Wednesday, December 22, 2010


Blender, the free open source 3d content creation suite has come a long long way, and has proven to be a Hollywood class toolkit with some amazing showcase movies.

The opens source movie, the Big Buck Bunny exhibits the outstanding capabilities of Blender and ofcourse the talent of the artists involved.

Blender lets you do anything and everything including,

  • Modelling
  • Rigging
  • Animation
  • UV Unwrapping
  • Rendering
  • Shading
  • Physics and Particles
  • Imaging and Compositing
  • Realtime 3D / Game Creation

and lot more.

There are some amazing tutorials, books and videos to get started.
Here is a one that I found can get you upto speed real quick, especially the powerful use of keyboard shortcuts and cominbation of mouse is shown in this video that takes us from a single box to a fully modelled human figure in about an hour.

You can view or download it at

Compared to expensive tools such as 3DS Max, or Maya, Blender gives a huge advantage not only in terms of cost, but an amazingly productive interafce which is very intiutive once past the learning curve.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Book Review : Elements Of Pop Up: A Pop Up Book For Aspiring Paper Engineers : David A. Carter

Right On The Money

This is an outstanding book of reference for the pop up paper engineer.

There are plenty of books, that talk about the materials, what pop ups is all about, a few design ideas, and which give a few different components that go into popups. Some deal with a project building step by step. These are similar to several books on learning to draw, paint etc., where a series of samples are given, and by doing them, one learns to do exactly that particular piece. These books were teaching 'How to draw cars', 'How to draw people', 'how to draw animals' etc.. where the focus was on the cars, and people and the animals.. The real need for a learner to master the subject and make it their own is to know the foundation. what is need is a 'How to draw'.Period.

Then there were special books created by teachers such as Glenn Vilppu, Kimon Nicholaides, Bruce McIntyre, who came along and presented the 'elements'. Once we master the elements of any subject, we are well equipped to 'creating' an endless variety.

This book, true to its title deals with the elements. Like the alphabets and words of a language, the book contains page after page of simple elements, increasing in complexity. There are plenty of different elements that are presented using parallel and angle folds.

Simple elements such as box, cones, cylinders, armature, tents etc. are presented, and explained in detail. The book presents the 'elements', and all we need is the creativity to go build what we want to, using these elements. This is the classical approach to understanding this subject. Very well made book.

Also, the book takes us into the realm of paper engineering, with wheels, cams, pull-tabs and such.

The highlight of the book is that, all the elements that are dealt with are demonstrated with a working sample pasted on the book, along with detailed descriptions. There are 44 elements that the authors deals with in this large format book. 32 focussing on pop ups, and the rest based on wheels and pull-tabs. The templates or 'dies' for all these templates are available for free download from the author's website, which would be an amazing add-on.

This would be an essential book in the po-up engineer workshop.

After purchasing half a dozen books, I was looking precisely for one of this kind, and am glad I found it.

This is an extract from my review at, You can find more of my reviews here.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Manhua : Judge Bao (Juge Bao)

I came across this French comics series titled Judge Bao(Juge Bao). The art work was simply too stunning to pass.
Written by Patrick Marty and beautifully illustrated by Chong Rui Nei, this is published by Les Editions Fei. ChongRui has rendered using amazing black ink and pen work.

This series titled Judge Bao, is based on the 10th century official in Ancient China, who was known for his impartial judgements.

There are three volumes published so far, each running to around 160 pages in an oblong format.

Also there appears to be a beautiful collector's edition, containing all three, available later this year at BDnet.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Book Review : The Figure: The Classic Approach to Drawing & Construction by Walt Reed

Constructive Figure Drawing : Start To Finish

This is a very easy to use, clear and practical guide to constructing the figure from imagination.

"Classic approach" here simply means the methods that have been handed down from the Masters of the renaissance, where art and science came together. For instance, ideas of perspective, which are analytical and mathematical, were applied to art to create realism.

