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d'artiste: Character Design is part of the tutorial series of art books from Ballistic Publishing. This volume is a 208 page paperback that comes with a slipcase. The printing quality is, as usual, very good. There's also a limited edition but that version cost more than two times more.
The three masterclass artists featured are Anne Pogoda, Kekai Kotaki, Gonzalo Ordonez (aka Genzoman). The presentation for each artist starts with the artist's background, the portfolio, two to three extensive step-by-step tutorials and a huge invited artist gallery. The tutorials are actually a look at the process.
Anne Pogoda's specialises on female characters. Her first tutorial looks at creating different variations of a female character, on how to change the looks using hairstyles, expressions and other visual devices. The second tutorial on designing an anime style character, but it didn't really look anime enough when compared to Gonzalo Ordonez's work. The third tutorial is on rescuing a character design that went bad, by reusing elements of two designs that didn't work out. The end result, unfortunately to me, doesn't look like a vast improvement.
I like Kekai Kotaki's section the most. He's a fantastic artist who can create unique, beautiful and believable characters. You might have seen his work created for Guild Wars (some are included here). It's great to see him featured here with three tutorials. He shows us how to create a wild, heroic and finally an evil character.
If you like anime style, you're sure to like Gonzalo Ordonez. His colourful illustrations are very energetic and eye catching. He has only two tutorials and they are on creating a devil-killing angel, and a valkryie with a wolf. Only two tutorials, but very extensive - well, all the tutorials from the artists are extensive.
This is a good book if you want to pick up new techniques. All artwork featured come with commentary, not just the tutorials.
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Where do i begin? First, i found this book while looking for Character Design techniques and this is only but one(actually, two with one other of this serie) of the works that i found. My first impression was already amazing, you could go to the publisher's site and actually flip trough the pages to see what you're getting in smaller proportion and i got already pretty psyched about it. I though that i should have it, but could barely afford the regular edition so i was not even close to the hard cover one. Imediatly i though that i would get something close to a magazine with high definition printing and a slightly superior paper and my psych begun to diminish as i started thinking about the problem.
Since i live in Brazil, i knew the shipping would take quite a while to arrive, as it did. You can't exactly expect such a specific book to come overseas in under a week or so, and i could not for the life of me find this in here anyways, so i just waited for it to arrive patiently. When it finally hit my house...
The packing was gigantic, i had actually no idea what was inside, but it was heavy. As i started unpacking my eyes began to shine when i finally opened it. First, it might not be a hard cover, but it comes in a perfectly fitting hard case, beautifully embelished by the cover's art printed in some of the best quality printing i have ever seen. The book was amazing, the contents were nothing short of a surprise with the paper. I might not know all that much about paper but it is printed on something like 120g/m² opaque which is great so that light don't actually reflect on your eyes as you're reading it, expect on the imagry that makes the allready beautifull drawing just shine.Read more ›
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They are not a part of the product description, but they do actually come with the book! You have to look at the last page of your book, that is were I found my code for downloading these videos. The videos seem to be linked to Ballistic's newest publications.
The book covers with Anne Pogoda pretty girls in a very refined, and more photorealistic style, and also an anime girl in a more "photoreal" approach. (rendering without the use of lineart). Anne also shows ways to repair paintings that are close to finished but that the artist feels are ruined. She explains it all in a clear to read and easy to understand technical approach. I personally enjoyed all of these very sexy examples, but I think that the portrait tutorial suits best for beginners and is also covered with a second approach (based on pencil lineart this time) in the video tutorial.
Kekai Kotaki shows his progress on dynamic men: good, evil and rogue. Approaching them all in a very concept art related style, but each time starting off from a slightly different angle and giving a way a lot of his excellent digital painting tricks. Kekai here works very technical, using a lot of Photoshop layer settings and such to gain his goal, which is very interesting and refreshing to read. I liked his rogue painting the most, since it envolves a lot of movement and coolness. His tutorials are more suitable for advanced artists.
Gonzalo Ordonez covers the kind of manga style which is known to be more "classical". His pretty fantasy girls are digitally colored lineart drawings. I liked them both. And I must add that his invited artist gallery also pretty much blew me away because there are a lot of fantastic anime artists in there which I prior did not know.Read more ›
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