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4.6 out of 5 stars
Mechanika: How to Create Science Fiction Art
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 9 April 2009
I am a full time sci-fi concept artist and this has taken the top spot for mechanical design. A step by step approach to solving designs from personal transports to large machines, plus the occasional creature!
It is also very useful for teaching freehand perspective drawing, which is great for turning your 2D orthographic designs into finished artwork.

The book is five stars really - but you might find it falls short if you were expecting loads of great art.
It is mainly a production art book for serious hard surface designers - and a very good one at that. It covers mainly traditional working on paper, but easily translates to Painter and Photoshop. I found it a must have!
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
It's not very often you see a great concept artist come up with a tutorial book. Here, we have a great book by Doug Chiang. He's the concept artist for big movie hits like Star Wars, War of the Worlds and Terminator just to name a few.

In this book are 30 lessons and step-by-step tutorials for creating science fiction art, mainly robots. There are details and tips for using Photoshop.

Through these pages, one can see Doug Chiang's process of creating sci-fi concept art. It's always interesting to find out how other artist work, especially one of such high caliber.

His work has also appeared in other books like Robota, and The Art of Star Wars: The Revenge of the Sith.

There are more pictures of the book on my blog. Just visit my Amazon profile for the link.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 24 October 2008
Anyone interested in sci fi art, illustration, industrial design or vehicle design would be well advised to purchase this book, by Doug Chaing. It holds explanations on how to develop a number of drawings from vehicles to androids using Dougs award winning style.

Sections in the book include a look into Dougs studio and equipment, discussing ranges of markers, papers, and computer painting.
Personally I gained a lot of information from the "Foundation Lines" section which helped to explain the often very technical looking lines which help to build up a drawing.

As an aid to drawing, I find it invaluable. Drawing examples within the book are very clear and follow a step by step method with short narration and drawing tips. Within a few hours I had a basic grasp of elementary techniques and within a few days I began to experiment with various markers and painting methods. Dougs drawings are developed from a much looser and quicker approach but finishes are highly detailed and dynamic, all of which can be mastered with the examples given in this publication.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 3 June 2010
This book as absolutely incredible. Dough Chiang explains every single step in creating simple but effective concept art for science fiction artists. I have just completed a degree in computer games design, and if I'd known about this book earlier in my studies I believe it would have helped me immensely. It covers both marker based art and photoshop work, and the two together blending traditional and digital styles. His own works are broken down to many stages to make each step clear and very easy to follow.

I've read plenty of similar books which didnt go into half as much detail. This is a MUST BUY for any concept artist in training.

I'd go so far as to say this really deserves a 6 star review
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 28 January 2010
Probably the best Art Tutorial book I own as far as inspiring me to have a go myself which is my main reason for buying books like this. It's very much reliant upon owning Prismacolor Markers to get the most out of the book but it makes a change to not have such a heavy reliance upon digital techniques. Yes the digital art is still covered but it's not stuff that can't be achieved easily with other, more traditional tools too. I really enjoyed looking through this book, the artwork fits my style perfectly and I will most likely try my hand at many of the pieces covered. Highly recommended.
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on 18 September 2013
This book shows concise, straightforward guidelines to flesh out detailed yet usable sci-fi concepts.
Several designs spacing from aliens to starships are broken down in a step-by-step fashion, from the blue pencil sketch to the finished piece in either traditional (markers and ink) or digital (Photoshop); that said, the book is always valid regardless of what medium you're using. Each step brings some "happy accidents" to the table, and the author's method relies on building on top of these unplanned elements to flesh out a more interesting design.

Mr. Chiang assumes the reader is a good draftsman already which means the book is primarily focused on method. There's also general guidelines on design (strong silhouettes, resting areas vs. detail, leading the viewer's eye).

Overall it's a great book for artists who need to develop sci-fi concepts but don't know how to approach the genre. The quality of the artwork is great and the book is pleasant to read. I wish the book were more detailed on the actual subjects depicted (e.g. joints and other mechanical parts, equipment, etc.), but it's nothing that looking for your own reference doesn't cover. It's definitely worth its price.
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on 10 December 2012
I got this on my Kindle (the only drawback to this is it's in Black & White ....Note#0. Should have got the Kindle Fire !)... In saying that the illustrations are still outstanding to look at.
i've not had chance to explore it properly but i've flicked through it ...(so to speak) and find that it is very imformative.
with great reference of the kind of materials you would need to use to produce some fantastic Sci-Fi artwork.
I've read the Illustrated book 'Robota' in which Doug Chiang did the artwork and i think wrote or co-wrote and I go to say the artwork is magnificent and of a very high standard... And i'm hoping to get some inspiration from this book also as I love to draw Sci Fi pictures and illustrations myself. And though a Novice, up to Doug Chiangs' standards, I think I and alot of other 'budding' sci-fi artists could learn alot from Mechanika ....Espcially if you like Robots and Space ships etc !
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on 16 July 2011
I bought this book after I saw the making of Beowulf and the concept art produced by Mr. Chiang.
Then I looked more about this artist (Star Wars and so on) and I took this book.
The book has great and inspiring images in terms of mech design and composition. The steps to create those images are clear, but be aware: you have to know how to draw in order to achieve same results, it's not a tutorial step by step, they are in general terms, but they are very good.
I'm not a drawer, for example, I'm a 3d artist and I love science fiction, so this book was a must for me.
Enjoy!
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on 1 June 2013
I'm slowly getting into my digital art work, as I use to enjoy doing allot of art back in my school and college days. But the ideas and potential for what you can do in the digital art world now is just amazing. If you want inspiration or any possible ideas for good concept pieces, then you need to buy this book. It's a massive book and full of fantastic designs from various artists, and this includes examples as well as tutorials. Buy it, you'll love it.
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on 31 January 2012
This book is worth it simply for the imagery alone, but it also contains a number of really good 'step-by-step' break downs of full illustrations and a number of really good little nuggets of wisdom about the artists particular thought processes and design methodology. All in a Great book at a great price would recommend it for the artwork alone, but the useful information and the step-by-step tutorials make it a fantastic purchase.
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