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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    St. Louis, MO

    REVIEW: Ballistic Publishing's Painter

    The world's finest Painter artwork available now...

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    Following our recent review of d'artiste: Character Design, we've received the new Painter: The World's Finest Painter Art book, which is sure to impress fans of digital art and - more specifically - artwork created using Corel's Painter program.

    Edited by Daniel Wade and Paul Hellard and published by Mark Snoswell and Leonard Teo, Painter opens with words by the editors and publishers as well as a description of the 12 different styles or types of artwork enclosed here. These vary from "Fantasy," "Characters in Action" and "Concept Art" to "Wildlife," "Abstract & Surreal" and even "Still Life."

    Next, readers are introduced to the advisory board and jury who selected the artwork featured in Painter. These seven artists each bring with them years of education and professional experience and an exceptional eye for beauty, detail, and mastery. It's important to remember the artwork featured in Painter was submitted during Ballistics' call for submissions. In total, nearly 2,600 images were turned in, from which these seven decided upon 209 pieces of artwork from 128 artists from 29 countries.

    The book also features short introductions by Sean Young, Product Manager of Corel Painter and John Derry, the original Painter author. Both men express their delight at the amazing artwork included in the Painter book as well as a bit of background information on the Painter program.

    Following these introductions and indexes, the artwork begins. And oh what amazing artwork it is! If you're a fan of digital artwork, Painter is an amazing addition to any library shelf. As previously mentioned, the styles and types of artwork vary greatly, ensuring each digital art fan has something to admire. As an added bonus, the seven judges have awarded titles to specific pieces of artwork submitted and included in the Painter book, to include "Master" and "Excellence." These titles will help non-artists (such as myself) better understand which pieces the advisory board feel include more detail, mastery, and skill.

    The first piece a reader finds is the "Mater" level painting Circu, Dimir lobotomist, a Wizards of the Coast commissioned piece by American artist Cyril Van Der Haegen (below). Obviously the mastery is immediately seen in the use of darks and lights, shading, detail, and style.

    Circu, Dimir lobotomist
    Client: Wizards of the Coast © Wizards of the Coast
    Cyril Van Der Haegen, USA

    Following the "Characters in Repose" section, a "Characters in Action" section helps ensure readers gain exposure to the impressive action-oriented work of such artists as Japan's Simon Bull, who's piece, News flash: Giant Panda destroys Tokyo (below) received the "Excellence" title.

    News flash: Giant Panda destroys Tokyo
    Simon Bull, JAPAN

    A wide variety of "Characters in Action" are included in Painter, including a majority of sci-fi and fantasy pieces. In all, the "Characters in Action" is one of my favorite of the 12 sections in Painter because of the dynamic selection of art and the fluid and dynamic movement show throughout.

    The next section of artwork includes "Portraits." These include everything from fantasy-style witches and Renaissance-style women to sci-fi children and modern-day men. In fact, the piece seen here - Andy by Benedict Campbell of Great Britain - is one such modern piece that shows the amazing work that can be done with Corel's Painter.

    Benedict Campbell, GREAT BRITAIN

    Following "Portraits," "Concept Art" comes. For those who enjoy looking and unpublished artwork that might have been, this section is a treat. Utilized to help visualize a scene from a film, book, video game, or other media, concept art helps creators better understand the feelings, moods, and reasons for action and drama within a work. One perfect example awarded with "Excellence" here in is Austrailia artist Evan Shipard's Charge (below). As you one can see, this beautiful rendition of a battle, through dust and fog, shows men ready and willing to kill and die. Where is this, when is it, and who are they? These are all questions unanswered except by our imaginations...

    Evan Shipard, AUSTRALIA

    Next comes "Fantasy." A vivid collection of everything from settings and scenery to characters and battles are included here, giving readers a great variety. The next section, "Editorial Illustration" provides readers with a look at pieces which tell a story in the context of a publication (be it magazine, book, or newspaper). Be it comic art, humorous, adventurous, or somber, each piece here visually connects with viewers and relays a message or story. The next section is specifically "Humorous" and includes a variety of funny pieces which are sure to bring a smile (or sarcastic smirk) to one's face. Be it of flying pigs, a lute playing donkey, a wild grizzly bear with teddy bears, or a the "Master" level work featuring a warrior training a dragon (below), each hilariously shows an interesting character or situation.

    Training to Slay the Dragon
    Painter, Photoshop
    Jian Guo, CHINA

    The eight section in the book is "Environments" and, rightfully so, features an amazing number of settings pulled from the minds of the gifted artists who brought them to life. Be it a jungle wasteland, a mystical city in the clouds, or the Oceanside pier, each beautifully captures an environment. One such piece (below), features a gorgeous, unexplained and unknown landscape straight from Canadian artist Zhimin Wang's mind.

    Zhimin Wang, CANADA

    A natural follow-up to "Environments" is "Wildlife," which features abstract, cartoonish, and even photo-realistic styles of animals and wildlife. From bald eagles and lions to dogs and frogs, the "Wildlife" section, though one of the shortest in the book, is impressive none-the-less. The next section, "Still Life," features a finite variety of subject matters consisting of flowers and fruit. While limited in scope, the brilliant artwork is ever-present, as seen in American artist Dennis Orlando's Flowers in light and shadow (below).

    Flowers in light and shadow
    Dennis Orlando, USA

    The eleventh section in the book is "Transports" and, like "Still Life," is relatively short compared to most of the other sections. However, there's nothing quite like the majestic look of a Lamborghini or Ferrari or, even better, a fantastical motorbike, jet plane, or war truck ready for action. One of the most impressive pieces is the "Master" award winning Race time by American artist Wu-Huang Chin. Featuring impressive detail and some of the most intricate brush strokes imaginable, this is one piece that car lovers won't easily forget.

    Race time
    Wu-Huang Chin, USA

    The final section of the book is entitled "Abstract & Surreal" and it truly features many a surreal pieces of art. From a multi-handed man deep in thought and a squid-like creature holding a picture of the Virgin Mary to a "Modern Man" with gears and wires inside his head, each and every piece here tells an unusual story that only the artist might decipher. One such piece is Argentinan artist Hernán Cañellas' piece Brazo (below). The shattering man losing himself (to what?) reveals a story we might never fully understand or know...and yet our eyes are drawn to it still.

    Hernán Cañellas, ARGENTINA

    Overall, Painter: The World's Finest Painter Art features a more than generous serving of some of the finest digital artwork in the world. Be it fantasy, sci-fi, still life, wildlife, environments or any of the 12 categories feature here, this is one book that has them all for your visual treat.

    Painter: The World's Finest Painter Art is available now at and wherever fine books are sold.

    - Jess Horsley

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    "Until next time...have FUN with your figures!!"

    Jess C. Horsley

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