2016: A year in sketchbooks
Artists seem to have abandoned the sketchbook format lately in favor of squarebound artbooks and that's kind of sad. I like artbooks as much as the next person, but whether they were stapled photocopies or more imaginatively designed books (like the latest Campbell offerings), classic sketchbooks had a more intimate feeling than what we got this year. It might well be a case of everybody being too busy to put out one this year (Adam Hughes said so, Campbell said there was more Ruff Stuff coming next year), so fingers crossed, we might go back to good old sketchbooks next year.
In any case, there was still some good stuff coming out, just nothing that guaranteed a solid monthly article … Let's take a look at my top 5 this year, shall we?
Artgerm's Superbelle Vol. 3
For the third year in a row, Artgerm has managed to put out a book full of amazing art covering everything from comic characters to videogames to anime. Certainly, one of the best looking books every year. Surprisingly, he still has some in stock!
Shaky Kane's [Street Pizza] Mona Lisa
A collection of Shaky Kane's commissions, concert posters or other crazy stuff he's working on. Limited to 200, this might not be easy to find, but if you like Shaky, then you are kinda forced to look for it. Cheer up, at least we are living a Shaky Kane Golden Age. (Also, if you are a Shaky fan, I hope you got The Last Driver published by Dead Canary Comics.) Here's a couple of pages from the sketchbook:
Mike Huddleston's Kintsugi Vol.1
After spending quite a few years working exclusively on The Strain it's nice to see Mike Huddleston's take on different characters. Take a look at the preview of a few pages and you will see why people say Huddleston is comics' best kept secret and an artist's artist. I hear he's got quite an exciting project coming up next year too!
Arthur Adams Sketchbook XIV
It's nice to see this comic legend sticking to self-publishing an (almost) annual sketchbook even though he's also publishing fancier artbooks. 14 books later and you just know he will keep surprising you with a variant you might have missed, an insane cover recreation (upgrade more like it) or some character designs. Even though I am missing the first three, the other 11 are a highlight of my collection that I enjoy revisiting every once in a while.
Jerome Opeña's Seven to Eternity Sketchbook
The surprise sketchbook of the year, page after page of character and world designs for the hit book of the end of 2016. If you are into Seven to Eternity, you should really take a look at this. If you aren't but like Opeña's art, even moreso.
So there wasn't much more than this in 2016 … Mark Brooks published a beautiful looking sketchbook too, which almost made the cut. Jason Pearson was supposed to publish one for his Body Bags Kickstarter but it's a bit late. In any case, here's looking to 2017 and the coming sketchbooks!!!!