Zombies Can’t Swim

We recently received our copy of Zombies Can’t Swim, a comic by Kim Herbst. Let’s be honest here. We have a bit of a thing for zombies at hai and we know that Kim has produced some interesting fantasy-based artwork, so we just had to get this!

There’s plenty of blood, gore and action, as you would expect, and the story is very well drawn. The use of two-colour printing works well – better than if Kim had gone for plain old monotone, as it makes the artwork so much clearer. The print and binding quality is very good, and it’s bound rather than stapled as it runs to 40 pages.

No storyline spoilers here I’m afraid, although suffice it to say that if you like the undead, Zombies Can’t Swim will make a fitting addition to your collection. Head on over to Kim’s Esty store to buy a copy. You know you want to – it’s a no-brainer!

Title: Zombies Can’t Swim
Author: Kim Herbst
Illustrator: Kim Herbst
Pages: 40

Gunther the Underwater Elephant

We’ve got lots of books that we’ve been meaning to post about for ages, but this one is especially overdue (sorry Ginger)! Written and illustrated by the very lovely Ginger Nielson, Gunther the Underwater Elephant is a charming story about a baby elephant (Gunther) who gets lost while swimming in the river with his family. He ends up having an adventure where he meets a surprising new friend who helps him to find his way home again, just in time to become the hero in a dramatic rescue! Colourfully illustrated throughout, this book would appeal to any animal-loving youngster and be a lovely book to share at story-times.

Gunther the Underwater Elephant is available to buy on Amazon.

Title: Gunther the Underwater Elephant
Author: Ginger Nielson
Illustrator: Ginger Nielson
Publisher: 4RV Publishing (2011)
ISBN: 978-0983274025
Pages: 27

Installing Exhibitions: A practical guide

Exhibiting your work is always exciting, but how do you know what the right way to display your artwork is? What fixings should you use? What’s the best way to light your work? How do you make a shelf for your 3-D pieces to stand on? Even if you have a professional gallery install and curate your art for you, it’s always handy to know how to the practical side of things work. And if you’re doing it all yourself, then it’s really important to know the best and safest way to do things. So, it’s time to look at another useful book from the hai bookshelf!

Installing Exhibitions: A practical guide, by Pete Smithson, does exactly what it says on the cover. If you want to know how to transport, fix, hang and display your prints, paintings, 3-D or audiovisual work, this book will give you the information you need. Pete Smithson is the Technical Manager for Fine Art at Central Saint Martins in London, so he definitely knows his stuff!

The book starts off by asking you to consider the space that you are using, then briefly talks about risk and health and safety issues (important as you will have people visiting your show). Next it looks at the tools you’ll need, how to prepare the space, and how to safely pack and move your work. There is plenty of information about different types of wall fixings plus a chapter on using rigging to suspend items. For 2-D artwork, there is advice on how to plan where to put the pieces so they look their best and how to hang different works. For those artists who create audiovisual art, there is a chapter that covers using projectors, video and audio, how to install the equipment and what to check to make sure it works.

If you fancy having a go at a bit of construction, this book will show you how to make various shelves and plinths. The final chapter looks at electrics (UK, Europe and North America), managing all those cables and using lighting. At the end of the book is a glossary and space to make notes.

This is a great book for anyone who exhibits their own or other people’s work at any level (or who is planning to). It’s totally hands-on and full of useful advice and plenty of diagrams. We recommend it!

Publishing info –
Title: Installing Exhibitions: A practical guide
Author: Pete Smithson
Publisher: A & C Black Publishers Ltd. (2009)
ISBN: 978-1-4081-1016-4

Nuts & Bolts: A blueprint for a successful illustration career

Time for another book review, one which I’ve been meaning to do for ages!

‘Nuts & Bolts: A blueprint for a successful illustration career’ is written by Charles Hively of the wonderful and highly regarded 3X3 magazine, 3X3 Annual and Creative Quarterly. Having worked extensively in advertising and design as an art director and creative director, in addition to having been an illustrator, Charles is ideally placed to pass on his extensive knowledge of the industry from both sides of the fence.

