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Parka (Singapore)
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Maaaps: 19 Hand-Drawn Maps of Fun-Filled, World-Class Cities
Maaaps: 19 Hand-Drawn Maps of Fun-Filled, World-Class Cities
by Aunyarat Watanabe
Edition: Paperback
Price: 9.37

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fun book of wonderful map drawings, 26 Dec 2013
Length:: 0:25 Mins

Here's a fun book of wonderful map drawings by Japanese illustrator Aunyarat Watanabe.

The book's published by They Draw and Travel, a website of illustrated maps contributed by artists from around the world. But for this artbook, it's just Aunyarat Watanabe with her beautiful colourful map drawings.

I'm not sure what art materials she uses but it looks like colour pencils or crayons. The vibrant colours just pop out. The illustrations are cute and whimsical, with icons from the different places and a collage of interesting interpretation of tourists attractions. The art is great.

The book is really brief though at 44 pages. 19 maps plus one last map is empty for you to draw on. The text describing each place is also incredibly brief.

Overall, it's a delightful artbook.

The website They Draw and Travel is actually run by Studio SSS, the same team that brought you They Draw and Cook. Hopefully, there will be another thicker book of maps from the artists featured from the website.

If you like more map art, check out A Map of the World: The World According to Illustrators and Storytellers.

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


The Drawing Breakthrough Book: Drawing Made Easier for Everyone
The Drawing Breakthrough Book: Drawing Made Easier for Everyone
by John Hastings
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Concise, effective hands-on drawing book, 26 Dec 2013
The Drawing Breakthrough Book is a book on drawing most suitable for the absolute beginner learning to draw. It is a series of step-by-step exercises that aims at getting you to learn drawing quickly.

The instructions are clear and concise. Examples are practical and easy to follow. There are lots of drawing tips which beginners will find helpful.

There are a couple of good books on drawing around. The other one I would recommend and prefer is Keys to Drawing which covers more content. If you want to be really good, you can get both books.


The Guided Sketchbook That Teaches You How to Draw!
The Guided Sketchbook That Teaches You How to Draw!
by Robin Landa
Edition: Paperback
Price: 15.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A very different drawing book, 25 Dec 2013
Length:: 1:13 Mins

This book takes a rather academic approach to teach drawing. By academic, I mean lots of text and instructions with not much visuals.

While the instructions are clear and easy to follow, the lessons would be more fun and impactful with more illustrated examples.

Say for example, there's a section where it talks about values and the different effects that result. It's difficult to feel the effect when you're just reading about them and can't see them, although I must say that there are exercises in the book where you practice creating those values. Half the book are instructions with blank space for you to draw on so I guess you'll have lots of practice.

By the way, the most important pages in the book are pages 10 and 11 on drawing what you see by measuring and judging the relationship between spaces and points. Many of the later lessons use the techniques taught in those two pages.

Personally for me, I prefer a book on drawing instructions with lots of drawing, such as Bert Dodson's Keys to Drawing, or even Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain by Betty Edwards which has lots of text too. I guess I'm not particularly inspired by this book because it does not show what you can achieve after going through the lessons -- there aren't a lot of visual examples as I've mentioned.

Before you buy, I highly recommend you use Amazon's Look Inside feature to preview the pages.


Monster Hunter Illustrations 2
Monster Hunter Illustrations 2
by Capcom
Edition: Paperback
Price: 30.25

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another 400 pages of Monster Hunter art, 25 Dec 2013
Length:: 2:00 Mins

Just like the first volume of Monster Hunter Illustrations, Udon has done a wonderful job again with this second volume.

This is the English translated version of the Japanese edition モンスターハンターイラストレーションズ 2 (Monster Hunter Illustrations 2).

This English edition is one single book as compared to the 2-book set of the Japanese edition. Udon has combined both books together. That's 400 pages of artworks. They even used the same type of paper as in the Japanese edition, semi-gloss paper for the coloured illustrations and normal white paper for the sketches.

Since the content is the same, I'll just duplicate the review for the Japanese edition below.

The games featured are Monster Hunter (tri-) 3, Monster Hunter (tri-) 3G, Monster Hunter Portable 2nd and Monster Hunter Portable 3rd.

