-By Dan dos Santos

There have been a lot of good art books released recently, more than I can reasonably share here. But I thought I’d share a few of my absolute favorites. I feel every one of these books would make an impressive addition to an art library.

Illustrator Edition Sketchbooks (Set of 6) 

OK, they’re not really art books, but hot dang! How can you say no to six pocket-size sketchbooks with covers by Iain McCaig, Bruce Timm, Mark Schultz, Frank Cho, Terry Dodson and Petar Meseldzija! I think I need a second set because it’s almost a shame to draw in them.

Women of Wonder

This book is a great overview of some the most talented women working in the fantastic art field today. Every artist gets a double page spread, with a short bio and large, full page images. The work inside is presented really beautifully, adding to the overall feminine nature of the book.

Mark Schultz : Portfolio, The Complete Various Drawings

Man oh, Man. This may be my favorite book on the list. Here’s why…

Mark Schultz is brilliant. And I think some of his best work is in his ‘Various Drawings’ sketchbooks.
Sadly, some of those early sketchbooks are expensive and hard to find. This new book collects ALL of his sketchbook volumes, and reprints them at larger than they’ve ever been printed, in a nearly 300 page beast of a book, in hardcover… for just $50.

This book is easily one of my Must-Haves. If I could force you to buy this book, I would.

Storms at Sea

More Schultz?!
Yes, please!!!

Seriously, you won’t find a book with sexier drawings anywhere. Except maybe in the book listed above! This illustrated novel has some of Mark’s finest drawing to date.

Ralph McQuarrie : Archives

A while back, Dreams and Visions Press released a book of Ralph McQuarrie’s Star Wars art. The book was amazing, and likely never to be reprinted due to what I can only imagine is a copyright nightmare. The result is, the book is ridiculously expensive now, and sadly was the only real collection of Ralph’s work.

So when I heard the they were making another book of Ralph McQuarries art, this time containing all of his Non-Star Wars art, I went ahead and pre-ordered it.

The book is pretty impressive. It’s printed in landscape format, which is perfect for the movie work, and is reeeeally comprehensive, with a whopping 432 pages of art!!!

The Art of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe

I adore He-Man. It’s one of the first things I really began drawing obsessively as a child. So admittedly, I’m biased in this selection. Though I suspect even the most skeptical buyer would be impressed by this book.

The book collects various He-Man art spanning several decades of the character’s legacy, and contains work from the likes of Darwyn Cooke, Mike Allred, Bruce Timm,  Ralph McQuarrie, and ton more.

Though, the biggest reason I bought this book was in the hopes it would contain some nice reproductions of Earl Norem’s paintings, which it does. Earl was one of my favorite painters, and has no art book of his own. Given his recent death, I don’t know if we will ever see one. Until that day, this book is a fantastic collection of the very pieces that first introduced me to his work.

The book is full of wonderful touches, that seem to exceed it’s ludicrously reasonable price point. Such as an actual cell sheet that you can superimpose over matte paintings from the cartoon to emulate the way they were produced.

Again, this book is way oversized, and crazy thick, for a really good price.
But if you want to go all out, you can get the limited edition version, which comes in what might be the craziest slipcase ever.

Tony DiTerlizzi : Realms

Tony DiTerlizzi is a remarkable draftsman and this book showcases Tony at what Tony does best… Roleplaying Game Art. The book is densely packed, and fits a lot of art within it’s 200+ pages.

Whimsical monsters, with small blurbs of information, gives the book a bit of a ‘compendium’ feel. I suspect the book would really appeal to kids as well. The book also provides a bit of insight into his process, including progress shots and reference photos.

The Art of Mad Max

The art of book for Mad Max is exactly what you’d hope it would be. Lots of automobile designs and craaaazy costumes, draw in a beautiful, yet chaotic, manner so perfectly suited to the film.

Mad Max : Inspired Artists

This book is a great companion to the previous selection, and contains art inspired by the film by a slew of the comic industry’s top talent.

The book showcases the work of 65 different artists, including Tara McPherson, David Mack, Bill, Sienkiewicz, George Pratt, Dave McKean, Tommy Lee Edwards, Jim Lee, Paul Pope, and a ton more.

I’ve got to say, the calibre of work in this book is really high, the consistency of which actually surprised me. I was impressed page after page.

The Swords of Glass

I tend to categorize certain comics as ‘art books’. Especially when they are hand painted and/or oversized.

This coffee table sized collection is one of the most beautifully drawn comics I’ve ever seen. A must have for fans of European comics.

The Golden Age : Masterworks from the Golden Age of Illustration

I almost feel bad about showing off this book.

This book is nothing but stunning full page reproductions of hard-to-find Golden Age illustrations from the very best artists of the era. It is an instant favorite of mine.

Unfortunately, the book was printed as a limited run via KickStarter, so copies are super scarce and are going for way more than they were just a few months ago.

Still, even at the highly inflated price, the book is SO nice, I dare say it’s worth it.