BOOK REVIEW: Ballistic Publishing's Expose 10 and The Art of Massive Black Vol. 2
Two new books featuring the latest in digital artwork from around the globe…
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There’s nothing like digital art to impress a pop culture fan and if you’ve read our reviews of previous Ballistic Publishing books, you know how much we enjoy our digital art. Be it concept designs, mecha and robots, characters, fantasy, science fiction or photo realistic in style, modern digital art finds a variety of ways to engage, entertain and impress. Likewise, modern digital artists bring to life both the new and the old, the unusual and the ordinary thanks to modern technology, creativity, and hard work. Now, thanks to Ballistic Publishing, fans have two new volumes of amazing digital artwork to add to their collections: Expose 10 and The Art of Massive Black Volume 2.
Like previous books in the series, Expose 10 begins with a number of letters, here with CGSociety President Mark Snoswell and Ballistic Managing Editor Ronnie Garmazio. Next, we find a map of the world featuring the location of the hundreds of artists who’ve been published in the last Expose volumes. Next, we find an index of the 20 separate sections in the book. Everything from Portraits, Architecture, Fantasy, Science Fiction and Robotics/Cyborg to Comic/Manga, Storytelling, Concept Art, Surreal, Transport and more are included.
Following the 20 categories readers are introduced to the 15 members of the Advisory Board and Jury, to include some very familiar names like Epic Games Art Director Chris Perna, Massive Black Co-Founder Justin ‘Coro’ Kaufman, and fantasy artist extraordinaire Brom to name a few. In every Expose, an artist whose work has both transcended time and style is awarded the title “Grand Master.” Here, professional illustrator Jim Burns is awarded the title and a short editorial by Burns as well as a multi-page layout of his work is included.
Next, 20 “Master Awards” are presented to artists included here, one in each of the 20 sections. A picture of the artist, the artist’s award-winning work, and a short biography is included introducing readers to the talent. It is here we finally get to the meat of the book. Expose 10 includes over 540 digital pieces of artwork by over 380 artists from over 65 countries in over 20 different genres or styles. That’s a lot of awesome.
Included here are digital pieces featuring a variety of styles and types; everything from the photo realistic and manga and comic styles to the surreal and obscure are included here. A visual feast for fans of any and every type of digital art, Expose 10 includes something for everyone making it well worth owning for any and all fans and collectors of art books and portfolios.
The Art of Massive Black Volume 2
In 2003, a new design studio - Massive Black - took to the scene and has been impressing studios, producers, and fans ever since. Their work has been present in a variety of pop culture forms; be it advertising, TV, video games, film or their own individual IPs and their first volume of artwork from Ballistic showcased their work from 2003 - 2007. Now, Massive Black Volume 2 comes ready to once again impress. This volume, like others, opens with multiple letters from those in the industry, including former Massive Black member and current Safehouse Atelier member Carl Dobsky, Massive Black Senior Concept Artist Kemp Remillard, and Ballistic Managing Editor Ronnie Gramazio.
Next, a number of photo stills from around the Massive Black studio featuring members of the staff in a variety of settings is included, introducing readers to the fine artists and creators responsible for the awesomeness within. Finally, a final letter from Massive Black Co-Founders Chris Hatala and Justin Coro Kaufman is included introducing readers to the work included here.
It’s here readers enter the truly awe-inspiring book that is Massive Black Volume 2. Here readers find four distinct sections: Games, Movies, Advertising and MB Entertainment each with their own sub-sections based on properties and titles. The game section includes the studio’s work on everything from Starhawk, Infamous and Infamous 2, an Untitled Sega game (with very impressive graphics), Red Faction: Armageddon while the film section includes work on such titles as Transformers 2 and Transformers 3, G.I. Joe, Thor and Battleship. Advertising clients include Coca Cola, British Gas, Coco Pops, and Dancing with the Stars to name a few while MB Entertainment properties include those pictured here: Zombie Playground, Transient, Proxy and Mothhead.
If you’ve ever asked “What would that character have looked like in a different outfit?” or “I wonder what that alien would have driven?” then you’ll love Massive Black Vol 2. Here you’ll find character artwork, vehicle designs, mecha and robots as well as settings and landscapes from those properties listed above. Likewise, you’ll see concept art of characters, vehicles, settings, and mecha which look strangely familiar but weren’t used.
An engaging, entertaining, and all-around impressive book filled with a variety of artwork from rough designs to finished advertising pieces; Massive Black Vol 2 is, for the pop culture fans out there, just as fun as walking through an art gallery if not more so!
Both Expose 10 and The Art of Massive Black Volume 2 can be found online at www.BallisticPublishing.com.
Be sure to check out the variety of images below as well as flip through the entire books online at the links above!
- Jess C. Horsley
- images courtesy Ballistic Publishing, copyright respective owners