This book gets an easy four stars just for the wealth of content about the methods and backgrounds of the featured artists, and I would definitely recommend it on that basis. But based on the original solicitation prior to its release, I had expected a book with lots of images of physical working spaces. Instead, there's just one photo of each artist's studio, and some of those pictures aren't particularly revealing. That's my hang-up, but I thought it might be useful info for those weighing a purchase.
The text suffers from poor editing (a sentence stopping midway through, words used incorrectly), and the interview material seems to be culled together from various sources in a way that occasionally makes for jagged reading. Additionally, the editors are from the UK, and I doubt Alex Ross uses the word "whilst". Still, these are petty complaints if you just want lots of info on each artist at a reasonable price.
Comic book readers are in for a treat with this book. 20 renowned artists come together in this book to talk about their life, career and art.
These artists write in first person, talking about how they got started in art, their influences, their schools, studio space and work flow. Included are artworks they have done over their careers with their thoughts. There are really interesting stuff like cringing at old work, or reading about the artist wanting to be with their girlfriends than at the drawing board.
The writeup is authentic and raw. It's very inspiring and motivating to know a bit about the people who create great comics.
At 320 pages, some might complain that the pages devoted to each artists might not be enough. True, but there's a always a compromise between variety and depth.
Since the book is titled Studio Space, there's a good amount written on the artists' working style. Read about their choice of medium, the preparation they do for their projects, where they work and other things they think about. Oh, no, this book doesn't contain a lot of photos into their actual work area.
This book provides incredible depth to comics we read, by giving us the back stories through the eyes of the creators.
Here are the list of 20 artists featured:
Brian Bolland (Judge Dredd, Invisibles)
Dave Gibbons (Watchmen, The Originals, Green Lantern)
Tim Bradstreet (Punisher, Hellblazer)
Howard Chaykin (American Flagg, Mighty Love)
Sean Phillips (Hellblazer, Criminal)
Duncan Fegredo (Hellboy, Enigma)
Joe Kubert (Sgt Rock, Enemy Ace, Kubert School)
Mike Mignola (Hellboy)
Tim Sale (Heroes, Batman Long Halloween)
George Pratt (Batman, Enemy Ace)
Tommy Lee Edwards (Matrix, Batman Begins, Star Wars)
Adam Hughes (Star Wars, Ghost, Wonder Woman)
Walter Simonson (Elric, Thor, Manhunter)
Jim Lee (Batman, X-Men, Superman)
Frank Miller (Sin City, 300, Dark Knight Returns)
Bryan Talbot (Luther Arkwright, Alice in Sunderland)
Alex Ross (Superman, Batman, Marvels)
Steve Dillon (Preacher, Wolverine)
Dave Taylor (Tongue Lash, Batman)
There should be another volume coming up as I've read on blogs that the authors, Joel Meadows and Gary Marshall, are looking for more artists to interview.
(More pictures are available on my blog. Just visit my Amazon profile for the link.)
Snow man 001
The book itself is OK, the artist interviews read like an email survey, but there are some interesting answers here and there, and it's not a bad read, just not good or great. And very little of the art samples are really you haven't seen before if you've read any of the similar books out there or if you've read comics at all.
But the real disappointment is in the artist portraits.
Each section starts out with a blank white empty full page on the left hand side, and the right hand page starts out with a small portrait. ONE SMALL PORTRAIT EACH! Some of the artist portraits include some of the artist's studio, some are tighter close ups, barely showing any workspace at all. But each only has the one photo.
For a book whose title is "studio space" and whose cover shows two great color studio photos, I was a little disappointed to find there was one black and white photo per artist and very few photos ACTUALLY showing a decent look at the studio. I would have liked to at the very least, seen one shot of each artists work space. Maybe that blank white page to the left could have been a full shot of the work space in addition to the portrait on the right hand page?
If you are looking for books that show a little more photos of artists studio spaces try, an older book, Dream Makers by Chris Evans, which features decent interviews along with one or more nice color shots of six artists, not all from comics some are illustrators and fantasy artists, (Artists included; Michael Kaluta, Berni Wrightson, Charles Vess, Melvyn Grant, Julek Heller & Chris Moore). Or for a book which features a more serious focus on photographs of artists studios, there is a newer book, The Artist Within by Greg Preston which features hundreds of artists, and lots of great photos shot exclusively for the book, but unfortunately much less text, and is not as satisfying to read, but it is so full of rich photography, if you are fascinated by artist's workspaces you'll find this a much more satisfying book than Studio Space. (The Artist Within, includes artists like Frank Miller, Al Hirschfeld, Joe Barbera, Jack Kirby, Joe Simon, Moebius, Walter and Louise Simonson and lots more).
Maurice Terry Jr.
The book was a great source of information that gives you an insight on top creative professionals. It's an enjoyable reference of motivation and inspiration for those of us who are struggling to have our creative vision seen.
Nader Hanna Al-Shaikh
An excellent book that is well detailed and showcases some of the best people in the business.....
Recommended for all readers even if they are not into the comic world...