Similarly the constructive approach is based somewhat in the lines of geometry, and attempt to reduce all objects and forms to be a composition of a few basic forms. This resulted in the usage of sphere, box, cylinder etc. to construct any three dimensional figure, including of course the human figure. There were no hard and fast rules as to what these basic forms were. Some would use cones, cuboids etc.

This book is a very clear exposition on the use of constructive approach to drawing the figure.

The Figure is analyzed using the basic forms first, to get a sense of proportion, relationships etc.

The idea of using two glasses (glasses with which we drink water etc.) as the two parts of the body: the upper torso and the pelvis, is amazingly an effective tool, in studying the relationship of these two major forms of the figure. same is done to study the upper and lower arms, upper and lower legs.

The book aids in seeing the figure as made up of these simple forms, which results in clear understanding of the underlying structure which is easy to cast into memory, and can be applied both in life drawing as well as drawing from imagination.

There are parts of the book that deals in details about the body and the movable parts. the possible movements of individual parts, in relation to the others, such as how much the arm can swing, or the degree of freedom of each part of the leg, are invaluable lessons, that are very explicitly laid down using the simplified figure.
Eventually the book takes us to an application of anatomy, though not a anatomy book, this teaches how to use a simplified skeleton to setup the figure and move towards more realism.

If we go through this book, one can be assured of getting a "solid" understanding of the figure, in very simplified terms yet powerful enough to create stunningly realistic figure from imagination.

One would learn from the book, apply this knowledge when drawing from life or photo reference, and then internalize that knowledge and start creating figures purely from imagination.

Walt Reed was part of the amazing Famous Artists School of the 50-60s. The Figure drawing lessons in those courses are pretty much what is contained in this book. I would think this book contains a bit more than those lessons, more reference images, and more instructions.

This is a must have in the figurative artist book shelf.

This is an extract from my review at, You can find more of my reviews here.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Osamu Tezuka : Buddha

Osamu Tezuka, famously known as the God of Manga, has created a masterpiece in this monumental series of 8 volumes on Buddha.

The epic series captures the sum and substance of the life and times and the philosophy of Buddha, in simple beautiful and elegant graphic style of Manga.

The Eight volumes are,

1. Kapilavastu
2. The Four Encounters
3. Devadatta
4. The Forest of Uruvela
5. Deer Park
6. Ananda
7. Ajatasattu
8. Jetavana

The story is an adaptation where Tezuka takes certain liberties with respect to characters, storyline and time lines. This results in a rather refreshing retelling of one of the most important stories of all time.

This is a great set of books to read for the story and the philosophy and the beautiful art of Tezuka. Also, this is a great master class on the art and science of Manga! What better way to learn to create Graphic novels?

There are of course several editions, and translations of the original Japanese version. Also to make it easy to read and make life easy for the translation process, the original book was simply mirror imaged! to enable English readers go from left to right. Not sure if that's a great idea though.

There are at least three different English editions, one the nice and seductive hardcover, with beautiful white dust covers and the three Buddhas shining on the spines. the other is the paperback version of the same, and there is one more paperback edition made using pulp like economical paper available in India and south east Asia.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Pacific Comics Club : Golden Age Reprints Phantom, Mandrake and More

There was a Golden age for everything. The early twentieth century was the golden age of various things. Aviation, Science, and among other things the golden age of newspaper comic strips.

For several decades beginning the 30s various strips came into existence, and had a wonderful run, with readership running into the millions.

The great art work of masters such as Alex Raymond, Ray Moore, Wilson McCoy, Sy Barry, Dan Barry, Phil Davis, Leonard Starr, Milton Caniff, Gene Byrnes, Hal Foster entertained newspaper readers all over the world. Some of the stories that came from their pens and brushes were The Phantom, Mandrake the Magician, Steve Canyon, On Stage, Reglar Fellers, Prince Valiant to name a few. The Golden era slowly got forgotten and gave way to other forms of entertainment. Though he American public had largely forgotten this era, these strips were extremely popular around the world, with reprints in the form of collections, coming up from various publishers.

