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Structura 2: The Art Of Sparth

01/03/2012. Contributed by Geoff Willmetts

Buy Structura 2: The Art Of Sparth in the USA - or Buy Structura 2: The Art Of Sparth in the UK

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pub: Titan Books/Design Studio Press. 159 page illustrated horizontal softcover. Price: GBP 19.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-78116-013-8).

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I reviewed ‘Structura’ two years ago and now Sparth, aka Nicolas Bouvier, has surprised even himself by having enough material to yield a second book. Considering the first book came from a decade of work, I can understand his reticence. However, here Sparth has made great in-roads into book covers, some of which I recognise because I’ve reviewed some of the books they encase. There is also material from the ‘Halo’ brand that he still illustrates for Microsoft.

I commented with my last review that Sparth relies a lot on earth colours – the browns and greens – in his work. This time there are also a lot more blues as well. The opening massive first chapter is predominately that of spaceports, spacecraft in atmosphere and landscape with little in the way of people art. When there is, as with the cover, I tend to think they are there to give some idea of the scale his spacecraft actually are. Bigger is better. They have an odd sleekness coupled with detail in the right places so you know they can fly. I mentioned the John Berkey influence last time and I think you can definitely see a touch of Chris Foss in the scale this time as well.

The fourth chapter has Sparth explaining and showing with pictures how he designed four of his pictures, including the one on the cover using Photoshop. Occasionally, he references tools he made specifically for particular jobs. I think the best tip in the book was that if you’re going to create a floor pattern, like on the cover picture, is to use a polka dot pattern and then distort to give it perspective. Although I’m not sure if his advice will have you painting digitally like him, you will learn his approach and not to get so caught up in the detail that you can’t let the reader’s own mind make up what he or she is seeing.

This is a neat book and don’t be put off by its size because it’s rare for the pictures to extend across the crease in the book and the eye encapsulates the whole picture. You would want to visit the places that he paints. A definite delight.

GF Willmetts

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This book has 77 votes in the sci-fi charts

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