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4.7 out of 5 stars
Spectrum 19: The Best in Contemporary Fantastic Art
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34 of 34 people found the following review helpful
TOP 50 REVIEWERon January 8, 2013
Spectrum has been an amazing artbook series, and we're so close to almost two decades of work now. Amazing.

The Grand Master Award in this series goes to James Gurney. I was wondering when. Beside him, you'll see a lot of new and familiar names in the world of art. The art is fantastic and wide ranging as usual.

This is a great deal for the price of the book, which comes in paperback and hardcover. 304 pages total.

Highly inspirational. Highly recommended.

(There are more pictures of the book on my blog. Just visit my Amazon profile for the link.)
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on November 27, 2012
For nearly 20 years Spectrum has been Collecting and showing off the best art in the realm Science Fiction and Fantasy. The pages of these book have been hallowed ground for those breaking into the business of art or those just seeking inspiration. Spectrum 19 is the largest Spectrum to date and it is full of a wide range fantastic art in many categories. This latest offering is another incredible volume to add to or begin your collection with. Open up the pages and fall in and enjoy your journey.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on December 2, 2012
Fantastic art from cover to cover. I have all volumes and this book fits in perfect with well done fantasy art of all types. Digital art, sculpture and more throughout the book. This book an investment in my education as well. There is always something new and inspiring inside the pages of these collections and art has been my passion since the early sixties. The back of the book has the contact information for finding out more about each artist - their website url if you want to satisfy the need to learn more. These are such good books I never hesitate to order them as soon as they are available and even the price is reasonable. Perhaps my art may grace one of these well done books.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on November 28, 2012
Still the best measure of the genre. What I always really enjoy about Spectrum is the representation of not only what is really happening in the field but also the representation of the best in the field and the best in illustration. Tastes will always vary but excellence can still be measured by the best in Spectrum.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
I've bought Spectrum every year since the first one (but missed two), when I met some of the people behind the book at a convention. The goal of each Spectrum collection is a noble one: to showcase the year's most creative works, across various fields and media, in the pop culture areas of science fiction and fantasy. This means that every Spectrum volume is a compendium of works ranging from sculptures (and in this one a functioning bronze cannon), paintings, design sketches, illustrations and more--some real, some digital, some a combination of both. Comic art is interwoven with book covers, Magic (the Gathering) card art, game design art, and more. Each year highlights one artist in particular, talks about the industry as a whole, and there's even a section devoted to works that went unpublished. I liked seeing art from names as famous as Michael Whelan, James Gurney and Julie Bell, but then I also enjoyed some names I'd never heard of.

Spectrum 19 isn't perfect: although they work really hard to clearly and colorfully print every work I spotted a couple that were surprisingly out of focus. Because many of these works were commissioned for a purpose, such as a book cover or an illustration, they tend towards the 'graphic arts' more than 'fine arts'--figures placed front and center, backgrounds sometimes de-emphasized, digital processing at times a bit lurid. However, looking through these books is magical. There is so much imagination, and so many diffent ways these artists present their creativity, that I can't help but enjoy each year's new volume. For creative people, this is a fun journey through others' imaginations.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on January 8, 2013
This series of books probably demonstrates the huge range of the human imagination. The variety of subject matter should have something to appeal to just about every art taste. I purchase these books for ideas as much as their outright beauty. A good source for motivation and ideas. A great source for just admiration and contemplation. I highly recommend it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
The Spectrum annuals present the most amazing fantasy art of the previous year. Each category (comic art, 3D, advertising, and lots more) has its own top awards, but dozens of other contenders as well. The moods and styles are all over the place, from the humor of "Caught Changing," to the warm if somewhat creepy tribute in "I am Providence," to the sensuality of "Kiss of Knowledge," to the classic brawn of "The Destroyer," to the fantastic realism of Bell and Vallejo. But, in any category, mood, or style, craftsmanship is impeccable. As always, this collection offers inspiration, wit, beauty, and offers it in new ways on each return visit.

As with "Spectrum" from other years, this has my highest recommendation.

-- wiredweird
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on February 14, 2013
I purchased Spectrum 19 because my son's art appears on page 251. I am very please to say the book has amazing art in it submitted by about 300 artists from all over the world. I have looked through the book cover to cover and placed it on my coffeetable. I would suggest this book to all art lovers.
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on January 13, 2013
I own most of the Spectrum books...beginning with Spectrum 1. Each year the artwork just becomes more spectacular.

As the title suggests Spectrum 19 focuses on "Fantastic" Art. And I would further define that by saying most of it falls loosely in the following categories: Fantasy (ala Lord of the Rings - goblins, fairies, elves and so on); Science-Fiction (including space scenes, robots, aliens etc); "Dark" subjects like skeletons, witches, demons and the like; cartoony / comic pieces; Knights and faire maidens, castles and lotz and lotz of dragons in all shapes and sizes and temperaments. :)

The artists represented work in all kinds of mediums including traditional (like oil and acrylic painting) and lots of digital painting (Photoshop, Painter etc). As with past issues...there is a section with photographs of sculptures too.

I'd read at least one review that almost dissuaded me from buying this year's Spectrum but after I looked through Spectrum 18 again...I decided to get it.

It is certainly has not been a disappointment! Spectrum 19 is over 300 pages with some of the most inspiring, exciting, art I've seen. I've already been sitting with a magnifying glass going through the images and am stunned by the creativity, color, concepts, "story" etc in many, many of the images.

I've studied art history and believe that this era WILL be remembered for its amazing art.

If you are an artist yourself...especially one working in Fantastic art...you will be inspired by this book.

[/Fan-Boy OFF]

;)

---------------

A note about the claim that Spectrum is filled with art that is photo-referenced: First I'll say that generally I do not have a problem with this technique. I read once that artists are not supposed to be good "memorizers". So why not use photography as a tool.

On the other hand...unless there is a secret world where people photograph robots of all shapes and sizes, huge trolls and four armed giants, elephant-type beasts with six tusks, space-ships and cities, dinosaurs, demons, and bizarre creatures beyond what most of us can imagine...to say that the majority of this art is from a photo reference is far from the truth.

Yes, there are a few amazing examples of this type...but they are vastly outweighed by all the other artwork...obviously created primarily from the artist's imagination.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on July 26, 2014
Christmas and don't know what to get your son/daughter? Get them one of these Spectrum books. If they Ooo and Ahh over it- you've got yourself a steady birthday/Christmas gift plan for the next 15 years. Just buy one every year.
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