There are plenty of art for the monsters, characters, weapons, armour and miscellaneous designs for symbols and other stuff. The monsters art has always been awesome. The characters wear outrageous armour and sometimes carry weapons bigger than themselves. The designs are pretty cool because they look organic as they are created from monster materials such as bones, teeth and leather.

The sketches feature character art mostly. It's pretty cool to see how the line work evolve into the actual coloured version. Unfortunately, the sketches are not labeled with the game they are for.

The text are mostly interviews with the designers. All the labels pointing to the drawings are also translated so you can now make sense of what's what.

Overall, it's concept video game art book for Monster Hunter fans and concept artists.

Highly recommended.

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


One Watercolor a Day: A 6-Week Course Exploring Creativity Using Watercolor, Pattern, and Design (One a Day)
One Watercolor a Day: A 6-Week Course Exploring Creativity Using Watercolor, Pattern, and Design (One a Day)
by Veronica Lawlor
Edition: Paperback
Price: 11.55

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fun book for trying something new or spontaneous, 25 Dec 2013
Length:: 1:00 Mins

One Watercolor A Day follows the same style as Veronica Lawlor's previous book One Drawing A Day.

It's a 6-week course of 42 daily exercises on experimenting with watercolour.

The exercises are actually subjects that you can draw such as still life, landscapes, people, places, patterns and other miscellaneous ideas. If you're looking for ideas on things to draw, maybe this is the book for you.

This is not a book on watercolour techniques. The visual examples are loose and expressive. Very much like watercolour doodles, not the realistic representational kind, so there's no stress on trying to match the quality that you see. The goal is to have some fun while exploring the styles offered and suggested by the different artists featured in the book.

The artists are from Studio 1482, namely Veronica Lawlor, Despina Georgiadis, Eddie Peña, Dominick Santise, Greg Betza, Michele Bedigian and Margaret Hurst.

It's a fun book for those who feel like trying something spontaneous, new or different for a change.

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


Born in Concrete (Ek Series)
Born in Concrete (Ek Series)
by Derek Stenning
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 26.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Huge beautiful mysterious artworks from Derek Stenning, 23 Dec 2013
Length:: 1:55 Mins

Born in Concrete is an artbook collecting some pretty amazing paintings from concept artist and illustrator Derek Stenning.

The first thing that grabbed my attention is the size of the book. It's not very thick with 96 pages but It's big. The artworks do have the additional impact when they are printed huge. It's a pleasure to see them are large sizes.

EK stands for Entartete Kunst which translates from German to English to mean Degenerate Art. It's a term used during the Nazi regime in Germany to describe modern art. The subject inspired Derek Stenning to create something of his own and the theme you see in the book is one of sci-fi, mystery, and hidden symbolism.

Most the paintings involved cosmonauts that are attached by wires to mysterious floating orbs. Occasionally, there's some industrial complex in the background, which can be floating or on ground.

The artworks are really beautiful and detailed. I love the use of colour tint that gives each piece a different mood and atmosphere. The mysterious nature of each painting also helps to attention to it, to invite the audience to think about what they are looking at. You may not know what the cosmonauts are doing, but you'll be captivated nevertheless.

There are also some examples of the artworks being used on snowboards, on magazines and exhibited in a gallery. I can only imagine how awesome it would be to have one of the artworks as a huge painting hanging at home.

Also included is a step-by-step tutorial on the creation process which is a mixture of illustration, digital painting with Photoshop and 3D modelling to create certain elements.

This is a great artbook. Highly recommended.

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


Quick Sketching with Ron Husband
Quick Sketching with Ron Husband
by Ron Husband
Edition: Paperback
Price: 17.07

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good tips on quick figure sketching, 14 Dec 2013
Length:: 1:08 Mins

Quick Sketching with Ron Husband is essentially a book of quick tips on figure sketching. The book's goal is to get you to sketch quick, capture the moment, posture and gesture of people you see.

The book collects the sketches that Disney animator Ron Husband has made over decades. They might be very loose but they still portray successfully what the character is doing simply from the body language and movement. The tips are brief yet insightful. There are suggestions on what to look out for, techniques on making your figure drawing more interesting and other useful tips.

There's quite a lot of white space in the book. Not really a deal breaker, but just an observation. While the book is 408-pages, the content actually takes up only 352 pages and the rest are blank pages for you to draw on (probably at home because this is too big a book to bring out).

The more you draw, the more you can draw, the better you can draw. This book is inspiring in that sense.

