Friday, September 2, 2011

Retreating to the Last Outpost

To my handful of followers of the Last Outpost Art Book Review, first off thank you for your interest in things I love! Its a deeply felt pleasure to share with all of you!
In order to keep things simple and focused, Im pulling back all of my separate blogs and will just post everything to my home base blog, The Last Outpost
Ill be posting even more books and other good stuff so I encourage you to follow me there.
Also, I tweet about even more books, every Monday on my twitter so if youre on there, try following me @en_b
Thanks again for your continued attention over the years!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Cartoon Modern

Ok, guys, I'll be honest. Mr. McGoo and most of those modern cartoons were my least favorite as a kid. But now Im older I can really appreciate that modern look. This book is a good one if its something youre interested in. It also has a lot of fascinating information regarding animation history and the moment the Disney Studio's basically closed and or shelved all of its interest in modern style animation. Those must have been some crazy days!! Well, all of those great modern artists in the animation field had to go somewhere and this is a nice and thorough book explaining where they went and what happened. Lastly its the same size as all the PIXAR books so it fits nicely on my shelf with that heavy bunch.
Go get this one! Modern animation is back and Im sure you want to be well ahead of the curve of its return.

Cartoon Modern; Style and Design in Fifties Animation
Amid Amidi
195pgs HC
Chronicle Books
ISBN-10 0-8118-4731-4
ISBN-13 978-0-8118-4731-5

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Disney Archive Series; Design

If I didnt like to spend money on books but I needed one, easy to find and affordable Visual Dev book from Disney- This is the one I would get. It has a little bit of everything from just about every Disney feature and short all the way up to "Tangled". Its a lot of art and nicely edited, pretty good size and not too much writing. Also, the printing looks great throughout! This archive series from Disney continues to impress me, and this DESIGN one is the best to date.

Walt Disney Animation Studios,
The Archive Series
287 Pages HC
Disney Editions

Monday, January 3, 2011

James Gurney; Color and Light

It's a New Year and only right to start off 2011 with a textbook sort of Peek-a-Book. This one is really, really great! James Gurney goes over a lot of topics in here and keeps it all in bite sized bits. Ive always been a mild fan of his, but this book turned me into an all new, ravenous fan. I guess I was never crazy about Dinotopia, but this book shows a lot of his non Dinotopia work and its astounding! He is definitely a master of knowledge and technique. The book starts off with examples of other masters new and old and captions explaining why they are to be considered masters. He has all my favorites in here (Even an old favorite, Arthur Streeton has a page). Then he does about a 2 page spread for all the topics involved with painting and seeing- light, form, color etc etc... too many too list!! All of them explained very clearly and simply. I learn something new every time I open a page. This is just a really great, affordable book with priceless contents. I cant recommend it enough!

Color and Light
James Gurney
221pgs SC
Andrews McMeel Publishing
ISBN-13: 978-0-7407-9771-2
ISBN-10: 0-7407-9771-9

$14.99 on amazon- total steal for this book

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Art Of Disney

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.
Usually I dont like to post rare books to Parka's site since they dont do much to support his efforts with book retailers - but this one I had to make an exception for and Im sure Parka will agree that its a magnificent collection worth mentioning to the members of the forum. (Especially Kirikou- you need this book for your shelf!)
A few things in it Ive seen in the Disney Design book- but much of it Ive never seen ever before. The catalog seems to be 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)

Monday, December 13, 2010

Joseph Urban

Architect Joseph Urban (May 26, 1872 – July 10, 1933) came to the US in 1912 to be the art director for the Boston Opera Company. Although he moved on to design ornate interiors, and entire buildings, hes always focused on framing a scene- I dont know if I've seen anyone continually design such great framing elements into his Scenes. This guy is so bad ass!
If youre into set design and all the things great set design can do for things that are not necessarily sets, definitely check out this book!

Joseph Urban
John Loring
224 pgs (HC)
Abrams Publishers
ISBN 978-0-8109-9026-5

Monday, December 6, 2010

Type: A Visual History of Typefaces and Graphic Styles

Its a double feature this week!
I found these great type resources from Taschen, Vol 1 spanning 1628-1900 and Vol 2 1901-1938. Theres so much stuff in these- mostly clip-art looking style sheets for different bits of type and also other graphic details related to books. The real treat of these collections is that they both come with a key card that allows access onto a site which has hi-resoultion scans of nearly all of the pages. So the books then become more than just inspiration but actually really nice catalogs of the contents of the website. Id suspect the entirety of those contents are copy right free. Pretty nice, if not priceless.

Type: A Visual History of Typefaces and Graphic Styles
Volume 1 1628-1900
360 pgs (HC)
ISBN 978-3-8365-1101-8

story of Typefaces and Graphic Styles
Volume 2 1901-1938
360 pgs (HC)
ISBN 978-3-8365-1514-6

Friday, December 3, 2010

Lettering Art in Modern Use

When using text you really need to find the right font. Anyone can by instinct, see when a font works and when it doesnt. Its weird and it baffles the hell out of me, so I hit the books for ideas and inspiration. This old Lettering Art In Modern Use is a really great, *general* book with lots of examples of text and some really nice things that you dont find in books much anymore, like tracing paper overlays and work sheets. Dont underestimate the power of typography, and take advantage of how lucky we are now a days to have such easy access to an infinitely wide variety of text.
Some people, old people like me may remember lettrasets, and some others might remember even before lettrasets, when people actually had to ink their own fonts and font styles- which is just mind boggling.
I digress- this is a great book on lettering.

