d'artiste—Concept Art, ISBN: 1-921002-33-6

Reviewed by: Mario Georgiou, November 2006
Published by: Ballistic Publishing
Requires: N/A
MSRP: US$55.00 (softcover), US$145.00 (limited edition hardcover)

Many of the sci-fi and fantasy movies being made today, make extensive use of conceptual artists. These artists are extremely talented illustrators and industrial designers, whose understanding of light, color, form and space enable them to bring life to the concepts and visions of writers, movie directors and game creators. As any artist will tell you, one of the biggest challenges presented to them is the creation of art which represents another person's concept and vision. Concept artists created the visuals which helped to sell projects such as Star Wars, Blade Runner and The Matrix to the film studios. d'artiste: Concept Art, like other books in the series, primarily features the work of several prominent artists who work in the industry, in this case George Hull, Viktor Antonov, Andrew Jones and Nicolas Bouvier.

George Hull designed for the second and third Matrix films. Andrew Jones is creative director for the Massive Black Design Studio which he helped form after working at Industrial Light & Magic. Nicolas Bouvier worked on Alone in the Dark 4 and Prince of Persia: Warrior Within. Viktor Antonov conceptualized for Half Life 2, Renaissance and Skyland. The selected artists are featured with samples of their work and a few step by step examples which showcase their unique way of working. The book is capped with a guest gallery of artists whose work has been chosen and critiqued by the book's main contributors.


The range of media used and styles represented in this book is truly reflective of the range of work being created in this highly imaginative field. The skills required to create these grand visions from the imagination are very similar to those required by matte artists and illustrators. Some of the samples presented demonstrate that the artist has to be more than capable of rendering costumes, buildings, vehicles and other technologies. In many situations the artists also have to be able to make the concepts convincing enough to make believable the artificial world being created. The modern concept artist is required to be fluent in both analog and digital processes; capable of wielding a pen and mouse with equal dexterity.

Thumbing through the book you rapidly gain an appreciation of the range of talents presented therein, you also appreciate the love and care Ballistic Publishing has lavished book production. The printing and packaging all reflect the high quality that I've come to expect from this publishing house.

There is still however only one real weakness with this series of books and that is the lack of any hands on tutorials and the necessary CD containing in-progress versions of the tutorial examples. All this aside, I thoroughly enjoyed looking through and reading this excellent book. The field of concept art is one which creates visual clues for the creators of movies, games and other projects. If you're interested, you can also check out the work of Ralph McQuarrie and Syd Mead, two other famous conceptual artists who have influenced a generation of aspiring creatives.

Cons: No tutorial and content CD.

Pros: Well presented with excellent production values. The artists selected for this book are all top notch. d'artiste: Concept Art is an excellent reference book which will appeal to both amateurs and professionals. It is a must-have aimed at artists interested in the techniques and skills used to create art for movies and games. Highly recommended.

KSN Product Rating:





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