This is something of an "also for your consideration" addition to Howard Lyon's post last Friday... which is natural, I suppose. I mean, like Howard, I love books and I love to give books as gifts: after all, they don't need batteries or the latest software or gadget to enjoy them. They can provide inspiration or insight or reference or information—and usually all four. Take them off the shelf and you're transported immediately to...wherever the artist or author wants to take you. So, along with Howard's excellent list, here are a few—a very few—more suggestions for your or your friends' library. If you've been good you can put 'em on your own Christmas list and hope Santa brings them or, if you're bad or impatient (or both, like me), cut out the middle man and grab them while you can.
Neverlasting Miracles: The Art of Todd Schorr [Last Gasp]
I've been a fan of Todd's for many years and this 304 page retrospective was a no-brainer purchase. If you have to apply a label, I guess you'd call his art "pop surrealism," containing many references to contemporary cultural icons combined with sly (and generally benign) social commentary. Todd started out as an illustrator and eventually transitioned into Fine Art, but that doesn't mean his work isn't accessible or engaging: it absolutely is. There's nothing stuffy or pretentious about his art (as this collection proves)—and, boy!, does he paint b-i-g.
Timeless: Diego and the Rangers of the Vastlantic by Armand Baltazar [Katherine Tegen]
By this time MC readers should all know about Greg Manchess' first illustrated novel, but did you know that Armand Baltazar has also written and illustrated his first book? No? Well, you definitely should. Over 600 pages of an energetic steampunk-flavored YA story expertly illustrated in glorious color makes this first volume in the Timeless series a delight for readers of all ages. Armand is a highly-regarded concept artist for Disney, DreamWorks, and Pixar and rumor has it that there's a film adaptation in the works: fingers crossed.
I have several books devoted to Syd Mead's influential work (including, naturally, Bladerunner, Tron, Star Trek, and Aliens to name just a few) but I think this new volume is the most comprehensive and features a ton of art that's never been in print before now.
Classic Storybook Fables by Scott Gustafson [Artisan]
It will be a surprise to no one that Grand Master Scott Gustafson's new book is, quite simply, stunning. Favorite stories like "Beauty and the Beast," "The Ugly Duckling," "The Boy Who Cried Wolf," and "The Boy Who Went to the North Wind" are memorably brought to life by Scott's luminous paintings. This is the type of book that will have a profoundly positive impact on young readers (while thoroughly delighting their parents). Signed copies are available from Scott's webstore, hint, hint.
Innsmouth: The Lost Drawings of Mannish Sycovia by Mark A. Nelson [Alaxis Press]
Mark Nelson (via the rediscovered drawings of one "Mannish Sycovia") takes us on a guided tour of Lovecraft Country and its amphibious denizens. I've been a fan of Mark's since his fanzine and Dark Horse Comics days and I was happy as a Shoggoth when he decided to put together this horrific/humorous collection of eldritch drawings. There's even a signed ltd. edition that's certain to make any Lovecraftian's gills flap.
Goblin Market by Christina Rossetti, illustrated by Omar Rayyan [Studio Rayyan]
I can't think up enough superlatives to describe Omar's lush illustrations for the Rossetti classic. This 9"x12" 88-page volume is crammed full with over 100 whimsical, haunting, erotic, and ultimately unforgettable drawings and watercolors. Gorgeous with a capital "G."
A division (I think) of the Alamo Drafthouse theater chain, the Mondo Gallery in Austin, TX has been producing a host of collectible goodies for a number of years, including a batch of "alternative movie poster" Fine Art prints by a wide variety of artists. Inglorious Bastards, Star Wars, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, you name it, they've done it—and not only are the art and design crazy good, but the prints are crazy popular and sell out, often within hours of being offered. This fat volume collects most (if not all) of them and is a great way to find out what all the hubbub is about.
This trio of art books by J.A.W. Cooper is...uh...jaw-droppingly good. (Sorry.) On the one hand she is a wildly popular gallery painter; on the other she's an in-demand concept artist for the film and entertainment industries; on the third hand she's an incessant, inquisitive, and compulsive sketcher, always drawing, always experimenting. Creatures (both real and imagined), landscapes, and fantastic situations—all executed with a level of confidence and skill that belies Cooper's (as she likes to be called) relatively young age—fill the pages. This trilogy (available individually or as a set) serve as both an introduction to and celebration of an artist we'll most certainly be hearing much more from in the future.
Norse Myths by Kevin Crossley-Holland/illustrated by Jeffrey Alan Love [Candlewick Press]
God, I...uh...love (there, I said it)...Jeffrey Alan Love's expressive art. He is, above all else, a masterful storyteller and his work adds a sense of excitement to every project he tackles. This collection of generally-well-known Norse mythology become intriguingly new and refreshing thanks to Jeff's bold graphic illustrations—and it has already made the Wall Street Journal's list of Best Children's Books of 2017! This is the type of volume that young readers will get absorbed in (and be inspired by) and which adults will savor.