I've got three great books sitting on my table that I want to recommend today, all from different categories: a how-to, a sketchbook facsimile, and a gallery/collection book. All three will provide eye-candy and inspiration and deserve to be savored.
How to Create Your Own Gig Posters, Band T-Shirts, Album Covers, & Stickers: Screenprinting, Photocopy Art, Mixed-Media Collage, and Other Guerilla Poster Styles, by Ruthann Godollei. Voyager Press © 2013
While the title and subtitle of this how to print and design book is cumbersome everything else about it is spot on, to the point information needed to get all those jobs done. The examples of finished pieces are varied and engaging.This is the type of book that gives you working information as well as examples which inspire you to take some action on those projects you've been thinking about but haven't quite got around to. Also there are some gallery sections with pieces from some of my favorite printmakers and graffiti artists.
Godellei is an art professor at Macalester College in St. Paul, MN. An active printmaker who obviously keeps abreast of the trends and tastes in her field. She has molded all elements the title promised into a cohesive and informative whole.
I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in visual arts whether or not they currently make prints or have plans to.
(Disclaimer: I worked with Ruthann on the "Minnesota Journal Project 2000"—for which she created an incredible found paper journal we had to devise an alternate binding method for. I clearly enjoy her creative mind. I purchased this book at Wet Paint, without any contact from her.)
Frazetta Sketchbook, by J. David Spurlock and Frank Frazetta. Vanguard Productions, ©2013.
Let's start with the disclaimer on this one. I purchased this book months ago and I keep looking at it over and over, but I have only dipped into the text a little bit. What caught my interest was of course the opportunity to look at more sketches by the legendary Frank Frazetta. If you don't know Frazetta then maybe you've been living on a rock somewhere in space so you'd better catch up. My first exposure to Frazetta was as a cover illustrator for all the sci-fi and fantasy books I'd be searching through to find books for my brother's birthday (this was a difficult process because I could never remember what he had already, and what he hoped to read, despite a constantly updated list). I was easily distracted by covers and Frazetta's painterly style appealed to me, growing up as I did reading reissued copies of childrens' classics with drawings by Arthur Rackham, Howard Pyle, and N.C. Weyth. (And no, the buxom nature of his female characters and various over and undertones are not offputting to me. I grew up living in museums seeing enough naked folks enacting racy Bibical events. Take a look at Gentileschi's Judith Beheading Holofernes for instance. What a person of any age and time creates says something about the person, but also about the society that consumes that creative product. Let the profiling begin!)
In this book there are lots of sketchbook images, unfinished drawings, and drawings partially inked. Frazetta is a master of form and gesture and composition. He used light in service to tell his story, and he understood color. It's fun to have an opportunity to see some of his "traditional" life drawings. I hope to get around to reading the text at some point soon.
I reviewed an earlier fascimile type book of Frazetta on my "Sketchbook and Journal Facsimiles and Collections" page in the left hand column of this blog in the PAGES list.
500 Handmade Books Volume 2, Julie Chen, juror. Lark Crafts, ©2013.
Lark has published a number of books in this 500 series, some relating to cups, cabinets, pitchers, prints on clay. They have also published a volume one of handmade books as this book's title implies. This series is deliciously produced in a square format that is easy to hold and flip through, and savor! All the images are large enough to be clear and vibrant and let you get a feeling for the piece displayed.
If you are interested in the current state of book arts you need to look at this volume. If you are a mixed media artist or collage artist this volume contains so much exciting work that you cannot help but be inspired to up your own game. The images in this book will have you thinking about craftsmanship, structure, and content, content, content. Each selection is presented with one or more views and a caption giving details on dimensions and materials used.
This is a truly lovely book which will delight anyone interested in book arts and visual expression. I recommend both this volume and volume one (it's still available).
(Disclaimer: I received an email from the publisher asking if I would like a review copy of this book. Typically I don't accept review copies of books because I don't want to feel beholden and more important, if I don't like something I'm going to say so. But I said yes, knowing that I would love the book, and I could tell you about it. It should be available soon as it has a publication date of September 2013. [A search on their website didn't turn it up on Saturday.] You can find it listed here on Amazon [and no I don't have an Amazon connection].)