Lettering In Modern Use (1952)
Raymond Ballinger
246 pgs HC
Reinhold Publishing

Monday, November 22, 2010

Art of District 9

So I'll confide to you that Im already a long time Neill Blomkamp fan so obviously I'm going to beam about this Art of District 9 book. The production design of that film was absolutely tremendous. This book details a lot of what was put into that world. Of course all the alien weaponry and ships are super impressive and dripping with cool, but one thing that this book really highlights is all the fantastic graphic design that was created to sell that world as an actual, believable place. All the Alien and Human graphics, tags, vehicle markings and brand identity of the MNU is just so edgy and bad-ass. They really did a great job on this movie and I cant say enough on of how the art of book puts and explanation point or two behind the statement. Really good job you guys.

The Art of District 9: WETA Workshop
160 pages HC
ISBN 978-1-86950-902-6
Harpers Collins Publishers

Monday, November 1, 2010

The Art of Steamboy

This weeks Peek-a-Book is The Art of Steamboy, Katsuhiro Otomo's 2004 steampunk masterpiece. This book seemingly has all the background paintings and a lot of the preliminary sketches, and I seriously mean, a lot. A shame there aren't many mechanical model sheets or sketches, because the Steamboy film had some really great mechanics. Still if you're a background artist or interested in background art or old Victorian England, this is a book you should definitely check out.

The Art of Steamboy
272 pages HC

Monday, October 25, 2010


Here we are again, Peek-a-book Monday. I've been slightly focused on series or sets of books, and this week well take a look at the first of Pierre Lambert's lovely Disney series, Pinocchio. This is a sibling book to an earlier peek, Blanche Niege. I believe there at at least two others in this series; Mickey Mouse and The Jungle Book.
Pinocchio is filled mostly with concepts and background production paintings. You wont find many animation boards but there definitely are a few and also a few style sheets. Really nice, thick, ultra glossy paper and a couple fold out pans.
Along with Bambi, probably some of the finest background painting work to ever be seen on the screen or off.
Really great book for the background/Layout artist or anyone whos a fan of the movie.

Pierre Lambert
235pg HC
ISBN 0-78686247-5

Monday, October 18, 2010

Hugo-Pratt; Imaginaires Secrets

It's Peek-a-Book Monday again! This week we will take a peek at: Hugo Pratt; Periples Secrets. This is the matching sibling book to an earlier peek, Hugo Pratt; Periples Imaginaires. Theyre both lovely books and look great together on the shelf, but if you only can have one, definitely go for the first one, Periples Imaginaires.

415 pg HC
ISBN 978-2-203-01048-2

Monday, October 11, 2010

Akira Animation Archives

Peek-a-Book Mondays- This week, Akira Animation Archives. Personally I think besides the comics themselves, this is the best of all Akira books. Character Sheets, Mechanical Model Sheets, Layouts, Storyboards, and quite a few Animation Boards, including both Character and Effect Animations. Pretty much a great all around book for animators, visual developers, layout artists, and people like me who love all those motorcycles, psionic battles, and general outrageousness of Katsuhiro Otomo's Akira.

194 pages SC

Monday, October 4, 2010

Blanche Neige

This weeks Peek-a-Book is Blanche Neige, 1 of 4 magnificent sibling books available from Pierre Lambert. HC 243pgs Demons & Merveilles. Super glossy pages. 11.3 x 8.6 x 0.7 inches so its of substantial size. Packed full of visual development and production paintings. Id say this series are better for the background painters/layout than for the animator or character designer. But if you love old disney or are a fan of the Snow White Film, youll really like this book as well as the other 3 in the series, Pinocchio, Mickey Mouse, and Le Livre de la jungle.

NOTE ON MICKEY EDITION: I did read that the binding in the Mickey Mouse volume is poorly done so if you prefer your books pristine definitely try and find the French edition, but if you just want the pictures I bet you can find this one for cheap somewhere out there on the internets. The two I have, Blanche Neige and Pinocchio havent given me any problems with the binding and ive had them for a number of years. Highly recommended.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Mospeda Complete Artworks

Finally found it. This is the book that would have really freaked me out during those super influential post high school years. Which was long ago- but better late than never. Im not entirely clear on the history of this book, but it looks pretty new- or at least a new cover and some updated pages? (Correct me if Im wrong but that 1/10 scale suit that I have scanned below sure looks new). But who knows- this spin off of the Robotech series was certainly ahead of its time- everything still looks great, and everything to see in this universe is definitely packed into this book! I especially like seeing all the concepts and production drawings for the Earth Fleet that shows up for the final showdown. I'd like to talk with someone who has seen the original series to see if some of those episodes were left out of the American version's season. All the hangers and ship designs are some of my favorites. There is also a lot of great Invid suits, ships and interiors I had never seen before, along with a good shot of what an Invid pilot looks like while sitting in a cockpit- gross!!
Really great book. If you liked Macross, you will really like this-

