Iíve always been a picture guy. Iím a visual learner almost to a fault (math is hard) and the way I recall memories is by shuffling through pictures in my head until I find the one I am trying to remember. This makes me the worst navigator on earth but I do have a deep appreciation of art and artistic things. So it comes as no surprise that I collect art books. They allow me to own a part of the beauty I have found in a video game or artist or thing and it makes my heart sing. So I wanted to share with all of you my collection of art books. Itís meager in terms of volume but thereís a lot of love for the pictures contained on the glossy, photo stock paper. Iím mostly just going to kind of jump around from book to book as a memory hits me so this will be a little random and maybe a wee bit disjointed. I hope you enjoy the following pictures and my apologies for the blurriness. For the life of me, I could not get these to upload to the blog correctly so I had resize them and it was a bit of a hack job. Oh, and thereís one image near the bottom thatís kind of NSFW so just a warning there.
Udon is a lovely company. They create some great art books and they do a great job in making each art book a love letter to video games and the fans. The few Udon books I own are absolute gems to me. The Capcom Design Works has some of my favorite art from Capcomís archives over the past twenty plus years and that Okami book was something I ordered from Japan the day after I beat the game when it had just come out. I always loved the robot designs for Mega Man and when the Mega Man books were released, I knew I needed them in my life. They are now somewhat rare so Iím glad I grabbed them when I did. If you get the chance to acquire them, the liner notes about the characters are very insightful and well worth reading.
These are some of the most cherished art books I own right here. The first Bioshock art book is something I have debated on being buried with along with my My Pet Monster and Priss, my fetal cat in a mason jar. The Resident Evil archives book is so great. Itís got every weird monster and strange character from most of the games and as a fan of the series since the first game, I was so happy when I found this. Fun fact: My local video game store had this sitting in a discount bin so I got it half off cover price. That was a good day in my waking world. If you loved El Shaddai then you should own at least one art book. They are amazing and really capture the surreal beauty that was found throughout the game.
I finally grabbed the Asuraís Wrath art book which I had been meaning to for a while. Itís pretty awesome and if you are a fan of the game and the art style, this is well worth your hard earned pennies. Thatís the Onimusha 3 strategy guide up there. I was surprised when I picked this up that it came with a pretty hefty art book along with the guide. Iíve had a difficult time finding a decent Onimusha art book so this was a pretty neat find. Oh, and the Nier book is more strategy guide than art book but its Nier and I love it so.
Iíve never played the Monster Hunter games but holy shit do they have neat art books for the games! The one I picked up is just all the different weapons from the games. Some of the weapon designs are pretty amazing, like the lobster crossbow. The Shin Megami books are must haves because of the art direction. The monster design in this series is some of my favorite ever. Want a three-breasted woman with fly eyes and a bird cage for a torso? Done! Iím not really sure what Fantasy Earth Zero is but I like the cover so I picked it up.
Speaking of Monster Hunter, I grabbed volume 2 of the Illustrations set. This one comes with two books in a slip case. One is full color and the other is black and white sketches. I love the detailing on the monsters and character classes (giant weapons are neat!) so this was needed in my waking world. The Breath of Fire complete works book has some of the richest colors I have seen in an art book so far. Itís really quite stunning. Digital Devil Apocalypse is all about crazy monsters and weird haircuts. The Rogue Galaxy book is special to me as that game was one of the best RPGís I have played in years. Seriously, check it out. Well worth an RPG fanís time. Meganix is robot art from Mazinger Z to Robotech to Gundam. And lastly we have the The Eye of Atrocity
which is all about violent art of Yoshitoshi. This beautiful book was a gift from our own VenusInFurs who is a fellow collector of true beauty.
These are most of my mini books. Some more Shin Megami stuff because sensual kill beasts are awesome. The Final Fantasy VI guides are neat to flip through and make for great stocking stuffers for your friends. The guide in the upper right corner is Silent Hill and I loved the cover so that had to be in the collection. The Marvel Super Heroes guide was just too fun to pass up and it features a lot of the cabinet art from back in the day so itís worth owning.
Here is my small but dedicated anime art book section. Cowboy Bebop is my favorite anime and the book was a gift from a friend many moons ago. Itís pretty badass and has sentimental value to boot. Thatís an Evangelion art book in the upper right corner and includes a lot of production art from the new movies which I think is quite lovely. That centaur Evangelion? How fucking great is that? The bottom two books are from Sengoku Basara which is like Dynasty Warriors but a bit more color-coded and silly. I enjoyed the anime and found these books dirt cheap so I couldnít pass them up.
I found out about this guy named Yasushi Nirasawa. Heís an artist and model maker and sculptor out of Japan. Heís worked on video games, movies and television designing creatures. His work is fucking incredible. The details on his models and sculptures are stunning to me. I donít think Iíll ever be able to swing owning some of his work but these books are good enough for now. If you like terrible monsters then Google this guy.
This is my more ďadultĒ collection of books. Iíve always been fond of erotica and the surreal and grotesque so when I found out there were collected volumes of art dealing with the subject, I was giddy. Hitesh Hino is a horror manga artist who is known for making books about kids who get turned into bugs and live in the sewer where they eat people. Heís a big fan of Hell and what happens to people in Hell and drawing Hellscapes. His cartoonish style underlines the real menacing feeling you get from his work. In the bottom right corner is Marougraph
by Suehiro Maruo. This guy makes the most sad, fucked up wonderful stuff that is at once achingly beautiful and viscerally repugnant. His art makes my heart sing and my stomach turn and I love him for that.
