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Artbooks

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Art of: Production art and companion books to various films and games.

General: The Dinotopia books as well as other general art books; conceptual design and just general books of art.




Art of...
The Art of How To Train Your Dragon

Year: 2009
Origin: USA
Availability: Out of Print.
Pieces Missing: None

A very, very nice book filled with gorgeous production art from the film. It really is a clear example of everything I love in an 'art of' book.
The Wildlife of Star Wars

Year: 2009
Origin: USA
Availability: Out of Print.
Pieces Missing: None

I'm not all that into Star Wars but some of their critter designs were really interesting. In light of that I couldn't really pass up this book. It has an interesting cover textured to feel like pebbled skin. It's also written and illustrated like a field journal and covers several planetary systems. Really quite a neat book!
Deco Devolution: The Art of Bioshock 2

Year: 2010
Origin: USA
Availability: Out of Print. Limited.
Pieces Missing: None

A part of the very nice Bioshock 2 Limited Edition set, this artbook is one of the best video game artbooks I've ever seen. Not to mention that it actually came in one of those limited edition bundles; typically any artbook that comes in one of those leaves a lot to be desired and tends to be A5 in size. This one however is thick, full of in-dept concept drawings and developments, as well as artist and developer notes. In fact the entire Bioshock 2 package was impressive -- the most impressive special edition bundle I've seen so far for a game release, complete with vinyl record, CD made to look like a vinyl record, retro posters and the game itself.
The Art of World of Warcraft

Year: 2004
Origin: USA
Availability: Out of Print. Limited.
Pieces Missing: None

Very generously added to my collection by a friend, this is the artbook from the collector's edition of the original World of Warcraft game. While it doesn't have any writing on the development process, it is packed to the brim of concept art of almost every stage of visual development. The lack of text leaves much of the process a mystery, but that doesn't detract from the quality of the book, which is very impressive.
The Art of World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade

Year: 200?
Origin: USA
Availability: Out of Print. Limited.
Pieces Missing: None

Very generously added to my collection by a friend, this is the artbook from the collector's edition of the first World of Warcraft expansion, The Burning Crusade. This expansion included the introduction of two new races to the game, and there is much art on the development of the Draenei and the Blood Elves and the new environments. Like the original book it also doesn't really have anything in the way of writing on the development process, but again, the art quality is still diverse and impressive enough to compensate.
The Art of World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King

Year: 200?
Origin: USA
Availability: Out of Print. Limited.
Pieces Missing: None

Very generously added to my collection by a friend, this is the artbook from the collector's edition of the second World of Warcraft expansion, Wrath of the Lich King. With this book the format of the WoW artbooks changed to something more like a typical production artbook. Unlike the previous two books, this edition does in fact have a bit to say on development and the art itself is even more amazing and better-presented. It covers many stages of the development process and some background on the ideas, and is full of really nice production art. It's probably my favourite from this series, though Cataclysm is extremely close. I personally wouldn't mind getting the other commercial WotLK artbook, which covers specifically the cinematics.
The Art of World of Warcraft: Cataclysm

Year: 2010
Origin: USA
Availability: Out of Print. Limited.
Pieces Missing: None

Very generously added to my collection by a friend, this is the artbook from the collector's edition of the third World of Warcraft expansion, Cataclysm. This is a really impressive book, and is set up to resemble an actual collection of accounts of the Cataclysm of Azeroth itself. Because of its direction there isn't as much to say from the developers or artists about the stylistic and art direction, as this would break the mood of the book, but you can get enough information from the artworks themselves and the 'in-character' written sections to still get a feel for the methodology behind the changes that were made. This edition is probably the most impressive in terms of art and composition, as you can really see by comparing the fourth and first books that the style and confidence of the art team has really advanced to really flesh the world out.
Okami: Official Complete Works - English Edition

Year: 2010
Origin: Japan
Availability: Out of Print.
Pieces Missing: None

An absolutely glorious artbook. This thing is 287 pages of amazing concept development and investigation from a gorgeous and artistic game. The english translation is superb and the art is incredibly enchanting.
The Art of Pirates of the Caribbean

Year: 2010
Origin: USA
Availability:
Pieces Missing: None

Now this is an impressive book. I don't have anything quite like it. While Disney still isn't on par with Weta in terms of sheer beauty and impressiveness of their artbooks (though admittedly that's a pretty high standard to meet), the Pirates of the Caribbean books certainly comes extremely close. One thing I both like and hate about it is its size. This book is massive, and almost as wide as it is tall. With their landscape formate the Disney artbooks can already be a bit of a pain in the ass to store if you don't have deep shelves (and if, like me, you're a bit OCD about books sticking out here and there and generally being quite uneven), but this one I had to lay down, since there is just no other way for me to store it. The cover is bound with faux leather, giving it a very nice look and feel.

