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Star Wars Art: Concept Hardcover – 8 Oct 2013
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About the Author
Joe Johnston worked as a head storyboard artist, concept artist, and effects technician on the original Star Wars trilogy. With Ralph McQuarie, he developed the unique design for Boba Fett's armor and equipment. Johnston won an Academy Award for Best Visual effects for his work on Raiders of the Lost Ark, and has directed Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, the Rocketeer, Jumanji, Juarassic Park III, Hidalgo, and Captain America: the First Avenger.
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The art is unquestionably high quality and the way the book is laid out means that the pictures are given pride of place rather than lengthy descriptions and interviews. Those are all well and good in their place but an art book should show art and this one does it beautifully.
It is worth noting that a good portion of the art is from the three prequel films and fans of star wars art will already have most of these pictures if they own the concept art books from the prequel films, the clone wars animated series and the Force Unleashed game. I recognised quite a lot of the pictures from books I already own and was hoping for more previously unreleased material, especially from the original trilogy (my hopes being stoked by the incredible Ralph McQuarrie picture featured on the front cover). I would consider marking it down slightly for this but Amazon don't do half stars and this book is better than four stars. So while it's unquestionably well made, and there is quite a bit of artwork I haven't seen before, I'm still left feeling like it's missing something. In fairness I should probably point out that I say the same thing about most art books (seriously, read my other review of art books and you'll see it crops up fairly often).
Who will get most out of this book? Star wars fans who don't already own any (or at least many) other star wars concept art books and those people, like me, who need to have a complete collection. Those two groups of people will be giddy as a kid on Christmas with this book. Other than that; fans of concept art will get a kick out of it and, lastly, just nerdy sci-fi geeks (also like me).
For the price Amazon are charging (£16.25 at time of writing) this is undoubtedly a bargain.
I didn't know what to make of this book before buying. It's about concept art but there are already has dedicated artbooks for all their six movies.
Well, this book features a mixture of concept art in the style of fully painted pieces, such as those from Ralph McQuarrie, some comic style art with outlines and markers, the very textural grayscale scenes you see from Doug Chiang and digital paintings. You can really see the transition from using traditional to digital media for creating art somewhere in the middle of the book. I definitely prefer the traditional media art, even though the digital paintings are also good.
The paintings are beautiful, standard and varies, but mostly look great. The rougher ones are the digital concept art paintings.
There are portraits and character designs, locations and cool scenes. My favourites would be all the locations and background art as they are really beautiful and detailed. There are two paintings I thought are from military FPS video games until I spotted the Stormtroopers and AT-AT Walker.
Artworks are selected from the six films, animated TV series, video games (published and unpublished). Since there are so many Star Wars properties out there, only some can come from each. It's a mixed bag in the sense that you might actually want to see more of the art from the movies instead. While the art is good, the material selection or organisation feels haphazard.
Some Amazon reviewers expected a sizeable amount of Ralph McQuarrie paintings but there are only a handful. Well, this is not The Art of Ralph McQuarrie.
The highlight of this book is its large format. The paintings at huge sizes have more impact and it's wonderful looking at them. When looking at the large paintings, I feel that traditional media is better at handling the fade from detail to non-detailed areas. This is probably which I prefer the traditional media.
In terms of write-up, there's foreword by Joe Johnston, preface by Ryan Church, introduction by Dough Chiang and an interview with Erik Tiemens. The artworks are captioned with name, source and media. There's no explanation of the concept behind the art though.
It's a good artbook overall, with great art but If you want more concept art and read about conceptualisation, I would still recommended the dedicated Art of Star Wars series. Some of the artworks in this book are in those books.
(There are more pictures of the book on my blog. Just visit my Amazon profile for the link.)
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