Decadence: Fetish Art in Japan
was a random find in a bookstore and one of the first books I bought when I decided to start collecting strange and erotic stuff. Itís filled with pages of classic woodblock prints dating back hundreds of years of all kinds of devious behaviors as you can no doubt glimpse from the cover. Up next is Chimusi 2
by Toshio Saeki. This guy takes equal parts Japanese Mythology and erotic fable and creates images that are haunting and enticing. All his lines and colors are so soft and delicate. It gives his work a kind of visual sensuality that I really like.
Lastly we have Red Mausoleum
by Keita Amemiya. Itís not really an erotic book but it got included here for space reasons. Keita is the guy who draws the really awesome Monkey King mange thatís out now and has done Hakaider and Zeiram the Animation. His stuff is gorgeous.
Now we get to the Western art books. Fun fact about me: Brian Bolland is my absolute favorite comic book artist. From his early work for 2000AD through his evolution as a cover artist on books like The Invisibles and Animal Man, Iíve followed his career and art to the best of my ability. It was a no brainer for me to own these books. He draws everyone and everything like it was under fluorescent bathroom lighting and itís just lovely. New fun fact about me: my favorite comic book cover of all time is Animal Man no 61. You should check it out. Google ďAnimal Man Lobster CoverĒ and it should be the fourth image from the top.
I got this library copy of the Vertigo Visions art book for a dollar off of Amazon which is awesome because Vertigo is my favorite comic publisher and library copies of books make me very happy. Reload
is a collection of art from Heavy Metal magazine which I have been getting into lately. Pretty awesome stuff. Lots of space monsters, Barbarella-esque women and insect people.
I am a bit of a slut when it comes to the art for Warhammer and Warhammer 40K. So I tend to pick up art books whenever I can. As I live in the United States, finding them can be somewhat difficult, especially the older books but thanks to some fortunate dealings and Amazon, I have been able to secure a few for my collection. Thereís still three or four Iím dying to own but unless I come into some money or make a trip to a used bookstore in England, I may be wishing for them for quite a while.
The Dark Crystal
is my favorite movie of all time. It has been since I was a child and my love for it has only grown now that I am an adult. Unfortunately, Dark Crystal memorabilia is somewhat limited and can be hard to find. Thankfully, I have been able to get these two amazing art books. The re-release of the World of the Dark Crystal
is something I am proud to say that I indulge in on an almost masturbatory level. I have tried to burn its pages into my muppet arms brain and commit ever nuanced detail into my waking mind. The Land of Froud
is an art book which contains drawings and paintings by Brian Froud that would go on to be the basis for a number of creatures that would inhabit the world of the Dark Crystal. When I saw this at the bookstore, I jumped a little from joy and felt that God had reached into my chest and pulled the sadness from my heart.
This is a bit of a mish mash of books I find to be joyful and triumphant. Volumes one and two of beasts are pretty great. A bunch of different artists each do a drawing based on a mythical beast from a bunch of different cultures. The result is two volumes of awesome monster drawings. Well worth picking up. Next up is the Art of Reboot
. As a child of the mid to late 80ís and a teen form the 90ís, this is pretty self-explanatory. Comic artist Ben Templesmith not only has a badass last name, but he also draws weird tentacle monsters and robot warrior gods.
is a collection of some of the weird and horrible creatures that have come from his mind. If you are a fan of his art style, I highly recommend you read Wormwood: Gentleman Corpse
. Itís very much worth owning.
Tomer Hanuka is an artist who came to my attention when I started to collected prints and posters from places like Mondo Tees and Nakatomi, Inc. His stuff is stunning. Think James Jean but with a harder edge. His cover for the Marquis De Sadeís Philosophy in the Boudoir
almost makes me blush which is no easy feat. His art book Overkill
collects some prime examples of his style and if you are looking for a beautiful art book to sit on your shelf, this is it.
Finally we have Gigerís Alien
. If you are a fan of the Alien franchise or just really dig the look of the xenomorph then this is the book for you. All the concept art for the alien along with Gigerís notes and his retrospective on the process (which he apparently had a very bad experience with) is fascinating and revealing. You get to see the evolution of the creature from initial designs to modifications to the creation of the costume and how it worked in the film. Plus, you get to see how the Face Hugger was created. Sometimes I think I love the Face Hugger more than the alien. Thereís just something about the simplicity of its design and the nature of how it violates its victim. Itís terrible and amazing all at once. This book has been reprinted a few times but you can score a copy on the used book market reasonably cheap. I cannot recommend this book enough for Alien fans out there.
The last few pictures I want to share with everyone are just kind of fun things. Here is my graphic novel collection. Please excuse the mess on the shelves and around it. Iíve been meaning to spring clean since July but always find an excuse not to. I love my comic books. Some of the most inspiring moments I have had in my waking world have come from reading comics. I cherish these graphic novels for what they are and what they have given me. My current plan is that one day I would like to donate my collection to a library so that future generations of awkward, quiet people can discover the beauty that I have found.
This is a picture of me as a Crossed drawn by Dave Lapham. I plan to make this my Christmas Card next year.
Thanks for taking this journey with me. I hope you enjoyed my words and pictures. Have a lovely day.