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Imago by Jim Burns

01/08/2005. Contributed by Geoff Willmetts

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pub: Titan Books. 80 page hardback. Price: 12.99 (UK). ISBN: 1-84576-133-2.

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For those acquainted with Jim Burns' other two books 'Lightship' and 'Transluminal', will be delighted that there is now a third book of his artwork out. This one, however, centres a lot more on his sketch and design work that leads up to most of his early paintings. Even more significantly, this is practically a cheesecake book which should delight his male fans with significantly more exposed flesh than most artbooks. The fact that Burns produces photogenic flesh makes it stand out even more. Ladies, he does a nice fella as well and aliens are going to love what he does to other extra-terrestrial life-forms but cheesecake really abounds here.

At the back of the book, there are thumbnails of the 29 book covers where the enlargements are used in the main body of the book. Granted it was nice to see the detail close-up and some of the paintings have appeared in the earlier books but there are several new ones as well. I think a lot of fans would have liked to see them a little larger and certainly for the newer fans having difficulty getting his earlier work.

Saying that, I suspect this book is really targeted at fans who want to study Burns' technique. Looking at all the pencil roughs in this book, I have to say that this is a delight to savour over.

There is far more emphasis on the art than text other than Rick Berry's intro and Jim Burns' autobiographical notes and family snaps. Then again, there's always a fine balance to how much text you should have to artwork. The emphasis might be on the latter but it does so in spades and at a price you can afford. Whether you'll come away from this book with the ability to draw or paint like Jim Burns is debatable but that will no doubt have to wait until some publisher decides to do his masterclass art technique book. Anyway, this is a nice book that will look impressive on any coffee table on a boy's rainy night in with something to look over.

GF Willmetts

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