Designing the Secret of Kells
By Tomm Moore & Ross Stewart
[Cartoon Saloon, $35]
The richly detailed, Celtic-inspired art behind Irish indie studio Cartoon Saloon’s 2009 film The Secret of Kells saturates every inch of this 236-page limited edition hardcover, available from the studio’s website and Stuart Ng Books. Through distinctive pieces of character, background and element concept designs, readers get to follow the talented artists and animators on their journey to the film’s distinct look, which blends medieval art influences with haunting natural locations and brilliant colors. With over a dozen awards and nominations under its belt, it’s safe to say all the painstaking pattern detailing paid off. We just hope we don’t have to wait five years for an artbook from the Saloon’s upcoming feature, Song of the Sea.
Words for Pictures: The Art and Business of Writing Comics and Graphic Novels
By Brian Michael Bendis
Penned by best-selling Marvel Comics writer Bendis, this guide crams years of comics biz knowledge into less than 300 pages. In it, Bendis reveals the tools and techniques he and other top-of-their-game creators use to whip up hit stories for the genre, guiding aspiring comickers through the process from idea to script to finished sequential art. Of course, these are illustrated with examples from popular titles like The Avengers, Ultimate Spider-Man and Uncanny X-Men, to name a few. In addition to a foreward from the legendary Joe Quesada, Bendis also pulls in other artists and writers to offer tips and observations on the creative process and the comics business throughout. Script samples, a glossary of industry terms and interactive writing exercises offer a jumpstart for the next generation of scribes.
Virtual World Design
By Ann Latham Cudworth
[A.K. Peters/CRC Press, $49.95]
If that creepy Second Life documentary didn’t scare you off the topic of virtual worlds forever, this brand new offering from award-winning, 20-year veteran of virtual environment design — and two-time Emmy Award winner — Cudworth is a comprehensive look at the subject and principles. The 400 and some page book explores how the intertwining of 2D graphics, 3D models, lighting, sound and storytelling, and illustrates how these elements come together to create accessible virtual environments for teaching, research and entertainment. Readers are treated to 200 illustrations and can hone their increasing knowledge as they go with a dozen step-by-step projects, offering creative challenges through exercises building a virtual classroom, “all access” terrain, sound-based game and more.
Bravest Warriors: The Search for Catbug
By Joel Enos, illustrated by Ian McGinty, Alan Brown, Corin Howell, et al
[Perfect Square, $14.99]
The four teenage heroes of Penn Ward’s webtoon sensation for Frederator’s Cartoon Hangover come to the printed page in this one-of-a-kind, seek-and-find style art book. The premise is that sidekick critter Catbug has eaten some weird new food cubes, causing him to lose his limited control over his jumping abilities and sending him careening through dimensions. Your mission as peruser of this tome is to help the Bravest Warriors hunt through the universe, expertly illustrated by more than 25 artists. Fans should be especially jealous of the lucky 250 people who picked up the special foil-covered edition at Comic-Con last month, which sold at the show for $30 and is probably on eBay for several times that.