This book reminds me very much of the two-volume set Drawn to Life: 20 Golden Years of Disney Master Classes by Walt Stanchfield which is also highly recommended.

Drawn to Life Vol 1
Drawn to Life Vol 2

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


Digital Painting Techniques Volume 5
Digital Painting Techniques Volume 5
by 3dTotal
Edition: Paperback
Price: 22.49

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Insightful resource for all digital painters, 10 Dec 2013
Length:: 2:20 Mins

Volume 5 of the Digital Painting Techniques series. This is yet another insightful learning resource for all digital painters. I probably can say that for all volumes after the first one came out.

The topics in this volume focus on weapon design (sci-fi guns), creatures from mythology (think Magic The Gathering), cartoon character styles, battle scenes, painting materials, custom Photoshop brushes and digital painting over 3D models.

The artists are each given a project and they talk about the process of creating their artworks from conceptualisation, creation to completion. The commentary is insightful, informative and filled with useful tips and tricks.

Using their own artworks as examples, they touch on things like researching, the handing of foreground background, creating areas of contrast, leading the eye or the handling of colour. It's a very artist-centric approach. The tutorials are quite detailed, as usual. They are mostly using Photoshop but the techniques can probably be used with other painting softwares, with the exception of those Photoshop custom brush tutorials. Tutorials files can be downloaded from publisher 3DTotal's website.

It's a great instructional book on digital painting. It's invaluable to learn from the pro artists featured. The book has 288 pages.

Other books in the series so far:
Digital Painting Techniques: Volume 1
Digital Painting Techniques: Volume 2
Digital Painting Techniques: Volume 3
Digital Painting Techniques: Volume 4
And Beginner's Guide to Digital Painting in Photoshop

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


Playing with Sketches: 50 Creative Exercises for Designers and Artists
Playing with Sketches: 50 Creative Exercises for Designers and Artists
by Whitney Sherman
Edition: Paperback
Price: 23.67

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great collection of fun drawing exercises and projects, 8 Dec 2013
Length:: 1:17 Mins

Playing with Sketches is a collection of fun drawing exercises and projects designed to keep your hands moving, and minds wandering. There are 50 activities in all, each one's a chapter by itself. I like this type of books because there are just so many things you can try out. The author is illustrator and educator Whitney Sherman.

The book starts with simple drawing exercises, such as drawing parallel lines, creating textures, playing with shapes, patterns, or even using smoke to draw, and others.

The latter part features more ideas and projects you can work on. Some of them would be like drawing things you see on the way home, having a different theme for your drawings each day, getting creative with using typography, collaborating with other artists, and many more.

Every activity comes with easy instructions and oftentimes some background on the techniques and history. They are accompanied by various examples of the same theme by other artists, and many artists featured so there's a good variety of styles to look at.

It's a book you can pick up, flip to any page, and get some ideas and inspiration for drawing. You can find new ways to use media, see things from a new perspective, and use the ideas and activities as springboard for further experimentation.

Recommended to to artists at all levels.

There are several publishers for this book, so the cover art might be different. Seems that in Asia, it's published by Page One Publishing, and elsewhere it's by Rockport Publishers.

If you're looking for similar books, I would also recommend Freehand: Sketching Tips and Tricks Drawn from Art by Helen Birch, Just Draw It! and Keys to Drawing with Imagination.


In the City: Drawings by Nigel Peake
In the City: Drawings by Nigel Peake
by Nigel Peake
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 9.65

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely interpretation of cities in lines and watercolours, 7 Dec 2013
Length:: 0:56 Mins

This is the companion book to Nigel Peake's previous artbook In the Wild where he captured the rural countryside in his unique visual style and interpretation.

With In The City, he travels to several cities to capture their scenes and sensibilities. He seems to have a fondness for repeatable patterns, textures and geometry. There are facades of windows painted in varying shades of blue, a beautiful red brick wall with each brick carefully placed, shapes of bridges drawn with just parallel lines, sometimes there are top views of isometric skyscrapers, a drink can or piece of receipt crushed flat.

He seeks out the patterns and textures, adds colours and unifies them. Even for messy scrapyards, or stacks of boxes put out for collection, or even books piled up in a secondhand bookstore, they may look a bit random, but they never look out of place. They are snapshots of interesting ways of looking at things.

It's a beautiful book. I love the style.

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


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