Sunday, October 26, 2014

The Art of Inspiration

The number of art books related to movies, computer games, and tv shows seem to have been increasing within the past few years. I just go the Adventure Time: The Art of Ooo this week, and Amazon helpfully tells me that art book for the charming animated film The Book of Life is now available. Though they can sometimes be a little pricey, I a good art book is great gaming inspiration.

The various Art of Star Wars books are pretty good--particularly for the prequel trilogy, where you get more concept art and discarded designs. For instance, early designs of for the character that became Darth Maul was a female Sith. This design later became the basis for Asaj Ventress. Unfortunately, these are out of print, though you can still find them.

The Avatar: The Last Airbender art book is a great one in terms of inspring production art and world detail. For The Legend of Korra, we've an art book for each season, so far. They are similar to the one for the original series, though individually not quite as good, probably because they aren't as concetrated. Still, they're well worth checking out.

The aboslute best ones are when the art book casts itself in a fictional context. The World of King Kong purports to be a history of Skull Island, but it's actually a fantastic guide to all the creatures created for the 2005 film.

Not all art books are created equal, alas. I found the Adventure Time book a bit disappointing as inspiration (better is The Adventure Time Encyclopaedia). Some of the movie related ones have beautiful art, but are low on concept art or hints of world detail where the real inspirational gold is to be found.


Jack Guignol said...

Oh, man, definitely. I've gotten good mileage out of art books for video games I've never even considered playing:

The Art of Bioshock Infinite
The Art of Assassin's Creed (III and IV especially)
Castlevania: Lords of Shadow

Trey said...

No doubt! Though, those I usually look at online rather than buying. Some strategy guides for video games are good too.