There's another artbook series series in town, published by Udon Studios. APPLE!
Apparently, the ongoing APPLE anthology, a.k.a. “A Place for People who Love Entertainment”, is an art/comic book in the same vein as the ROBOT artbooks. The point of these pricey tomes is to showcase the talents of the best, and brightest illustrators and graphic artists around Asia (mostly Korea and Japan).
The interesting about APPLE though is that the talent pool will be derived solely from Korea.
Most of the guys (and gals?) involved with this this project are the artists behind some of Korea's most popular Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games.
Seoul Visual Works partnered with Udon to make this dream come true. Founder Eddie Yu has this to say about the project:
“They want to create something more personal and subjective. APPLE is a showcase for those illustrators and their personal creations...
...APPLE isn't a big budget project but the creators are happy to contribute to a worthwhile project, one in which they can see what other artists are up to, learn from them, and study the current trends.”
And don't they look purty? Honestly, despite typing out the distinctions between manga and manhwa months ago, I am unable to really articulate the difference about the two styles. But there is something... judging by these previews. Whereas in the Philippines, wannabe Filipino artists have managed to create a very distinct look with their works (most notably characters having tanner skin tones), I just can't tell, but for some reason, I love these preview shots from the book.
The only bad thing about these books is that they never come cheap. $35.00 is still a lot of money. Time to break the bank again...
Check out: http://www.udonentertainment.com/apple/
The Koreans have gained notoriety as some of the most skilled illustrators in the world, thanks to their works in video games, artbooks, and even animation. This line of artbooks will only solidify the Koreans grip on the young, unsuspecting artists. Outsourcing is awesome!!! *Sigh*
However, lets look back at the amazing ROBOT series, and see the roots of this project, and what all the fuss is about.
The hook of ROBOT was always to the disturbing mix of really nifty looking anime artwork with the European style of coloring/graphics, coupled with the visual and storytelling abilities of Japanese manga.
I just don't know. In the comic world, (probably more popular in Europe) there is something known as the "painted comics". Painted comics are literally just that, every panel, every frame is painstakingly painted and detailed to such a level that a page looks almost like a work of art. The Blacksad and Hipflask comic series are what comes to mind when I say this.
But when you throw in that style to anime? I don't know, there is that magic in it that makes it look even more dreamlike. Yoshitoshi ABE, one of the regular contributors of ROBOT, manages to pull this off quite well. His series has achieved quite a bit of fame from readers of the books.
Another highlight of the books is the work of Imperial Boy (image above), and how he paints these massive worlds, and crams it with unimaginable detail. And what's crazier is that with one page you would have this view of the overall world. The next page would be a "section" of that world, like a cramped walkway or something. He really wants to capture the feel of a crazy world, and he does it quite well. It's weird, but its great.
The books has a fair amount of the fan service stuff, which is probably why they've got the Mature rating, but hey, if it sells right? It's also got these impossibly cute stuff in it, with some rather disturbing twists (The story involving a bird and a girl is what springs to mind). The only problem I got with ROBOT is its translations can be a little funky, and some of the stories don't make a good deal of sense. Oh well. I'm in it mostly for the art anyway.
Good day to you!