Ballistic Publishing's d'artiste Fashion Design

March 12, 2012 1:10 am

Tags: Ballistic Publishing, Book Review

Ballistic Publishing: d'artiste Fashion Design

"I wanted to create something that would teach people how they could design great outfits for their characters. I was looking for a way to show people how to create better results with their work. d'artiste Fashion Design closes the gap between character and fashion design."
-Anne Pogoda, contributing editor/digital artist

Bal_Cover_Small.jpgPublication details:
• Soft Cover ISBN 978-1-921828-10-2
• Limited Edition ISBN 978-1-921828-11-9
• Pages: 192 pages (Slipcase and Limited Edition)
• Dimensions: 220 x 297mm (9.7" x 11.7")
• Editor/Publisher: Daniel Wade

Costume design was always one of the most interesting subjects to me when I was in college and studying for my theater degree a thousand years ago. Required to train in all aspects of theater arts, I was initially skeptical about the costume shop, but once I began to work with several very talented and inspiring designers at the university, I found myself enjoying the afternoons spent cutting out patterns, stitching fabric and helping dress the actors. From this experience, I developed a very healthy respect for costume, and as an actor, took special interest in my own costume. Even today, I pay attention to design in costume and fashion in practically any play or film I see.

So, imagine my delight when Ballistic Publishing sent me their newest book in their "Digital Artists Master Class" series with its focus on Fashion Design. In addition to covering a special interest of my own, the subject is a refreshing advance in the series, which had previously focused on character modeling, matte painting, concept art and digital art. d'artiste Fashion Design is the 10th in the d'artiste series, following the superb d'artiste: Character Design volume published just under a year ago (see my Renderosity review here).


The focus of the d'artiste series is primarily on tutorials presented by recognized masters in a specific area of digital art. However, the style of the tutorials in the d'artiste series is a bit different than the somewhat dry tone you find in many tutorial books, and instead "starts with the idea and steps through the process of bringing the idea to fruition," which makes the d'artiste style of tutorials easier to follow and more interesting overall. Another reason why the entire d'artiste series succeeds so well is that it's the closest thing to sitting next to the teacher while she works through her project. The tone is basically informal, but the focus is always on finding the best way to express a particular look or style. And this translates into a much more involving tutorial. And, of course, the results of each project speaks for themselves when you look at what the master artists have created.

From left to right: Alessia Zambonin, Annie Stegg and Lois van Baarle

d'artiste: Fashion Design features four Master Artists: Alessia Zambonin, Lois van Baarle, Annie Stegg and Anne Pogoda. Each artist takes the reader through a complete project, from first sketch to final design. Almost all of the projects use Photoshop and/or Painter, plus some traditional art tools to realize the design idea. The complete list of tutorials for each artist are:

  • Alessia Zambonin
    Figure Proportion and Fabric Rendering; Full Figure: Body and Background Design
  • Annie Stegg (with Anne Pagoda)
    Collaborating with Another Artist: Smoker, Collaborating with Another Artist: Blue
  • Lois Van Baarle
    Full-body Portrait: Shape, Movement and Silhouette; Exotic Portrait: Makeup and Accessories; Simple Backgrounds: Finishing with Style.

You'll also find a short bio of each artist, a full gallery of their work and ideas, plus an extensive selection of "invited artists" hand-picked by each Master Artist at the end of each section. I was particularly taken by this last section because the selected artists contrast and extend the work of the Master Artist so beautifully.

Final illustration "Blue" by Annie Stegg and Anne Pagoda

The book is so full of helpful and inspiring work that it really isn't possible to pick a favorite section. However, Annie Stegg's "Collaborating with Another Artist: Blue" section stayed with me long after I had put the book down. While it's not as in-depth as some other tutorials, there's something about the idea of "rescuing a concept by merging it with another," and how Annie and Ms. Pagoda (her collaborator) work together that is very inspiring. And the final result is gorgeous (see picture above).

The layout, as usual with Ballistic Publishing, is fantastic. Each section is easy to follow and filled with vibrant colors. Even the example illustrations are cool. Ballistic puts so much energy into making their books look their best, that it's easy to forget just how much work goes into designing a book like this. The book is just the right size (9.7" x 11.7"), comes in a strong slip-case and is easy to lay flat when you are trying to follow the tutorials on your own computer. Everbest Printing in China produces the actual book according to Ballistic design choices. A quick visit to their site shows you why Ballistic chose them to print their books. They do amazing work.

Dia de los Muertos by Daniela Uhlig, Germany

d'artiste Fashion Design is a fabulous book. One of the best in the series, in my opinion. Every digital artist should have the book as part of their permanent collection.

d'artiste Fashion Design is available in paperback (with slip-case) for $75 (USD) and in a Limited Edition hardback for $170. You can order direct from Ballistic at their home page. Look for special discounts if you order this book along with their previous book d'artiste Character Design.

Ballistic also has a very cool (but small) version of the entire book at their site. You can flip through every page to get an idea of how the book is laid out and what kind of illustrations/pictures are featured. It's a great way to get a look at the contents of this very unique digital art book.

From The Art of God of War 3: "Mount Olympus Exterior" by Jung Park

Also, Spend time looking through the incredible catalog at the Ballistic website. Their recent publication of The Art of God of War 3, which is part of their "Art of the Game" series, is a knock-out. 272 pages of environmental art, character designs, storyboards and 3D models for a remarkably brutal and beautiful looking game.

Ballistic partnered up with Sony Computer Entertainment LLC and Santa Monica Studio to present the artists who created God of War 3. Each featured artist "tells you what they were thinking as they created individual characters or environments, and what the constraints were within the gameplay or continuity with previous God of War games." In addition to stunning artwork, The Art of God of War 3 also gives the reader a unique perspective on "the skills and thinking that goes into a major game production."

You can find complete information on The Art of God of War 3 at the Ballistic website.


From the publishers notes at the beginning of the book, it appears that d'artiste Fashion Design is the last book Daniel Wade and Daniel Cox will be a part of at Ballistic Publishing. I'd like to extend my thanks for their incredible work at Ballistic and wish them the best.

I'd also like to extend my thanks to Ballistic for making this remarkable book available for review.

For more info, please visit:

Ricky Grove [gToon], Staff Columnist with the Renderosity Front Page News. Ricky Grove is a bookstore clerk at the best bookstore in Los Angeles, the Iliad Bookshop. He's also an actor and machinima filmmaker. He lives with author, Lisa Morton, and three very individual cats. Ricky is into Hong Kong films, FPS shooters, experimental anything and reading, reading, reading. You can catch his blog here.




March 12, 2012

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