A few years back, when I finally got time to get back in touch with these beautiful stories and artwork, and was disappointed with the absence of popularity in the United States, I discovered a wonderful source for these golden era reprints.

It is Tony Raiola's Pacific Comics Club. The online store has a treasure chest of the golden age goodies. Tony is a passionate comic strip fan/collector/publisher who has been running this since the 60s in France, Italy and later in the United States. Several popular strips have been published by Pacific Comics in wonderful format, very carefully reproduced, highlighting the clear artwork of the masters. They also carry similar reprints of hard to find strips from other publishers.

I asked Tony for his thoughts and he opines..."American newspaper strips were more popular in Europe than here in the States , just like western movies. What happened is that European made compilations and books from the strips, instead the American had a few reprints in Famous Funnies, etc. In Europe Flash Gordon ,the Phantom , Mandrake were very popular .The fact is that after the '50s the American concentrated their efforts on comic book business forgetting the strips and creating superheroes."

I agree with him and made me think about the huge popularity of Phantom, Mandrake, Flash Gordon and the likes in India. Where there was a large fan base and Indarjal Comics had a fantastic run.

I wish Tony the best and continue to offer several of the long forgotten Golden era comic strip master pieces.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Drawing from Reference and Copying the Masters

As one goes about learning to draw, one realises at some point the importance of drawing from reference, or even copying.

The urge to draw typically comes from observing great art. Whether it is story illustration, comic art, animation, or the academic, each one of us get inspired by specific art to begin with.

It can be Michelangelo's realistic figures, Herge's simplicity and elegance, Alex Raymond's magical drama with lines, Leonard Starr's cinematic panels, an so on. But these specific individual artists and their art serves as the motive for us to learn to draw.

Learning to draw consists of learning the elements of drawing. One has to know how to use the two dimensional medium to represent the real world, and create a believability with the tools of the medium. Leaning to use the elements such as the gesture, line, tone, principles of perspective, composition, etc are mastered in an attempt to create realism. We learn how to begin a drawing, how to develop it, and how to complete or render it to the detail desired.

But learning to write is more than learning the alphabets and words. A rich vocabulary and strong grammar is necessary, but not sufficient. This is when one starts to read!

Similarly as an artist, after learning the foundations of drawing, and learning a medium or two, such as the pen and ink, or watercolor , one needs to "study" the masters. Choose a select band of masters of interest, and copy the art. This will hone the skills all around. Use of line, composition, drama, action, expression, style, all of these can be improved by trying to replicate the masters to the dot.

A combination of generating original art, and copying and analysing the masters, will accelerate the development as an artist. While copying art, one has to analyse it for the principles and elements of art and learn from it.

Copying masters is not only an aid to improvement, but is such as rewarding activity, since the great amount of learning and the genius can be appreciated at a greater detail than when simply observing it.

Great artists always used models for their work, and used heavy reference material. Copying the Masters is a compulsory part of any serious art curriculum. One can learn about this from the artists of the renaissance, to the masters of the times, such as Herge, whose reference material teaches us the relevance of it. So does Alex Raymond, Milton Caniff and others who used models for their work. A recent book on Norman Rockwell tells us how he created his illustrations, by creating the scene completely in reality using models, posing them and photographing them and using it as a reference!

So, while in the journey of learning to draw, if one hits a plateau, its time to go out and sketch from life, or pick up the favourite artist and simply copy!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Drawing Lessons @ Animation Illustration Art

A new companion website containing learning resources is now available.

You can access it by clicking the "Lessons" Button at the top of this blog, or by visiting Learning @ Animation Illustration Art .

The Idea of Learning @ Animation Illustration Art is to offer engaging, structured learning resources that will build proficiency, confidence and flair in the art student.

The objective is to provide a knowledge base consisting of a wide range of short effective courses for students of all levels.

Lessons will be available in various areas of interest such as Drawing and Composition, Rendering in media such as Pencil, Pen, Brush, Monochrome and Color Wash, Digital Painting/Vector Illustration, Story Illustration, Sequential Art, and Animation(Classical and Digital). and is built progressively, one on top of the other at an easy pace. The courses are absolutely functional, which will start equipping you with the knowledge and tools from day one, that will get you set on a creative, artistic and rewarding pursuit.


