Book review - the new Illustration publication from Art, Design and Photography publishers TASCHEN
The name TASCHEN will be instantly recognisable to anyone with an interest in art, design or photography publications. If you’re an illustrator or designer I’d be willing to bet there’s a book or two from this distinguished publisher in your bookcase. Their growing collection of Illustration Now! books will be of special interest to Ammo readers.
100 Illustrators is their latest illustration title and features artists selected from the Illustration Now! books.
The first thing to note is that this new publication is actually split across two volumes that are encased in a card slipcase. If you receive the books via post as I did be prepared as you’re handed the package – at a combined total of 640 pages it’s a weighty publication! The books are bound in hardcovers that are covered with the individual self portraits of each artist featured within. The slipcase cover (also featuring the profile illustrations) adds a special finishing touch to the entire package.
In total the double volumes feature 100 contemporary illustrators chosen by Editors Steve Heller and Julius Weidemann. Together they’ve managed to select just 100 artists from over 600 who have appeared in the Illustration Now! series. It’s a task that must have been incredibly difficult and having experienced the pain (on a much smaller scale!) of leaving out talented artists due to lack of space it’s something I’ve felt with each and every issue of Ammo.
David Bowie, 2004 – Jody Hewgill, Rolling Stone magazine; acrylic on gessoed ragboard / Desolate Night, Hell’s Kitchen, 2011- Jeremyville, Personal work; pen and screen printing.
Crème de la crème
The introductions at the front of book 1 and descriptions of each artist are written in English, French and German. Primarily a way of encouraging sales in a large variety of countries I’m sure, but also an indication of the scale and scope that contemporary illustration has today. It also reflects the wide variety of worldwide locations in which the artists showcased within are based.
After relatively short introductions from the editors the book launches into artist profiles for the 100 illustrators. In fact the second volume is entirely made up of artist profiles.
Each artist is given a generous amount of space (6 pages) to showcase a range of artwork. Their profile illustrations are accompanied by birthplace and current location information alongside their main website address. A few small paragraphs give insight into the artists backgrounds and provide some context for their artworks. Lists featuring selected exhibitions and publications are also included. A short quote from the artists accompanies their profile (also translated into French and German).
I like the fact that the profile information for each artist is relatively short, not through laziness but because my current ‘reading list’ far outweighs the time I have to read. Some may not like this approach and may wish for a more in-depth look at each artist. I don’t feel it’s a huge problem though as you can easily find more information on selected artists via their respective websites.
The books have a solid, high quality feel (as you expect from a publisher like TASCHEN) and the print quality is perfect. The hardcovers are slightly textured and the internal pages reproduce the artwork very clearly. Inside the book I’ve discovered a huge range of brilliant artists many of which I hadn’t been aware of before. It always surprises me that there are so many gifted artists out there. Even after years of viewing portfolios I’m still being impressed by new illustrators on a daily basis.
Should you buy this book?
I’ve been collecting illustration books and various other printed publications for many years now. My bookcase is filled with illustration, design, photography and architecture books (although not strictly limited to these!) from both large and small publishers so I was already pretty sure I’d love the latest from TASCHEN especially given the quality of the previous books and the current titles theme.
Surprisingly for a double volume 100 Illustrators only costs £34.99! Not bad at all considering that’s what most books half the size would usually cost. So yes, I’d definitely recommend buying this book. It’s packed with amazingly talented illustrators and I feel it’s great value for money too.
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