Monday, November 14, 2011

10 Holiday Gift Ideas for 2011

Already time to start holiday shopping? Here are ten art-centric ideas for you.

by Richard Dawkins / Illustrated by Dave McKean
(The Free Press)

This book's a welcome sight in a time when science takes a daily beating from dogma and delusions. The blurb on the back says it all: "THE MAGIC OF REALITY provides a beautiful, accessible and wide-ranging volume that addresses the questions that all of us have about the universe, separating often too-little-known facts from too-frequently-believed fictions." Can we please make this book required reading in elementary schools? (Note: US print cover differs from above.)

by Sterling Hundley
(Adhouse Books)

Sterling Hundley has created some of my favorite illustrations in recent years. This is his first art book. It's a compact little volume -- 6.25" x 9.25" -- and yet the artwork doesn't suffer from scale but feels all the more personal because of it. Nice job by Adhouse Books, especially with the little process booklet inserts containing Hundley's thoughts on making art and being an artist. Inspiring.

by James Jean
(Chronicle Books)

Is it any surprise that a James Jean art book produced by Chronicle Books is one of the most beautiful volumes of 2011?

by Fred Taraba
(Illustrated Press)

Traci, if you're reading this -- I want this book for Christmas. Joe DeMers, Franklin Booth, Robert Fawcett, Andrew Loomis, Coles Phillips, Jon Whitcomb, Coby Whitmore -- those are only a few that caught my eye when I saw this book at a con. Not just another big book of pictures, it's an intensive discussion about these vintage masters' working processes. Yes, please.

3-day membership to Spectrum Fantastic Art Live!

If you know anyone who doesn't know the Spectrum Annuals, please wake them from their 18-year nap. Spectrum collects a yearly survey of some of the best art in books, comics, concept art, and more. For the first time, the editors of the Spectrum Annual are organizing Spectrum Fantastic Art Live!, a three-day convention event celebrating the best in fantastic art. It happens in Kansas City next May. Artists from around the globe will be attending to display, sell, create, discuss and marinate in all things drawn, painted, sculpted and otherwise, both traditionally and digitally. Three-day memberships cost a fan-friendly price of $40 right now.

Squid Ornaments
by Tom Taggart

What says 'home for the holidays' more than squid? Nothing. Tom Taggart's an artist and object-maker, and he's terrific. My wife proudly displays a Tom Taggart Pumpkinhead ornament when Fall arrives. This holiday season, Tom has unleashed new hand-crafted Squid Ornaments. They're made of durable cold cast resin, spun-cast to be hollow and lightweight, hand-painted in acrylics, and sealed with spray varnish.

Tom says he'll have the ornaments up on his Etsy shop page within a week or so. Until then, you can order direct from him. They're $45.00 each plus $5.00 shipping. And he takes Paypal. Inquire at

Alien Menagerie Original Art
by Bruce Jensen

For my money, Bruce has always been one of the most provocative American sf artists. Remember his classic Del Rey cover for Philip K. Dick's DO ANDROIDS DREAM OF ELECTRIC SHEEP? His cover art is cerebral, memorable and always resonant. It's impressive to see the latest wave of his work -- an ongoing series called "Alien Menagerie" -- which is decidedly whimsical, but just as memorable as ever. Own an "Alien Menagerie" original (acrylics on Rives BFK, 8"x10") for around $100 plus shipping. And in a ridiculous stroke of genius, Bruce is offering 3"x3" original acrylics on Post-It Notes for around $10 plus shipping. Get both here.

by Karen Haber

MASTERS is a fantastic art book edited by art critic and reviewer Karen Haber. There seemed to be almost no marketing/advertising for it so a lot of aficionados may be surprised to know it exists. I love books like this -- contains full-color galleries, interviews and art tips from 28 leading sf/f/ art professionals including Donato Giancola, Gregory Manchess, Dave Seeley, Brom, Bob Eggleton, Todd Lockwood, Bruce Jensen and more. Two notable things about this artbook -- unlike similar US or UK-produced volumes, this one includes a worldwide gamut of artists (i.e. not just US and UK artists) such as Shaun Tan, Pavel Mikhailenko, Tomasz Maronski, Marta Dahlig and more. And the jacket folds into a full color poster containing imagery from all of the book's featured artists. (Yup -- that cover art is by me and I'm one of the 28 featured artists too.)

2012 George R.R. Martin / A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE Calendar
Illustrated by John Picacio

I couldn't resist including this one for the George R. R. Martin / ASoIaF / GAME OF THRONES fans out there. This calendar is twelve months of my artwork inspired by George R. R. Martin's epic A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE novels. And yes -- the calendar has been selling like hotcakes since it debuted in July. As with most collectible calendars, once January 1st arrives, it'll be out-of-print and hard-to-find. Get 'em before they're gone. :)

2012 Literary Pin-Up Calendar
by Lee Moyer

And for those that want fantasies of a more female persuasion, Lee Moyer has twelve answers for you for 2012. These are available from Patrick Rothfuss' The Tinker's Packs.

Standard calendars are $20. A signed, limited edition is also available at $75. Sales of the calendar benefits funding of the Heifer International organization.