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Drawing Down the Moon: The Art of Charles Vess Hardcover – December 29, 2009


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 200 pages
  • Publisher: Dark Horse Comics; First Edition edition (December 29, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1593078137
  • ISBN-13: 978-1593078133
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.9 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,336,162 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* One of contemporary comics’ classiest acts, fantasy artist Vess is even more stunning as a book illustrator. It’s altogether fitting, then, that book illustration looms large in this gorgeously produced retrospective album (the heavy, translucent section frontispieces are especially impressive). Vess provides his own very economical notes, which downplay technique in favor of autobiographical and art-appreciative remarks, the latter about his beloved influences, beginning with Arthur Rackham and Aubrey Beardsley, both of whose fluidly slender figures have their ilk in Vess’ creations. He also lauds the premier Victorian painter of fairies, Richard Dadd, whose mastery of crowded compositions Vess thoroughly learned; comics artists Hal Foster and Russ Manning, renowned for the ornate and graceful vigor of their work on Tarzan and Prince Valiant; and all manner of literary fantasists, starting with the Scots and English ballad makers and the Shakespeare of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which Vess has rendered in both comics and an illustrated edition of the full text. No wonder he’s the preferred artist of premier modern literary fantasists Neil Gaiman, Charles de Lint, and Susanna Clarke, the last of whom contributes an aptly breathless yet not giddy introduction. --Ray Olson

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Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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See all 19 customer reviews
This book can keep me occupied for hours.
J. Berlepsch
This large and thick book has excellent reproductions of his work through out his career, including unpublished and private commission pieces.
Matthew S. Dauer
It's just a fantastic art book brimming with Vess' beautiful works.
Tullae Mohre

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Parka TOP 50 REVIEWER on January 18, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Length: 0:29 Mins
I like Charles Vess' style. The scenes and images are magical, watercolours are beautiful, and there's a classic feel to his art. He's perfect for illustrating fantasy stories. By the way, he was won three Eisner Awards among others.

Drawing Down the Moon is a well constructed hardcover from Dark Horse. There are 200 pages and a couple are translucent with line art that overlays on the finished coloured piece beneath on the next page. Unfortunately, the overlay is just slightly misaligned, for my copy.

Over two hundred pieces of paintings and comic art are featured, from covers, comics, private commissions and personal pieces, along with them notes from Charle Vess. Creating enchanting backgrounds and fairytale characters is his specialty. So much so that it makes you want to find out more about the story after looking at the pictures.

He has created a whole lot of art for countless publications. The most notable ones are probably the paintings he did for Neil Gaiman's Stardust, which was made into a movie (I love that movie!). A few of the 175 pieces created for Stardust are featured here, not the concept art though. He's able to capture Neil Gaiman's imagination perfectly and make them come real.

The book finishes off with an interesting look at his creation process, how he handles a commissioned project, though there are no pictures of how he actually paints.

This is an inspiring retrospective for Charles Vess. Highly recommended to fantasy artists.

(More pictures are available on my blog. Just visit my Amazon profile for the link.)
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By J. Rainey on December 29, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have been a big fan of Charles Vess for over a decade and have a first edition copy of Stardust that I bought when it was first published, as well as some of his other work. So I was very excited to see this book listed and originally ordered it over 2 years ago when I first saw it on Amazon. It was definitely worth the wait. What incredibly beautiful work! I am so drawn to Charles' unique style, which never ceases to amaze me. It strikes me as an interesting blend between the old-fashioned and classic, but with a fresh twist that sets it apart from anything else. This book is a fascinating look at the progression of his work over many years, with insights into his remarkable career thus far. If you appreciate quality artwork and fantasy art in particular, then treat yourself to this wonderful book; you're bound to fall in love with it, just as I did.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Daniel V. Reilly VINE VOICE on November 5, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I've been a fan of Charles Vess since his days doing The Warriors Three for Marvel Fanfare waaaaay back in the early 1980's, so it's great to see a big, meaty collection of his artwork that spans his entire career. The selection of images used is almost perfect (If only there were another hundred pages.....), and the colors look amazing. Dark Horse has done an exemplary job here, and fans of Vess will spend hours poring over this book and studying all of the artwork in detail. Great stuff!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Andrea V. on January 1, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Charles Vess seems so familiar with the worlds of Faerie and magic that it makes you wonder what really goes on in those Virginia foothills he calls home...
Drawing Down The Moon is an absolute necessity for anyone who has ever longed for a peek into the worlds that exist just out of our sight.
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Format: Hardcover
Charles Vess has been one of the preeminent American fantasy artists for over thirty years. In this new collection from Dark Horse, four decades of Vess' whimsical fantasy and comic book are on display in a handsome, hardcover volume. This includes some of Vess' most early work from the 1970s which has never been previously published. To me, Vess is the consummate fantasy artist. His work has an eldritch and lyrical quality to it that seems to come naturally. His illustrations of the Fairie Realm are the standard by which all other artists should be judged. Yet it is his comic book work that Vess has perhaps found his greatest success.

Included within are some of his best-known cover work including Web of Spider-Man #1 with its gothic setting of Spider-Man perched atop a pair of gargoyles; his many covers for DC's Swamp Thing and The Spectre, and his work with Neil Gaiman on The Books of Magic. Also included are examples of Vess' work for novels, gaming products, children's books, theater posters and albums. His Theater Bristol illustrations especially are gorgeous and capture the look and feel of earth 20th century American folk art.

Vess provides a commentary on many of the pieces inside and each illustration is noted with title, year, and art form used. This is an astonishing edition devoted to a true master of fantasy.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
...comes this amazing collection of his work. Charles Vess captures the look and imagery of the little people like they would capture any poor soul who walked into their ring of mushrooms! This large and thick book has excellent reproductions of his work through out his career, including unpublished and private commission pieces. The delay on this book was worth it for the perfection it contains and the extras at the end that would not have made it (a large bronze fountain in his hometown and a nice piece on how he creates his own nice pieces of art). This is not just a must for Vess and faerie fans but fans of any fantasy genre as well as those who appreciate his beautiful blending of watercolor and pencil. Sure to be a common gift from me to others for the near future!
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