Welcome to Parka Blogs!
Parka is my online alias although now I can't remember where that name came from. LOL.
How I started
Parka Blogs started as a personal blog about random musing. It has since evolved to feature more of artbooks and art products. The artbooks are mostly related to animation, movie and comics.
I only started reviewing artbook more often after I saw favourable response to some of the Pixar artbooks featured.
Often, when you're buying books online or even in bookstores, you can't see what's inside. You can't buy what you can't see. That's especially true for art books, because art is subjective to the individual. I realised there were readers, just like me, trying to figure out what's inside these books.
The purpose of the reviews is to help readers make informed purchases. The mission statement of the blog is to make sure you know exactly what you're buying..
Fun fact: I've been chased out of libraries before because I was caught taking photos of pages from artbooks. Apparently you can't use cameras in the libraries but you can pay to use their photocopying machines.
Where do the books come from?
Most books, about 80-90%, were bought.
Some were borrowed, from friends, the library and some from my sponsor Basheer Graphic Books, a local art bookstore that I visit often — those books are marked as review copies.
There's a common misconception that I get a lot of sponsored books. In reality, I rarely receive free books from publishers. I don't solicit artbooks from publishers. Sometimes publishers or independent artists would offer review copies, and if their books look like something I would feature, then I would accept it.
I spend a lot on books monthly so this is a high expense blog.
Are the reviews biased?
I spend real money on the books so I like to think that I can write more unbiased reviews that way.
Art is subjective. So that's where the pictures and videos I posted come in handy. You'll know instantly if you like the book just by looking at pictures posted.
Just because I like a particular book doesn't mean it will appeal to everyone, vice versa. I normally state the group of readers who will enjoy it most.
Sometimes it's just easier to show it with a picture.
If you have noticed, I don't usually put out upcoming book announcements. I don't believe in featuring a book if I've not seen what's inside. I don't want you to waste your money.
And just because some publishers give me free books doesn't mean that I'm more likely to give them favorable reviews. I don't really care about their feelings because if I don't have the book, I'm likely to buy them anyway to feature on the blog.
Why don't you post news about upcoming artbooks?
I maintain a list of upcoming artbooks.
However, I do not post specifically about individual upcoming books. I rarely promote things or books I've not personally seen or read. I don't like my readers to buy anything without knowing exactly what they are buying.
However, I do occasionally post about these books on my Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/parkablogs
Where do the books go after review?
Some are kept. Many are actually sold at much lower prices to people who need them more, some are given away as lucky draw prizes for local art events and sold are donated to the local libraries.
Due to space constraint, there's no way I can keep all the books I've reviewed.
What's with those Amazon links?
Those are affiliate links. If you purchase a book through those links, the website gets a little monetary commission. There's no extra cost to you, no additional hidden charges above the listed prices.
The existence of those affiliate links doesn't mean the reviews are biased in such a way to sell the books. I have given negative reviews for books, e.g. Neoludica, The Art of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, Digital Painting Tricks & Techniques, Muscles in Motion, Expressive Drawing, Abstract Comics, Figure Drawing Without a Model, Exploring Character Design, Tate Watercolour Manual, etc.
The money earned from the commissions are used to get more books to feature and to offset the expense of running the blog. As I've said earlier, most books are bought. I buy good and lousy (ouch) books to feature. You won't know a book is lousy until you've bought it, and if it's a lousy book then I want to tell you first before you make the mistake.
You can support the blog directly by buying through the Amazon, Book Depository or Craftsy links. Without your support, I'll be broke in no time --- you can calculate how much I spend per month from the Upcoming Artbooks List page, and for example for October 2014 it was over USD $950. O_O
My website is hosted with a Singapore web host called Vodien. Their customer support is excellent. Previously I was using Bluehost, also great and worth the money, but I outgrew the plan when I reach around 2,000 visitors daily.
Can I buy books from you? Do you have a shop?
No, I don't have a shop. You can buy the books from the links and bookstores I mention in the reviews.
Can you scan the pages of an art book for me?
No. It violates the Copyright law. I won't even respond to requests for scans.
There are more information why I won't do it here:
It's cool to support artists who make a living from their art, and who have spent great effort producing their books. As an artist myself, I enjoy helping other artists.
It's free to promote your art books on Parka Blogs
Your book must be related to art, animation, movies or comics.
If you mail a complimentary copy to me, I can review and promote it on the blog for free. Electronic version is fine with me, actually preferable, because you get to save on shipping charges.
No promises on a positive review though. I've given negative reviews for books someone mailed me before.
Do not send me abstract art books because I'm not into abstract art.
Ways to support Parka Blogs
There are a few ways to support Parka Blogs directly. And I appreciate any help I can get.
1. Link to Parka Blogs or share the reviews on your website or facebook page.
2. Buy books using the Amazon or Book Depository links. It doesn't cost you anything extra.
You can contact me through website's contact form.