Kazuaki – Kazuaki Artworks

Last week I was having an artbook lust… it’s a once-a-year affliction where I want buy pretty, pretty artbooks to add to my collection. Promised a friend that I’d write a review once the artbooks arrived, and I thought, rather than posting this to my private journal, I might as well post the review here… who knows, someone out there might be interested. Said friend’s blog is here. She’s been reviewing artbooks lately (because I kept pestering her to), so who knows, maybe something interesting will catch your eye. (…that’s actually a pretty bizarre phrase, but I’ll stop rambling now…)

So, details:

Kazuaki Artworks
Author: Kazuaki
Format: Softcover, 11.7 in x 8.3 in
ISBN: 9784860720766
Publisher: © Mandarake Publishing, 07/30/2010
264 pages, full color, 2800yen (without tax)
Japanese text

Do pardon the picture quality. No scanner so I just have to make do with my camera.

The Merchant of Time

First off… see the “264 pages” part? …the book is thick and HEAVY. …such that the shipping cost was painful *sob* When I got the artbook lust, I asked my friends to recommend me pretty artbooks. This was one of the recommendations, and while in a glance the style’s not to my taste, I thought, well, why not… who knew, I thought I might like it after all. In terms of value for money… this artbook is definitely worth it. I bought another artbook which was more expensive and has less than half the number of pages of this artbook… (will be reviewing that one next).

Starry Sky

For people playing otome games, Kazuaki-sensei was the one who did the illustrations for the Starry Sky series (which is my only exposure to Kazuaki-sensei). However, Starry Sky illustrations only made up a small portion of the content. This blog entry has a good list of what’s in the artbook. Although… the fanarts for Lamento, Persona etc… there aren’t many of them. In fact, the fanart for Vocaloid and Durarara didn’t even get a page to itself. I thought it was rather unfortunate… I have no clue who the characters in most of the illustrations were, so I’d look at them and admire the prettiness, but don’t feel any fondness for the characters themselves.

Lens and Diabolism

In terms of details, this is certainly one illustrator where the attention to details was superb. *points to picture on the right* Note the coat pattern, the hilt of the swords and the pattern on the soles of the boots… I know picture quality’s not good, but if you look at the first picture on top of this entry, the object(?) in front of the girl was drawn in detail. Clothes were also drawn in detail, although since most of the characters were wearing modern clothes it doesn’t really show. …wished there was more Victorian dress or something, because I bet the lace and frills would look awesome. But hey, even modern clothes looked awesome *points at The Merchant of Time picture above*

Colouring, I think, is the most unique aspect of the drawings. I read elsewhere of the colouring style being described as ‘organic’, and I agree. It’s very fluid, and gave me the feeling that the colours on the page were washing over each other. …that might not be the best way to describe it, but well… One thing I noticed, eye colours tend to be… multi-coloured. You don’t just get 1 colour is gradation and shading… for some reason I found it unsettling, but maybe that’s just me. Another thing which I can’t get used to is the absence of black lines. It gives the illustration its sense of fluidity, but personally I’m more used to illustrations with more line contrast…

Shading is very soft, as can be seen. It also gave the illustrations a very soft and dreamy kind of look, which, again, depending on your taste…
Of note, backgrounds tends to be unnoticeable. …I think? I only flipped through the artbook twice… Unnoticeable as in, most of the time you get splatters or explosions of colours, but not an actual scenery. Definitely not a question of skill, since that Starry Sky picture was impressive in its details. For drawings with some items in the background, the items were drawn in detail, but the colouring made them… I dunno, something like blurring into the distance. But I’m not sure if this was just because  that’s what would be suitable for the drawing… I know with some drawings, having a detailed background would take away the attention from the main object. To colour them such that it’d be less noticeable…

sketch

Layout was quite balanced. You’d get pages where it’s just characters on white background, or a small illustrations which takes up less than 50% of the page (would had fit 2 illustrations on the page) or a small sketch in the middle of a whole blank page… but then, there were quite a number of full-colour pages and full-colour 2-pages as well. Quite a number of illustrations with white borders as well, but overall the content balance was good, so it didn’t feel like you’re getting cheated when it comes to value-for-money.

Personal opinion… while the book as a whole isn’t something I ended up liking, it’s an artbook that’s worth the money. I have mixed feeling about this book… some of the full-colour 2-page spread I didn’t like because it felt ‘noisy’ to me, while a drawing like the one to the right impressed me with its simplicity, proportion, angle and everything else (down to the bicycle’s details). I’m a bit bummed that while it’s an excellent artbook, it’s just not my taste… tried really hard to like it and declare it a keeper, but I think I’d sell it, assuming I can get a good price for it. …any offer? Sold! 😀

Where to buy: Akadot Retail, beNippon, HMV, Play-Asia, YesAsia. (bought mine off HMV)

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Sakura_hikizaki
    Oct 10, 2010 @ 11:35:07

    Sooo lucky!! There are soo beautiful!! 😀 I would spend hours staring and going “ooh” “aahh” ^^

    Reply

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About…

Just an otome game fan. ...who spends a lot of weekends playing otome games on PC with a Japanese dictionary propped open on her lap.
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