Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Inside Artbooks #1 - 'Luminous Art'

As an aspiring artist and keen gamer, it's perhaps not surprising that I'm mad for videogame art and maybe even less surprising that I enjoy hunting out artbooks for my bookshelf. I sometimes don't think that aspects like art and music get the recognition they deserve in gaming (it's usually all about the gameplay) so now that I'm already covering videogame music on this blog, I decided it was time to start spreading the love for videogame artbooks.

First up is the 'Luminous Art' artbook produced as a pre-order bonus for the US release of Luminous Arc 2 on the Nintendo DS. The book also includes artwork from the original Luminous Arc since there was no book made available for that game. Naturally - being a pre-order bonus - this book isn't the kind of hulking tome you'd expect to hold in your hands if you'd purchased a standalone, dedicated artbook so the page count only weighs in at 60. However, there isn't another Luminous Arc artbook that I currently know of and this is a pretty nice pre-order bonus for what it is. It's also worth mentioning that this wasn't made available in Europe so I've had to grab my copy from the States via ebay.

The paper quality is actually quite nice. The covers have a strange textured feel to them, almost like thick watercolour paper. Below, I'll share some of the interior contents...(click the images to make them bigger of course)

The artwork is all by Kaito Shibano, not somebody I am overly familiar with if I'm being honest. I will also admit that I'm probably less a fan of anime-styled art than I used to be but I still really like the contents of this book since I was a big fan of the games.

Most of the pages will show a character's artwork with some rough sketches to the right, a description of the character and a short piece of commentary from Mr Shibano.

This wouldn't be a book based on a Japanese game without the female characters having an extra category of measurement in their profile would it now? Having looked through all of this book, I can confidently say that I think some of these specific statistics are a little conservative!

Then we have the original Luminous Arc section, opening with some promo/boxart images.

There's noticeably less detail and material for this section of the book which is a shame. It almost feels like the art for the first game was bolted on to fill out a few more pages.

Overall, this is a nice book but it's far from complete. Several characters and variant outfits from across both games are notably absent and there's probably tonnes of rough work that wasn't included. If there is a 'proper' full size retail book that collects more than this together then I'd certainly like to know about it but for now, Luminous Art is a decent reference guide and perfect fodder for the artbook shelf. My only advice would be to not pay too much for a copy if you are interested in this book.

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