The First set of Lessons focus on Foundational Drawing. The student will learn from the very basics, about materials, how to hold a pencil, various means of creating strokes, capturing the essense and different aspects such as gesture and form, of any object and eventually learn how to compose a complete picture.

Objective: By the end of this set of lessons on Foundational Drawing one should become confident and proficient in drawing anything from observation.


* Beginning To Draw
* Gesture Drawing – Capturing the Total
* Contour – Capturing the Details
* Shape – The Second Dimension
* Form – The Third Dimension
* Modeling – Creating Form with Line
* Chiaroscuro – Creating Form with Tone
* Procedure – A General Approach
* Perspective – Foreshortening
* Composition – Creating a Complete Picture

The Lessons, Beginning To Draw and Gesture Drawing are now available! More to follow soon.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Jacques Martin - A Ligne Claire Master - The Adventures of Alix

One of the collaborators of Herge and a true master of the Lignare Claire school, Jacques Martin produced some fantastic art during his times outside of the Tintin Albums.

His greatest output is the series The Adventures of Alix. Beginning with the first album, Alix l'intrépide, is a series of stories about the Gallo-Roman Alix, whose adventures are set in a historic Roman setting.

Between 1948 and 1996, Martin produced twnety fantastic albums, . These generally appeared first in the Tintin magazine, then printed as a book by Casterman, a few were printed originally by Lombard.

Later albums were done by younger artists of talent with Martin authoring the stories.

Beginning 1996, a beautiful series outlining the historical places travelled by Alix in his adventures, began to be produced. Known as Les Voyages d'Alix, it showcases some of the best known ligne claire artwork, with stunning details of the places, set in the historic timeframe.

These books though not from the brush(pen) of Martin, are heavily influenced by him, and by Alix. They contain very interesting historic information about the places, along with great art.

Jacques Martin created other characters and stories, which we can visit at some other time.

There are some awesome editions of the Alix series from Casterman, including multiple story hardbound editions such as the Alix, les premières aventures , which combines Alix l'intrépide, Le Sphinx d'Or and L'Egypte 2(from Les Voyages series)

These are all ofcourse in French. and can be found at Amazon UK/France or at several of the online French Bande dessinée stores such as BDNet.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Learning French - Apprendre le français

With such rich comic art culture and the enormity of books originating from the Franco-Belgian part of the world, at some point in time one begins to think... maybe we should learn French.

If one were to look at the quality of art, storyline, albums and literature on the art and artists like Herge, what we see translated in English is a fraction of what actually gets created in French.

A look at Casterman's catalog is sufficient to know what we are missing out. Of course a lot of it does get translated in English, for instance Cine Book does a great job, as does Egmont.

Still some great books are only in French. For instance there is this two-volume book on how to create and draw comics based on Herge's works,

(1) tome 1 - J'Apprends a Dessiner les Personnages (Volume 1 - Learning how to Draw Characters)

(2) tome 2 - J'Apprends a Raconter une Histoire ( Volume 2 - I'm learning to Tell a Story)

Then there are some exotic editions of the Tintin albums, for instance,

Le Temple du Soleil - Nouvelle édition (The Prisoners of the Sun - New Edition)

There are some outstanding works by famed artists such as Edgar Jacobs, Jacques Martin, Roger Leloup.. just a pick from Studios Hergé alone! and there were so many from where they came from!! Many of their works are coming in to the English domain and other languages, but at one or two albums a year!

So..... there does seem enough reasons to learn French.

A few quick links to get started... with the moderate goal of being able to read French.

(Learning to speak French.... well... lets add the to our next birth's To Do list :)

A good dictionary is a must to get going. Of course one can use Google Translate. It is a fantastic tool. But... where fans of Tintin always can use an excuse to buy this dictionary..

Harrap's 'Tintin au Pays des Mots '. Though out of print, used ones can be sourced.

