Friday, October 28, 2011

Nicolas Marlet's Sketchbook

Nicolas Marlet is an artist who currently works as a character designer for DreamWorks. He is especially know for his work in Kung Fu Panda, Kung Fu Panda 2, and How to Train your Dragon. He's known to be a little shy about displaying his work, so I'm really happy to now see so much of him!

This sketchbook is fantastic at emphasizing exactly what it is that Marlet does so well, capturing the essential components of a character, enough to make a real personality, in just a few lines. Looking at each of these people, we know who they are, and even exaggerated, we can easily recognize them as people we see every day. These are also some great examples of facial proportion pushing. 

The book is very small, (6"x4") but this tiny feeling of intimacy, an experience that can really only felt by one person at a time, seems to mimic the moments that these drawing capture. A quick drawing to capture a fragment of time, or a single thought. I wonder what is the size of the original sketchbook? Perhaps very similar.

If you do get this book, or have it, take a moment to really examine the people. It is possible to suggest that there are a few drawings that look like they could be illustrations of the same people. But what is really interesting is that these people are illustrated differently each time, but are still recognizable. 

Pros: The quality is excellent and the binding is very solid. It has a nice sturdy cover, so it looks like it could take a beating in your bag, especially given its tiny dimensions. (6"x4") There is a lot of art, and the only text is the title. 

Cons: The binding is so solid it will be impossible to take any scans of it. But really, thats nothing. Also be aware that this IS a sketchbook, which means that there isn't much in the way of 'completed' looking illustrations. Instead, this gives us exactly what we want from Marlet, some awesome character sketches.

How to Buy: Currently you can buy this from Gallery Nucleus but be careful, as editions are limited

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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Michiko Kitamura's Method of Costume

Michiko Kitamura is a well known costume designer in her Native Japan, but receives little notoriety on a more global scale. American's may be more likely to know her for her costumes, as seen on the cover, for the movie Sukiyaki Western Django. This book is small, but packs a powerful punch of work.

What really draws me to Kitamura's work is her exquisite use of patterns. A lot of her work is focused around pattern layers, and the draping quality of the fabric. In an interview with Kitamura, she expresses her opinion that Japanese culture takes itself too seriously. She likes to take it rumple it, mix it with other cultures, and turn it on it's head. 

 What also fascinates me is her attention to character. She is very good at accentuating the individual qualities of each character while simultaneously homogenizing them as a group, it's really amazing.

Even without any textiles, Kitamura makes the white feel as though it is a pattern. The above image also showcases her consideration to shape and form. I love this image below, the attention paid to the scraped away nail polish 

Pros: The book has a nice intimate size that reflects the work well, the paper is a nice thick quality, and it's all about Kitamura, what isn't to love? The layout is lovely, perfectly displaying all of the work, and a lot of attention has been paid color.  
Cons: The only disappointment is that it is only 150 pages, and the last 50 are filled with an interview with Kitamura in, you guessed it, Japanese. This means there is only 100 pages of beautifully photographed work, that leaves you yearning for more.

How to Buy: This is a tricky one. You can go through, you will have to type in the Japanese title  衣裳術 or her name 北村 道子 . While the book itself is around $30, the import is very expensive. Another way is to go through the Japanese Bookstore chain in America called Kinokuniya. If you are lucky, they will have one on the shelves, and will ship it to you for a nominal $8. Even if you aren't, they will order it for you from Japan, and the shipping is much cheaper because they buy so much stock from the land of the rising sun.  

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