d'artiste: Character Design is part of the tutorial series of art books from Ballistic Publishing. This volume is a 208 page paperback that comes with a slipcase. The printing quality is, as usual, very good. There's also a limited edition but that version cost more than two times more.
The three masterclass artists featured are Anne Pogoda, Kekai Kotaki, Gonzalo Ordonez (aka Genzoman). The presentation for each artist starts with the artist's background, the portfolio, two to three extensive step-by-step tutorials and a huge invited artist gallery. The tutorials are actually a look at the process.
Anne Pogoda's specialises on female characters. Her first tutorial looks at creating different variations of a female character, on how to change the looks using hairstyles, expressions and other visual devices. The second tutorial on designing an anime style character, but it didn't really look anime enough when compared to Gonzalo Ordonez's work. The third tutorial is on rescuing a character design that went bad, by reusing elements of two designs that didn't work out. The end result, unfortunately to me, doesn't look like a vast improvement.
I like Kekai Kotaki's section the most. He's a fantastic artist who can create unique, beautiful and believable characters. You might have seen his work created for Guild Wars (some are included here). It's great to see him featured here with three tutorials. He shows us how to create a wild, heroic and finally an evil character.
If you like anime style, you're sure to like Gonzalo Ordonez. His colourful illustrations are very energetic and eye catching. He has only two tutorials and they are on creating a devil-killing angel, and a valkryie with a wolf. Only two tutorials, but very extensive - well, all the tutorials from the artists are extensive.
This is a good book if you want to pick up new techniques. All artwork featured come with commentary, not just the tutorials.
You can flip through the book at www.ballisticpublishing.com/books/dartiste/character_design/.
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