The book covers important areas such as treating illustration as a business, making a website work for you and maintaining visibility. The final section of the book consists of essential Do’s and Don’ts. Charles tells it straight throughout, no waffle, just good, solid advice from a man who really knows what he’s talking about.

This is, of course, a nicely laid out book, easy to read or flick through, and at 10 US dollars (8 GBP/9 EUR) buying it certainly won’t break the bank. Overall, a fantastic resource that is crammed full of common sense tips and vital information to help you succeed in your career. Definitely one to add to your book collection!

Publishing info –
Title: Nuts & Bolts: A blueprint for a successful illustration career
Author: Charles Hively
Publisher: 3X3 Magazine (2010)
ISBN: 978-0981940540

The Illustrator’s Guide to Law & Business Practice

Written by Simon Stern and published by the Association of Illustrators (AOI), The Illustrator’s Guide to Law & Business Practice is a great reference book for freelancers, agents and anyone else who needs to get their head around the minefield of business and legal issues relating to the UK illustration industry.

It contains lots of good, practical advice on everything from arranging contracts to copyright issues, bringing together a huge amount of important information in one place.

There is plenty of sound advice about pricing, negotiating with clients, licensing agreements, royalty payments and working with agents, plus a very handy ‘Terms of Trade’ contract that you can photocopy/scan and use yourself. We particularly liked the chapter on copyright which tells you what you need to know and where you (and other people) stand in nice simple terms.

As you would expect from an organisation like the AOI, The Illustrator’s Guide is nicely designed and contains fantastic artwork throughout. The book has been split into ‘Must read’, ‘Should read’ and ‘Read when needed’ sections, as well as providing a number of useful appendices. The chapters are very clearly laid out, making it easy to dip into the book as needed and Simon Stern has managed to write about a very difficult and dry subject in a way that makes it understandable and relevant. A must for any UK illustrator’s bookshelf!

You can buy a copy of the book here: The Illustrator’s Guide to Law and Business Practice (Association of Illustrators)

Publishing info –
Title: The Illustrator’s Guide to Law & Business Practice
Author: Simon Stern
Illustrator: Various
Publisher: The Association of Illustrators (2008)
ISBN: 978-0955807602

Welcome to Monster Isle (Raar!)

Well, it’s about time we started reviewing the books we have listed on the bookshelf. We’re kicking off with Welcome to Monster Isle, illustrated by Jeff Miracola and written by Oliver Chin. This is a fully illustrated children’s picture book and we have chosen it because a) we love Jeff Miracola’s artwork, b) it’s fun and c) Jeff is a good example of an artist with a very distinctive (and sometimes rather surreal) style who has successfully applied it to a number different markets.

Many people will be familiar with Jeff’s work, especially pieces such as ‘Asian Walker‘ and he has received recognition through features in numerous creative magazines, as well as working with a number of high profile clients. Jeff has created artwork for a wide range of markets, from Magic: the Gathering game cards to conceptual designs for Hasbro; from video game graphics (EA) to editorial illustration.

Welcome to Monster Isle is Jeff’s first children’s book and is aimed at the 4 to 8 year age range. It is a story of a family who find themselves facing a hoard of monsters on a deserted island and Jeff has applied his unique style and character design skills to every page of the book.

The page layouts utilize different perspectives and colours that should appeal to both parents and children and there are some nice little details to look out for in each illustration, too. Above all else, the pictures tell the story on their own, so a child looking through the book on his or her own could pretty much follow the tale based on the pictures alone, without being able to read the text.

All in all, this is a lovely little book to own and enjoy as a fan of Jeff’s work, and you’ll appreciate it even more if you have a small person to share it with!

Publishing info –
Title: Welcome to Monster Isle
Author: Oliver Chin
Illustrator: Jeff Miracola
Publisher: Immedium, Inc. (2008)
ISBN: 978-1597020169

Look out for Jeff’s second children’s book due out in early 2011!

See more about the book on Jeff’s website: www.jeffmiracola.com