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Battle Milk 2

01/03/2011. Contributed by Geoff Willmetts

Buy Battle Milk 2: Tangents And Transitions In Concept Art in the USA - or Buy Battle Milk 2: Tangents And Transitions In Concept Art in the UK

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Battle Milk 2: Tangents And Transitions In Concept Art. pub: Titan Books/Design Studio Press. 128 page horizontal softcover. Price: GBP 19.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-85768-109-6.

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Although I haven’t seen ‘Battle Milk 1’, the latest volume, sub-titled ‘Tangents And Transitions In Concept Art’, displays the work of six artists who were involved in the ‘Star Wars: The Clone Wars’ project but who are now doing their own thing. As such, this book offers insight into how each artist works with each one giving a detailed examination of how they put a picture together from thumbnail pencils, deciding what they need to use and then incorporating it into the final design. Interestingly, only one of them actually cites going digital, the others presumably using the more standard painting techniques.

Something that did strike me in the number of thumbnail sketches that they did was how much that differed from the amateur who might do at most a couple sketches before settling on the one to paint. Most of the time that’s largely because getting the line just right a second time is always a problem. I couldn’t help feel that the studio system where the pros have to convey what the director wants and do endless sketches multiple times that it tars their own design mechanism in that they have to grope for what they want rather than have a clear picture (sic) in their heads from the start. This is not to degrade the material that we have here. The end product clearly speaks for itself and there are some magnificent designs here as I hope the pictures displayed will show you.

The artists, who have a chapter each are Wayne Lo, David Le Merrer, Thang Le, Killian Plunkett, Le Tang and Jackson Sze. I should point out that Le Merrer is French and Plunkett is Irish, the others hail from America. Even so, it’s usual to have some an international mix.

The diversity of style and technique, not to mention subject matter varies considerably. Wayne Lo is very much into figure drawing and emoting his characters. David Le Merrer actually storyboards an entire story in immense detail that would make for an interesting animation short considering the amount of information he’s given here. Thang Le is the techno-buff. Killian Pluckett, amongst his other skills, shows a bit of kitbashing – that is making a model from parts of different model kits that really made me wonder why there aren’t any books on the subject as I’m sure anyone looking at the single model he built here would get the itch to try something similar. Oh, he’s very much a designer by the way with a bent for practicality. Le Tang is more storyboard until he turns around and utilises this skill to compose a blues band playing to a single listener. Jackson Sze is more the full-blown scenic painter, whether of a cityscape or a landscape.

Immerse yourself in all of these six artists works will no doubt give you some idea of your own preferences and each has their own website should you want to see more of their work. All artbooks are a learning experience and this one should keep you going.

The Titan Books flyer that came with this book indicates that there are several more books from Design Studio Press that they are releasing in the UK and that if this is the taster, then you’re in for a truly interesting artistic journey this year.
GF Willmetts

NB: All pictures shown are by permission of the publisher and
(c) Wayne Lo 2010
(c) Thang Le 2010
(c) Jackson Sze 2010 (last two)

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