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Dawn: The Worlds of Final Fantasy Hardcover – June 2, 2009
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Top Customer Reviews
This is a character design book. Right at the start are a few foldout pages that unfold into larger illustrations. Most of the illustrations are done in pencil and watercolour. The designs are filled with detail although they are really sketches with furry pencil lines. A few black and white designs towards the end of the book.
If you're played the games before, you'll see familiar characters like Cecil Harvey, Rosa Farrell and Cid, just to name a few. There are of course lots of creatures -- high level ones -- like dragons, Leviathan, Ifrit, Odin, Bahamut, Chocobo, etc. It's interesting to see how the designs of these traditional legendary creatures have evolved since the first game, which was released in dot matrix. I'm really glad to see that Chocobo is now cuter in the later versions (original Chocobo in the pictures below).
There are no game screenshots or highly polished splash pages in this book. All are concept art by Yoshitaka Amano.
This book is recommended to character designers and game artists with reservations. Whether you like the book will depend on how much you like the style of Yoshitaka Amano.
There are more pictures of the book on my blog. Just visit my Amazon profile for the link.
Though there is of course a sense of caricature in his artwork, I felt Yoshitaka Amano's penstroke was dramatic and told a story about each character, whether it was Celes, Locke, Terra or the devilish Kefka. In fact, each drawing clearly defined the context and personality of the characters that were there. But I was disappointed that the only drawings I could find were in this guidebook or on the Web.
But when I found out that Amano had released some of his character designs, sketches, and paintings for the first four Final Fantasy in this volume, I had to purchase a copy and relished each page. In each of them, I managed to spot and catch characters that I had found or played in the first four Final Fantasy. And I was marveled by the large sumi-ee painting called Dawn or Reimei in Japanese. To me, this painting was a visual presentation of Yoshitaka's imagination bubbling up before getting to work and bringing down the visual designs of the characters, monsters and architecture of the Final Fantasy worlds.
Then again, I still wish that all the illustrations had been separated together into chapters identified by the games they were involved. It would have make it a little easier in identifying who went for what game, especially for some of the monsters. But then again. That is just a little detail that hasn't ruined my pleasure of reading this book, which I will soon accompany with the latest and richer book that Amano will release in October 2012, which means this month.
So for me, this volume is an appetizer before the main dish.
Anyone buying this to just to see Final Fantasy concept art will, unfortunately, be disappointed. These are fresher, more raw conceptual illustrations that don't always directly tie in directly with the games. I don't mind this, but others might.
There is a generous amount of colored work, all in that very familiar, very endearing Amano style that I love. Granted, his work (to me) is either the best thing I've ever seen, or very mediocre. I'm sure someone knows these style variations I'm referring to. Anyway, to those that understand, this book is gold. But, as it is a compilation of concept art for the first four installations of the Final Fantasy series, it's main focuse is on character and monster design.
What I particularly love about this book is the way that I can just prop it up when I'm working on my art school homework, and it pretty much acts as an infinite source of inspiration. That, and for my inner geek, it comes with a fabulous little index (in English) that names each character/monster/what have you and what page they are on.
(The reviewer was compensated for posting this review. However, the opinion stated in the review is that of the reviewer and the reviewer alone. Further, the reviewer independently selected this product to review and has no affiliation with the product maker/distributor, Amazon or the review requester.)
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Wonderful quality, good customer service, no weird stains and smells on the book.
What's not to love?