Art Books Galore!

It was my birthday a few weeks ago (and employee appreciation with an increased discount at the bookstore where I work, to boot!), so I asked for only money as gifts from my parents and went on an art book shopping spree!


Here’s the list of what I got:

  • “Drawing Cutting Edge Anatomy” by Christopher Hart (ISBN: 0823023982)
  • “Stan Lee’s How to Draw Comics” (ISBN: 9780823000838)
  • “Character Mentor” by Tom Bancroft (ISBN: 9780240820712)
  • “Drawing Crime Noir for Comics and Graphic Novels” by Christopher Hart (ISBN: 0823023990)
  • “The Digital Art Technique Manual for Illustrators & Artists” by Joel Lardner & Paul Roberts (ISBN: 9780764147906)
  • “How to Draw Fallen Angels” by Mike Butkus and Michelle Prather (ISBN: 9781600582219)
  • “100 Ideas That Changed Graphic Design” by Steven Heller & Veronique Vienne (ISBN: 9781856697941)
  • “Beginner’s Guide to Digital Painting in Photoshop” by 3dtotal Publishing (ISBN: 9780955153075)
  • “The Packaging and Design Templates Sourcebook” by Luke Herriott (ISBN: 9782940361731)
  • “Idea Selling” by Sam Harrison (ISBN: 9781600616693)

These selections were a result of scouring the design and art sections in my book store.  I purposely picked out books that focused on two of the classes I’m taking next semester: Comics & Graphic Novels and Advanced Graphic Design.  I have since decided to also take Painting Methods.  I haven’t read these books all the way through yet, but they were the ones that touched on technique, character development, and working on a graphic design team for a client (which is the purpose of my AGD class).

I have a few other books in my collection that I haven’t looked at yet, so I think something else I may do on this blog over the next two months is review the books in my collection.  This way I can point out the most useful sections in each book, which books are not as helpful, etc.  🙂

The best part about my birthday presents was that the books that were practical purchases for my studies were also fun purchases because it’s something I love.  When you have fun working toward your future career, you can tell it was a great choice in studies.


The Colors of Jasper Fforde

I can’t believe it has been over two weeks since I last posted.  I suppose I just needed a bit of a break after the end of the semester at first, but then I started browsing the bookstore where I work.  That is where I came upon Jasper Fforde’s book Shades of Grey.  I was drawn in immediately by its graphically illustrated cover and summary consisting of a world where the colors you can see dictate your sanction in life.

Shades of Grey by Jasper FfordeOriginally published in 2009, its full title is Shades of Grey: The Road to High Saffron and is the first in a series about the world of Chromatacia. This dystopian future is set at least 700 years in the future, though no one knows for sure how long it has truly been. We are known as the Previous. The people in this time do not look like we do now (they look on our society’s people as ugly). The visual spectrum of color is no longer able to be seen fully by any one person. A person’s rank in the hierarchy of a rule-enforced society is determined solely by which color or colors they can see. Their range of color is determined by the Ishihara test, our color-blindness test, in their twentieth year. If a person has a quality to see two primary colors within 30 points of each other, they are a secondary color.

I love how much color theory detail is put into the metaphor. The “Word of Munsell” gives them the infallible rules by which they live their life, some pertaining to color but some pertaining to odd things such as the outlaw of the production of spoons. There is a prefect (someone who sees more than 70% af any color) for each color in every city, the representatives making up a council that oversees the residents.  The three primary color prefects can over-rule the three secondary prefects in a council decision. Two complementary colors cannot marry. Greys (or those who see less than 10% across the spectrum) are the workforce, and become slaves is some areas.  They do not have a council prefect.

As a graphic designer, I have spent much time on the Psychology of Color and Color Theory. If you have an understanding of these concepts, you will enjoy this book even more than someone who doesn’t.  However, the color doesn’t make up the entire book. It is a dystopian society after all.  There is distrust, corruption, curiousity about the world outside their cities, and adventure.

I must warn anyone who reads this, though. The ending is a doozy, and the next book isn’t set to come out until 2013.  He does have another series called the Thursday Next series, which I plan to check out as soon as I’m done with watching the entirety of Game of Thrones. 🙂 Also, I’m working on a few illustrations of what I think the characters of Shades of Grey look like.