramatic scenes of huge, strange-looking spaceships and dangerous, uninhabitable planets. All long forgotten memories until I happened to pick up this recent title from Titan Books offering a career defining retrospective on the science fiction artist Chris Foss. For a moment I was a teenager again sporting a big smile in enjoyment of the stories these pictures told with no need for words, only an active imagination required. What really impresses me about these paintings is the vertigo inducing sense of scale he achieves in his scenes of planets peeking over the horizon, massive spaceships hovering over a city or alien beings going about their destructive plan. The work is great and there’s lots on show here, supported with text from the artist himself, plus contributions from Rian Huges, Imogene Foss, Moebius and Alejandro Jodorowsky. Essential for all science fiction art fans.

Hardware – The Definitive SF Works of Chris Foss
Titan Books
Hardcover, 240 pages
31.8 x 24.9 x 2.8 cm 

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Hardware – The Definitive SF Works of Chris Foss

Hardware – The Definitive SF Works of Chris Foss

Hardware – The Definitive SF Works of Chris Foss

Hardware – The Definitive SF Works of Chris Foss

THE WALT DISNEY ARCHIVE SERIES – STORY

Story, the first in a series from The Walt Disney Archives is a beautifully produced book packed full of storyboard art and pencil tests from the earliest days of Mickey Mouse to later animation projects such as Tarzan. There’s plenty here to please general Disney fans and those more interested in seeing working drawings from the studio’s talented collection of artists. I was admittedly disappointed by the absence of anything from Sleeping Beauty, a film I consider to be one of Disney’s finest achievements and a missed opportunity to feature some sketches from the excellent Eyvind Earle. Another criticism would be the absence of any supporting text. I was expecting more information on their story development process, i.e. how the studio crafts their initial plots into fully formed stories, but only a short introduction from John Lassester is offered with the remainder of the book text free. Some may consider this a plus as it leaves more room for artwork, but it left me wanting more from a book I felt should have had this subject covered. Enjoyable and recommended for the artwork alone, but those looking for a more in-depth look into the studio’s development process should check out The Illusion of Life by Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston.

The Walt Disney Archive Series – Story
Disney Editions
Hardcover, 271 pages
28.4 x 33.3 x 2.9 cm

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The Walt Disney Archive Series – Story

The Walt Disney Archive Series – Story

The Walt Disney Archive Series – Story

The Walt Disney Archive Series – Story

COVER STORY, THE DC COMICS ART OF BRIAN BOLLAND

I’m a big fan of Brian Bolland’s previous collection of work The Art of Brian Bolland (Desperado Publishing) which was accompanied by a frank and honest writing style that I’m glad to see continued in this new collection of work from Titan Books. In the same format as the excellent Cover Run, The DC Comics Art of Adam Hughes, this focuses on Bolland’s run of cover art for Comics such as Batman, Green Lantern, Animal Man, Wonder Woman and the darker Vertigo line. Giving thoughts and comments as you progress through nearly 30 years worth of some of the best comic art available, it’s a delight to read his text on a particular piece, often giving genuine insight into his thought process behind the design and in most cases backed up with early sketches and un-used ideas. Although I might be less keen on his later photo-collage work (there’s something unmistakably 90′s and early Photoshop about photo-collage) the work is of the highest standard throughout and makes this another essential release from Titan that every illustrator or comics fan should check out.

Cover Story, The DC Comics Art of Brian Bolland
Titan Books
Hardcover, 208 pages
30.2 x 22.9 x 2 cm

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Cover Story, The DC Comics Art of Brian Bolland

Cover Story, The DC Comics Art of Brian Bolland

Cover Story, The DC Comics Art of Brian Bolland

Cover Story, The DC Comics Art of Brian Bolland

MENU DESIGN IN AMERICA – BY JIM HIEMANN, STEVEN HELLER & JOHN MARIANI

Jim Hiemann, Taschen’s executive editor, along with John Mariani (Esquire) and Steven Heller (New York Times)deliver one of the year’s finest art books with this collection of menus from America’s restaurants of 1850 – 1985. These examples of mini masterpieces, temporary by nature, have offered artists space for creative experimentation with outstanding results. With notable examples including The Waldorlf Astoria’s Art Deco New Year celebrations and the 50′s atomic visuals of Orbit’s Coffee Shop, this large format book is a feast for the eyes. Lavish styling that may be considered over-designed or surplus to requirements today, but there’s no denying the promise they make to the customer of the delicious experience to come and in doing so elevate the humble menu to a position of collectible art. Hints of past politics, racial inequalities or proud moments in history can also be found in an inspirational, sophisticated and profound look at the best kind of commercial art and design. The perfect book to indulge in this Christmas.

Menu Design in America – By Jim Hiemann, Steven Heller & John Mariani
Taschen
Hardcover, 392 pages
32.4 x 25.8 x 4.2 cm 

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Menu Design in America – By Jim Hiemann, Steven Heller & John Mariani

Menu Design in America – By Jim Hiemann, Steven Heller & John Mariani

Menu Design in America – By Jim Hiemann, Steven Heller & John Mariani

Menu Design in America – By Jim Hiemann, Steven Heller & John Mariani


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2 thoughts on “Christmas Round Up

  1. Pingback: Christopher King – Friday Book Review – Christmas Round Up | Illustration and Art News for Illustrators and Artists

  2. Pingback: Looping The Loop: Posters Of Flight – By Henry Serrano Villard – The Friday Book Review « Wing's Art & Design Blog

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