Then you actually get into the book. Now, friends know I am a big fan of two particular artists. James Gurney, whose oil skills I will love and envy till the day I die, and Crash McCreery, who is a god with a pencil. Now since Universal has yet to become amazing and release a Jurassic Park artbook (WHYYY), I am very glad for this book. McCreery was one of the artists on Pirates, and this book is full of his very amazing art. But that's not everything; there are plenty of fold-out pages and storyboards, as well as a huge number of character concept developments from every stage of the first three Pirates movies. Seeing the evolution of the characters through the development propcess is really fascinating, especially when comparing early ideas for Jack with the final character in the films, and other such things.

If you like Pirates of the Caribbean, you need this book. I seriously recommend you grab it now while you still can.
The World of Kong: A Natural History of Skull Island

Year: 2005
Origin: USA
Availability: Out of Print.
Pieces Missing: None

Say what you will about the Peter Jackson film, this book is an incredibly inventive and gorgeous piece of art in and of itself. Weta Workshop not only are masters of creature and effects design, they have one of the best creative development teams for imagined concepts working in the industry today. It really shows when looking through this 'catalogue' of art of the creatures and biology developed for Skull Island. Set out like a biologist or naturalist's expedition log, the book is full of imagination.
The Crafting of Narnia

Year: 2008
Origin: Japan
Availability: Out of Print.
Pieces Missing: None

Another Weta Workshop title from another Weta Workshop film and just like the Skull Island book The Crafting of Narnia does not disappoint. Chock full of creative concepts from all stages of development across all fields of application such as weaponry, architecture and character design, the book covers both The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe and Prince Caspian. I really hope they bring out another book as a companion to The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.
Arthur Spiderwick's Field Guide to the Fantastical World Around You

Year: 2008
Origin: Japan
Availability: Out of Print.
Pieces Missing: None

Not so much a production artbook as it is an in-universe companion guide, this book is gorgeous. It's filled with art and fanciful descriptions of faerie-kind, and is really quite a lovely book, and I'd even recommend it to people who didn't like the books/film just for the sake of it's art and novelty.
The Art of Toy Story 3

Year: 2010
Origin: USA
Availability:
Pieces Missing: None

A really impressive edition by Disney that covers almost every aspect of the development of Toy Story 3. There is a lot said by the developers and art team throughout the book, and it's generally a very nice piece.
The Art of Tangled

Year: 2010
Origin: USA
Availability:
Pieces Missing: None

When I first got the book I hadn't seen the movie yet so I only skimmed it since I didn't want to spoil, but like other Disney editions, it really goes into the details of the development process, perhaps more on this film than others for which Disney has produced artbooks. The art is charming like the film and there's a lot of interesting information and process in the book.
The Art of Bolt

Year: 2008
Origin: USA
Availability:
Pieces Missing: None

This is a gorgeous book, and goes into a lot of detail about the concepts used in the film, right down to the development of new rendering engines to emulate the painted style the film was done in. If you liked the film, I really recommend investing in the book while it's still available.
The Art of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - English Edition

Year: 2009
Origin: Japan
Availability:
Pieces Missing: None

This artbook is thick and exhaustive and covers every character both major and minor throughough all four games. Mostly though it's just a showcase of base art used to create the sprites as well as some character drawings. It only really goes into detail regarding the process on the major characters and sadly doesn't spend much time on them. Not a bad book, but pales into oblivion in comparison to Capcom's other artbook title in my collection - Okami.
Art of Assassin's Creed 2

Year: 2009
Origin: USA
Availability: Out of Print. Limited.
Pieces Missing: None

Part of the Assassin's Creed 2 Black Edition. The artbook is only A5 in size which is rather disappointing, but nonetheless still has some nice little snippets of production art inside. Sadly it feels like a teaser for a bigger more indepth book that never came.


General
Dinotopia: A Land Apart From Time

Year: 2009
Origin: USA
Availability: Out of Print.
Pieces Missing: None

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Dinotopia: The World Beneath

Year: 2009
Origin: USA
Availability: Out of Print.
Pieces Missing: None

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Dinotopia: Journey to Chandara

Year: 2009
Origin: USA
Availability:
Pieces Missing: None

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Alien Race: Visual Development of an Intergalactic Adventure

Year: 2009
Origin: USA
Availability: Out of Print.
Pieces Missing: None

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A Portrait of New Zealand

Year: 2009
Origin: New Zealand
Availability: Out of Print.
Pieces Missing: None

More a photo book than an art book but I still think of photography as art and the scenery captured in this book make it worthy of the title.

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