Mospeda Complete Artworks
Entertainment Archive Series
$32 @ Kinokuniya

Friday, October 17, 2008

LA <> SF

LA<>SF A Sketchbook From California by Christian Schellewald.
Sketchbooks are pretty big these days so here's a really good one published by Design Studio Press. I really admire this guys skills in drawing while riding in a car- personally I get seasick when I draw or read, but Mr Schellewalds got no problems. Probably because he seemingly has his sketchbook litteraly ALWAYS. This guys the real deal and always inspires me to have my skecthbook with me absolutely at every moment.
Here are some favorite pages, note the beer labels pasted on pages that appear often. Nice.

HC 128pgs ISBN: 1-9334-9210-4
$29.95 Design Studio Press

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Dream Worlds

Dream Worlds; Production Design for Animation, by the prolific Hans Bacher.
I just picked up this book and I cant recommend it enough for anyone with an interest in animation, even the seasoned vets of the industry will find new tips, be reminded of some old ones, and hear some fascinating anecdotes of the second golden era of Feature Animation- the Late 1980s and 1990's. If you were like me, you were catching these films such as Mulan and Beauty and the Beast on their opening days and fantasizing about the future when you'd have opportunities to work on such masterpieces. Hans Bacher was there and with quite a bit of candidness writes about both the difficulties and triumphs of each project.
Along with those stories, he breaks down the pipeline for the production designer into easy to understand chunks and even has sections explaining what makes a good composition and notes on camera lenses etc. etc. Many of his own production paintings are included- and as a bonus- Bambi backgrounds he pulled from dvds via capture software (great idea!). Most of these actual backgrounds are long gone and the few that remain consist of multiple sheets of painted glass making reproduction difficult. Those Bambi background paintings are some of the finest to ever grace the silver screen. AMAZING!

Dream Worlds
ISBN # 978-0-240-52093-3
208 pages

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Tekkon Kinkreet Art Book White Side

Its more than time for me to review this pair of books that Ive been sitting on for more than a year now- Tekkon Kinkreet, or Black and White, by the extremely talented artist, Taiyo Matsumoto is a three volume comic book that was originally released by Shogakukan and rereleased in 2000 by Viz. In 2007 it was brought to the big screen by director Michael Arias, who is well known for his work on The Animatrix. This two book set details the background paintings from this amazing film. Apparently some people were disappointed by the film, but for me its stands out as my all time favorite animated feature. Not to mention this being my all time favorite film, these two books also represent my all time favorite art books. This one in particular, "The White Side" is nearly entirely all full color paintings of the black and white pencil layouts contained in the First book of the pair; "The Black Side" which is reviewed below.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Tekkon Kinkreet Art Book Black Side

This is the first book in the set, Tekkon Kinkreet Black Side. This fantastic volume contains a handful of pre-vis paintings and a whole lot of the pencil layouts that went into developing the final background paintings contained in the second volume, Tekkon Kinkreet White Side.

Monday, December 31, 2007

The Elements of Style

Just picked up a pretty neat "Encyclopedia of Domestic Architectural Details" book. If you're fascinated with finding out all the various terms for different types of moldings, or if you ever wondered what a "muntin" or a "baluster" is- this maybe is a good book for you. Covers from Jacobean and Tudor (1485-1625) to The Contemporary Era (1975- present day). Probably a great resourse for both concept artists and modelers- I feel as though it gives you all the details you need to keep your architecture and interiors accurate and consistent across a wide variety of western styles.
Published by Firefly Books, ISBN 1-55407-079-1 580 pages.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Baghdad Journal

Its actually an older book- I picked it up a couple years ago- and I first became aware of Steve Mumford a couple years ago through his diary. He went over to Iraq during the 2003 invasion seemingly with one plan. To draw, paint, and to witness. He arrived there early enough that perhaps you could still walk the streets of Baghdad alone in relative safety. Sketchbook and paints in hand, he wrote and drew who he met and what he saw. Its a fantastic glimpse into a world my American ass will never ever see . I find its EXTREMELY RARE to find an artist who is doing something no one else is doing, or will likely ever be able to do. Most of his journal postings can be found here;
But I really recommend you go out and buy this book in support of his work... not to mention just to have a well drawn and well written sketchbook of an occupied Middle East that will never ever be the same.
I tried to pull out some of my favorite sketches and paintings, very difficult cause there are so many good ones, but here are a few.
Buy this book.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Hugo Pratt "Periples Imaginaires"

Just got this Hugo Pratt watercolors book. Its huge and packed with could be the art book of the year. Great text to art ratio.
I really want to scan some of the pages and show you some wonderful examples of his work found in here- but the book is so big and heavy its close to impossible. Big and heavy as in filled with art and unscannable. Im serious. All I can do is snag some stuff off of the internets.

..a few of those additional samples- great stuff- Highly recommended. I got mine through Stuart Ng who is the guy you should buy all your books from- he is also good about friendly and quick replies when you have questions or are looking for advice on certain titles. Support his shop.