Sentury book cover
Great Sci-Fi art books
14 August 2007

There are actually not that many books about Sci-Fi art. Fantasy art seems to be much more popular, especially lately due to the LOTR movies. Looking at my art book shelfs I counted 48 books about Sci-Fi and Fantasy art. They are all great but some are better than others. Here I will list the ones which I think are excellent. They have all been a source of great inspiration to me.

Let's start with the visual futurist - the legendary concept designer and illustrator Syd Mead. He is probably best known for his Sci-Fi designs done for movies such as Blade Runner, Aliens, 2010, and Tron. His work is simply spectacular! Especially the environment and vehicle designs are phenomenal. I spend countless hours studying his work very closely and with great pleasure. His attention to detail and the ability to illustrate unique designs that flow in beautiful harmony with the environment is matched by few. Unfortunately all of his books are out of print, though used copies can be bought on Amazon or eBay. The following books are especially worth getting: Sentury, Oblagon, Kronoteko, and Kronovecta. These books are particularly valuable for sci-fi concept artists.

Next are the Star Wars art books. I have several of them and I browsed through many more at local book stores. There are primarily two Star Wars artists that I especially like: Ralph McQuarrie and Doug Chiang. Ralph McQuarrie worked on the older Star Wars movies and Doug Chiang on the recent ones. Both artists are fantastic in their own way. Doug for his fresh and new design ideas with incredible attention to detail and Ralph for creating much of the original look and feel of the first three Star Wars movies. The books I recommend are The Art of Star Wars, Episode I - The Phantom Menace by Jonathan Bresman, and The Art of Star Wars, Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back by Deborah Call.

Back in the late 1980s I had this habit of going to book stores just to look at book covers of Sci-Fi and Fantasy novels. In fact that's how I discovered and became a fan of Chris Moore, a British illustrator particularly known for his Sci-Fi work. He has created cover artwork for books written by many famous science fiction writers. What I especially like about Moore's Sci-Fi artwork are the vivid and beautiful colors, the composition and designs, and the captivating atmosphere. His recently published book Journeyman: The Art of Chris Moore by Stephen Gallagher is full of wonderful illustrations and also contains a long interview with the artist, which gives many unique insights into the life of a long time Sci-Fi illustrator.

Finally, there is the large book of Infinite Worlds: The Fantastic Visions of Science Fiction Art by Vincent Di Fate which contains 700 images of some of the best Sci-Fi book and magazine covers. It includes a brief history of the genre and short biographies of more than 100 artists. Although some artists are not included, like Chris Foss, this is possibly the best all-round resource for anybody interested in Sci-Fi art and the artists behind it. There are many hard to find images in this book. Making this book an even more valuable source on the fantastic worlds of Sci-Fi art.

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of Dawid Michalczyk.


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