The Artist Within (Dark Horse)

Artist Within

Rating: 5/5 – An inside glimpse into some major creator’s homes and studios.
by ComicSpectrum reviewer Shawn Hoklas

Dark Horse has released some great books outside the realm of straight comics, and The Artist Within is no exception.  Originally released in 2007, The Artist Within takes a simple idea, and through the use of photography gives us an insiders glimpse into some of the comics industries biggest and brightest talent’s studios and workspaces.  I enjoyed so much of what this book has to offer and its something that I know I’ll go back to for future reference and readings.

Photographer Greg Preston spent more than fifteen years photographing over one hundred creators, artists, animators, etc. in their homes and/or studios. The book, of course, starts with Jack Kirby.  It’s a wonderful photograph that has Jack standing over his drawing board, with a freshly penciled page at the forefront.  Behind him are awards, photographs and what look to be mementos carrying a special meaning to the “King” of comics.  It’s just one amazing photo that’s followed by so many, many more.  Whether it’s Sergio Aragones cluttered studio with a collection of Donald Duck items, or Jim Starlin’s cozy, but small studio that looks as though it couldn’t possibly hold his lengthy frame, each photograph tells us quite a bit about the creator and their process.

Next to each photograph is a text piece that describes the creator’s work with a brief bio.  Although these text pieces are short, it’s in balance and deference to the photograph.  It’s short, because it shouldn’t take away from what us as a viewer should take from the photo.  As I went through the book, at first I would have loved to have seen a bit more text in regards to why they chose the space, or why the space looks the way it does.  But as I got halfway through, I enjoyed not knowing the why, and ultimately enjoyed trying to think of the reasons why based on my viewing or reading of their past works.  This book really is a must own if you’re interested in the creators involved, the creation process, or just some great yet simple (in the best way) photography.  This book continues to impress me well after my first reading.  It will also be a great book to bring along to conventions for autographs with the creators!  I know there will be plenty more readings in the future.

Reviewed by: Shawn Hoklas
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