So lets get going then.....

le, la, un, une, les, des, Bonjour, Bonsoir, Merci !!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Book review : The Phantom: The Complete Newspaper Dailies Volume 1: 1936-1938 (Hardcover)

Great Start

First off, its a huge relief that this book is finally out. Its almost a year since I placed my order at Amazon.

Its good to have the first ever Phantom hardbound. It is a Huge book, similar to the format most reprints these days come in. Great to get started on the complete collection of Phantom.

For those who grew with the stories as a kid, Phantom is a truely remarkable character. The stories, the settings, the action, the adventure, the travels, the dangers, the fun, the romance.. It had everything. The Jungle settings, the caves, the chronicle chamber, the treasure chamber, the island of Eden, the continuum of Phantoms, it is a wonderful set of tales spun by Lee Falk.

The Phantom evolved over the decades, the character as well as physical appearance, due to the fact that it was drawn by different artists over this wast span of time. Each artist was unique, had his unique recipe for bringing Lee Falk's tales to life. Ray Moore, Wilson McCoy and Sy Barry among the most prolific Phatom illustrators. The story as well as the settings, and art work evolved and improved vastly year over year, this is easily noted even within an artist's span, one can see Ray's artwork remarkably improve over time.

There has been reprints of the Phantom in book format from various publishers. Noted among them is the Australian Frew. They have been consistently producing Phantom for decades. Then there was Pacific Comics Club, who came up with great editions of the reprints. Also there used to be a large number of stories that were printed in India known as Indarjal Comics. Mostly these were one story per book. There are the Frew Annuals, humongous books with tons of stories. very well printed.

The version under review is probably one of the best yet. Excellent paper, nicely hardbound, very well printed collector's edition class, and promising to collect all the stories.

It is important to note that these are dailies, and are the earliest of the strip. Also, newspaper comic strips were just evolving then. There was a fixed format and a necessity to hold some suspense every single day, and there was a panel daily. All this meant the artist would be at work on a rigid timeframe. Compared to that the Sundays were more carefully rendered and of course the color would enhance the quality.

Given that, the printing of the first stories have come out very well in this edition. As the stories progress, and the art matures, it is only going to get better. Looking forward to more art work of Moore, McCoy and of course Barry.
This is an extract from my review at, You can find more of my reviews here.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Book review : Figure Drawing - Design and Invention by Michael Hampton

Good Text Book for Constructive Anatomy

Over a long period of time, there is progression in understanding a subject.

Similarly, there is progression in instruction, in terms of pedagogy and materials

Figure drawing has progressed over the centuries(millennia), and it saw a great period of realism and draftsmanship during the renaissance.

A great progression of instruction and more importantly instructional material in the form of books happened during the 20th century. Kimon Nicholaides, Brigdman, Hogarth, Loomis, Vilppu to name a few.

Each one improving and excelling in a manner that was not available previously.

The student of today, has access to the totality of all these developments, and particularly the internet has made it more rapidly possible.

This book is a very refined and concise book, that has in it, some aspect or the other of all the learning and understanding of the art of drawing the figure, as well as all the developments that has happened in the teaching of the subject, in terms of how to approach the learning.

You might already have all the best books published on the subject, yet I feel this one is a must add to the bookshelf.

The book deals with the following topics...

- A general approach of Gesture, and how the rhythmic flow of lines capture the essence of the pose.

- Next the building up of the form using simple forms such as Boxes, Spheres and Cylinders are dealt with. These basic forms are only an aid in visualizing and positioning the various body parts, since these are gross approximations.

- Next the landmarks of the anatomy are presented. Though the study of the human body can be carried out to any possible depth right into the very soul, as artists one need to know and apply just the "right enough" detail to create the believability. Anatomical landmarks provide such key elements , which when properly positioned and presented help create the appearance of a real figure.

- After this broad treatment, the anatomy of all the important parts of the body are very clearly dealt with.

Basically the Skeletal and Musculature are the primary elements that go into the study of anatomy.

