Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Star Wars Visions Review

Front Cover: Regrets by Masey
Star Wars is really for all ages isn't it? The action is great, the films have beautiful special effects and the characters are larger than life- and yet at the same time, the fiction is so deep and winding and intricate that entire library's have been written expanding upon it. Star Wars Visions is not one of those books though.What it is is a collection of artwork, paintings, and drawings, by some of today's best (and a few of the newest) artists.

Some of them are fun, some are emotional, some are action packed- all of them are unique depictions of one of the best known and most loved saga's of all time.

Intro Page by Editor J. W. Rinzler
One of the first things you'll notice about the book when you crack it open is the nice heavy stock that it's printed on. It feels like something substantial. Publisher Abrams is certainly no stranger to tomes of artwork and it shows here.

Right from the Forward by George Lucas and through to the end, you will see Star Wars in a different light- I can almost guarantee it. Some of this stuff is very new for the franchise.

It ranges from work by comic book painter Alex Ross to manga artist Mikimoto and everywhere in between, including more then a few classically inspired pieces that look like they would be right at home hanging from the walls of a medieval castle- or maybe an Imperial Baron's fortress on Neimoidia.
-Just a slight warning here, although it's extremely tasteful, some of the pictures aren't really appropriate for the younger SW fanbase. Not that there's anything really objectionable either... lets just say there's a classically influenced depiction of a certain Twi' Lek Jedi taking a nap. *ahem*

Artists Biography's and Statements
Okay, back to the review: Clocking in at 175 pages Visions is no lightweight. After the first few sections, you'll get into the meat of the book, the artwork. As mentioned, it's an excellent cross section of artists, a large chunk of whom will definitely be familiar with though you may not readily associate with Star Wars. After that there's a healthy section of artists bio's, some of which lightly detail the ideas behind their work.

It's a really enjoyable read through that does flesh things out a bit. The only disappointment here is that not every artist goes into that much depth and some of them don't have anything to say at all. I know it's not the words that are of the greatest import in an art book but still... having a 'backstage' view of what the thought process was behind some of the paintings was a really great idea and lets you into the artists' thoughts a bit. I can't help but have wanted it to be more thorough and a little longer.

With an amazing roster of artists producing an eye-popping array of work, Star Wars Visions didn't really have much of a chance to fail. It's a great book that I only wish was a little longer. And if that's the best I can do as a negative, then I'd have to say I'm pretty happy with it.

Overall, it's an excellent art book that Star Wars fans will really enjoy. I know I did.


Shown below are some of my favorites from the book, sleeping Aayla excluded. Honestly though, my camera doesn't do them justice and there are a ton more great works in Visions- just go get the book.

Empire of Style by Alex Ross

Portrait of Darth Vader by Steven J. Levin

Hoth Snow Battle (The Empire Strikes the Rebel Stronghold) by Jason Askew
On The Hunt by Ann Hanson