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Dark Shepherd: The Art of Fred Gambino Hardcover – July 29, 2014
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"With stunning vistas, realistic character portraits and atmospheric imagery, Gambino's art will expand your mind." - Kirkus
"This book is a compilation of some of the most beautiful Science Fiction art ever created. Every time I open it up, I feel like I am finding something I missed every other time. I cannot get enough of it." - Active Respawn
"The ability to read a script written by him, and see how he’s imagined a universe, shows his vision is impressive. So impressive it’s worth a look yourself." - Adventures in Poor Taste
"This is a definite recommendation." - Nerdology
"A beautiful collection of striking sci-fi art work. If you are a fan of sci-fi art work or even franchises like Mass Effect or Halo to a certain extent, this collection should speak directly to you. Dark Shepherd show tremendous potential of becoming the next big sci-fi project. With your support, it would only expedite the process and seeing this collection is a great first step. We loved the presentation and quality of this art collection and we recommend this for all those sci-fi fans out there. We are sure you will love it as much as we did." - New Gamer Nation
"An epic selection of his boldest and most brilliant work, reflective of his incredibly varied career." - Boing Boing
"I recommend The Art of Fred Gambino: Dark Shepherd to any and all aspiring concept artists and science fiction fans!" - Rotoscopers
"Fred Gambino's Cosmic Artworks Will Restore Your Sense Of Wonder." - io9
"The stunning new collection." - Tor.com
"Dark Shepherd is unlike any artbook I’ve ever read and will either stand out as a one-time exceptional piece of eye candy or be seen as the artbook that began an entirely new genre of work." - Project Fandom
"A wonderful art book to have in your own bookshelf." - Retrenders
"Fred Gambino has created a lifetime of work that is as emotionally resonant as it is visually striking." - Tor.com
"Rich, colorful eye-candy for fans of science fiction art...Titan Books has put together another stunning collection of art and packaged it in a volume well worth the cover price." - SF Signal
About the Author
Fred Gambino has worked as a diverse illustrator and artist, providing high-profile sci-fi concept art for a wide array of television programmes, films and video games, as well as his own creator-owned multimedia projects like 'Dark Shepherd'.
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Gambino started out working in traditional illustration, but now creates mostly digital art. His style, at least in this book, is that of blending 3D renders, photography and digital art.
Dark Shepard is actually a sci-fi genre screenplay written by Gambino. The first portion of the book is devoted to fleshing out that screenplay with accompanying artworks. There are few pages of dialogue for the characters created and then it's followed by artworks of space travel and exploration, with adventures like a spaceship escaping the jaws of a giant alien serpent, exploding moons falling from the sky, scenes of colourful nebulas.
After that are behind the scenes concepts to Dark Shepard, such as photos of the human models, armour rendering, 3D models of mechs and spaceships. Dark Shepard also appears in comic form for a few pages.
The rest of the book collects the commissioned artworks he created for book covers, and the concept art for film, tv and games. He has worked on the Battletech and Mechwarrior book covers, created the landscapes for Escape from Planet Earth, Cartoon Network's Firebreather and has many other sci-fi tech-heavy commissioned artworks as well. The concepts presented, such as the robots and spaceships, are nice but could be stronger in terms of being more distinct. I prefer the environment art.
Much of what's in the book have the look and feel of computer generated visuals because of how the textures, modelling and lighting are handled. The mixed media artworks may not be jarring but one look you will know that it's mixed media, especially for the artworks that are created with photographs and 3D models. That's the style of Gambino and it works well for the book covers and for other work he does. Having said that, I would recommend looking through the pages before buying to see if that's the kind of style that appeals to you.
4 out of 5 stars.
(See more pictures of the book on my blog. Just visit my Amazon profile for the link.)
The book is anchored around concept work for various commercial projects including a movie proposal (script and scene renderings), a graphic novel, online games, and so on. Between these are unconnected works: music album covers, book covers from the Battletech universe, speed paintings, alien landscapes, non-commissioned work taken form scenes in various books. Themes are predominately sci-fi, and technology-heavy.
Gambino's works--as presented--are a hybrid of traditional and computer techniques, and it works well for not only his subject matter, but his personal style. One point on which I am disappointed is that so much of what is included is "monetization ready". There are many fantastic images, but for me the fantastic was more often of the "cgi movie blockbuster" and little "wonderment". (Does "lack of textural brainfeel" make any sense?) There is inspiration here, but not much awe.
As to the book itself, it is oversized such that it is all but guaranteed to fit on your shelf only with difficulty. The paper is glossy and thick. The print quality is impressive, and does justice to the artists work. A number of images are spread across two pages, others full single page, and deservedly so. Some others are presented in quarter-page size, while not in itself bad, whomever laid the book out prior to printing decided to place a number of them so as to bridge two pages. This was a silly thing for the publisher to have done, it looks bad, it is a disservice to the artist and the viewer.
Would I buy it again should my copy go missing? Maybe...
Is it a collection I will look forward to examining for details that I missed on previous forays? Umm...
Will I cannibalize it for my next sci-fi RPG? Abso-fraking-lutely
Am I glad to have bought it? Yes.
Did I enjoy it? Yes.
Fred has branched out from painting and into using some 3D objects (Modo is mentioned), but these pieces are lackluster, and I'm surprised they are included in this book. They only rank at 'amateur' level of modeling, lighting and materials, which is very disappointing to see next to some of his fantastic painting.