Friday, December 16, 2011

Holiday Gift Guide: Illustration Now 4 and Illustration Now: Portraits edited by Julius Wiedermann

Illustration Now 4 and Illustration Now: Portraits, both published by Taschen and edited by Julius Wiedermann, showcase some of the best and the brightest in contemporary illustration.

Often as fascinating as the illustrations themselves is the variety of media with which they are produced. It’s interesting to note that 15 years ago -- perhaps even 10 -- it would not have been necessary to specify a piece of art as a “hand drawing.” But with so many up-and-comers out there these days there are almost as many ways to produce art as there are artists. The full range is represented here from pencil to 3-D to digital and lots of combinations of all.

It can be difficult to talk about books like this as there is almost an overload of stimulation. With page after page of different illustrations and artists it can be overwhelming. But that’s what these books do best: overwhelm. In the best way possible. Everywhere you look another brilliant visual in an unexpected medium by a talented individual. Illustration Now 4 and Illustration Now: Portraits are books you will come back to again and again as a resource or just for raw inspiration. Classic and timeless. ◊

David Middleton is art director and art & culture editor of January Magazine.

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