One interesting aspect is that each part , say the Deltoid muscle for instance, is analyzed for its Gesture, Shape and Volume. And using a unique color for that muscle, the figure is shown in various poses and angles, clarifying the particular part, and how it changes based on what the figure is doing. For instance, the rectus abdominis does a lot of twist and turning as the figure goes about doing various actions. these variations help visualize and understand the muscle group better, enabling one to apply accordingly and create a convincingly real figure.

As Vilppu would say, all these basic tools such as spheres, boxes etc, are only gross tools, in reality none of the body parts are like these. For instance the Pelvis gets approximated to a box, or a bowl or a series of discs, but in reality the pelvis is nothing like any of these. The only way to draw a pelvis perfectly is to know the pelvis perfectly. But once that is known, these tools can help in visualizing and constructing. and help apply perspective, proportions etc.

One certainly will get best results by taking a regular art school class, or if not, by going through video lectures. and this book would make a great companion to it.

In the current context, for a person embarking on self-learning to draw the Figure here is a possible approach,

Part A: Learn How to draw. (line, form, gesture, mass, light, etc..)

Drawing lecture videos - Vilppu Drawing Manual based videos, with demonstrations
Books to use during this period would include,
Text Book: Vilppu Drawing Manual.
Reference: Natural Way to Draw

Part B: Learn How to draw the Figure (Anatomy, Action, Expressions, Drapery, Types etc.)
Anatomy Lecture videos - Vilppu Anatomy, including the three part Head Anatomy and the demonstrations
Books to use during this period would include,
Text Book: Figure Drawing : Design and Invention,
Reference: The Figure Walt Reed, Burne Hogarth books, Brigdman, Andrew Loomis, Will Eisner Expressive Anatomy etc.

As one moves along one should get a bit of Perspective, Composition, Story Telling etc.. and more towards the discipline of specialization.

This book under review fits in so perfectly as the text book for learning constructive anatomy, with all the details needed for learning as well as for reference.
This is an extract from my review at, You can find more of my reviews here.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Book Review : The Complete Original Illustrated Sherlock Holmes

Nice edition to Read and to Keep

The Complete Original Illustrated Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle

Sherlock Holmes is one enduring character, written with the analytical reader in mind, with Conan Doyle presenting the logic and the reasoning as detailed as the story itself.

This particular edition, is the perfect one. Comfortably large size, easy on the eyes, hardbound is elegant and somehow I found it very easy to position it anyways I wanted, whether I was sitting upright with the book on the desk, or when in travel with the book on my lap, lying on my side with the book on the left. I thought this is important to mention , now ofcourse to the content..

The higlight of this edition is the illustration collection by Sidney Paget, as they appeared when it was first published. It is significant to read the stories with Sidney Paget's illustrations, since Sidney Paget practically defined the way Sherlock Holmes appeared. though Conan Doyle's descriptins can lead one to visualize Holmes, it was Sidney who set it on paper. and the fact that he was working along with Conan Doyle, brings in the authenticity and approval of the visual representation of the stories. Sidney Paget ofcourse is a master illustrator, with fascinating black and white illustrations capturing all the drama in the stories.

The book contains, 37 short stories and a complete novel from The Strand Magazine. With all 356 original illustrations by Sidney Paget.

Stories included are
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, published in The Strand between July, 1891 and December, 1892 (12 stories);
The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes. Published in The Strand as additional episodes between December, 1892 and November, 1893 (12 stories);
The Hound of the Baskervilles, published in The Strand between August, 1901 and April, 1902; and
The Return of Sherlock Holmes, published in The Strand between October, 1903 and January, 1905 (13 stories).

This is an extract from my review at, You can find more of my reviews here.

Friday, January 15, 2010

2010 solar eclipse through Pinhole camera

The Sun and Moon spectacle is as much of Art as it is Science.

Here you can see the 2010 Jan 15th spectacle as observed from Chennai, as captured by the pinhole camera I made using two sheets of cardboard.

You can make as many suns as you need by simply punching that many holes :)

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Book Review : Rip Kirby Volume 1

Golden Age ... Again !!

This is definitely the Golden Age of reprints! A glance at this book will affirm it.

This book is wonderfully made, leather(atleast looks like it) bound!, *very large* book, printed on non-glossy heavy paper, brings out the fantastic black ink work, of which, Alex Raymond is a master.

The book begins with few articles introducing Alex, and his work, pictures of him, a few flyers that promoted the strip when first published, along with some pictures, where you can see Alex Raymond with the beautiful models who were the secret behind his stunningly realistic looking figures. A traditional figure artist of perfection, in line with Hal Foster, Burne Hogarth, Sy Barry and the gang, he is undoubtedly at his best in Rip Kirby.

This is part of a series (atleast there is a Volume two in the works)

This volume 1 contains 8 complete stories from 1946-48.

1. The Chip Faraday Murder
2. The Hicks Formula
3. Enter: The mangler
4. Fatal Forgeries
5. Past Imperfect
6. The Dolls House
7. Bleak prospects
8. Terror on the Thames

Those who love Alex raymond's art work will simply love it, each frame is a comic book artist's study. Composition, Figure drawing, Light and shade, drama, suspense, angles, inking..all is found between the covers of this lovely collection.

Those who love Golden age realistic detective, adventure comics will ofcourse love this. This can also serve as an introduction to the Golden age to any young reader, to be awestuck on the efforts of the artists that went into these amazing stories.

This is an extract from my review at, You can find more of my reviews here.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Tintin English Facsimile Editions in Color

I recently discovered a curious set of Tintin editions in English. Published by Egmont in 2008, they are known as the "English Colour Facsimiles".

Tintin as most of us know evolved in form and content and style over long periods during the first half of the 20th century. Beginning as black and white periodical comic strips, it evolved into the book form, and then at a later point was introduced in color.

The style, language and content kept refining. Censorship played a role in its evolution as well, primarily related to racial sterotyping. Even the paper on which these stories are printed accquired a distracting gloss reducing the charm of the matt, somewhat muted colors that are vintage Herge.

These books are wonderfully made hardbound , have a cloth like spine and brings out the soft and enchanting coloring that is known of Franco-Belgian comics in general and Tintin in particular.

The Back Cover Reads: The Tintin Classic Collection by Hergé. Published in English for the first time, this is the original colour edition that first appeared over 50 years ago. An essential edition for Tintin enthusiasts! Editions available: The Black Island (1943); The Broken Ear (1943); Tintin in America (1945); The Blue Lotus (1946); King Ottokar's Sceptre (1947); Cigars of the Pharaoh (1955).

These are available at Amazon (UK) where I got them from. The Tintin Shop (UK) and Egmont (UK).

The English Colour Facsimiles are the exact replicas of the first color versions minus the censorship. There are currently six books published in this format. I just got hold of them, and they are simply stunning. The best Tintin books I have to date!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Famous Artists School Course Free Online Material

The undoubtedly great famous Artists School course material from the 50s/60s are now made available online for free by couple of folks. This is great, since these materials are very very hard to come by, and even if they do, they are not in good shape.

There is always going to be a question of copyright and stuff. If you do look at it from a broad angle this course is some sort of world heritage stuff. To be preserved for posterity. The lessons are so absolutely to the point, and practical and applicable , created by commercially successful artists of the time. And they were wonderfully packaged into a coherent course by the ever so shrewed a business mind, as great as an illustrator, Albert Dorne.

Albert Dorne, Norman Rockwell, Willard Mullin just to name a few of the faculty, was a dream team.

There were basically three courses paths the students could take: Commercial Illustration, Cartooning and Painting.

(1) Here is where you will find the entire course material for the Commercial Illustration Course:

The Complete famous Artists Course (1960) at onAnimation blog. Thanks to Daniel Caylor for this great job.

(2) Here is where you wil find the still harder to get Cartoon course:

The Famous Artists Cartoon Course at Comicrazys blog.

Enjoy while it lasts.

Big salute to Albert Dorne and Co. !