Thursday, July 27, 2017

The Art of Joe Jusko

Weighing in at four pounds and 328 pages, The Art of Joe Jusko is a tribute to a wonderful artist and a template on how to do an "art of" book.

Jusko began his career in the late 1970's doing covers for Heavy Metal magazine and Marvel's black and white magazines. He has gone on to produce scores of magazine covers, comic book covers, trading cards and commercial art. Jusko produced what many consider iconic versions of Conan the Barbarian, Tarzan, Vampirella and many other fictional characters.

The book begins with a biographical essay by the artist. Then each chapter is divided up by subject matter. Chapters include: Fantasy, Science-Fiction, Horror, and Trading Cards just to name a few. Dozens of his covers are reproduced full page without the trade dress and logos. Also included are some preliminary drawings and a healthy helping of unseen private commissions. What really makes this book, aside from the beautiful artwork, is the artist's running commentary on almost every piece. Jusko points what he believes works well in the paintings and sometimes things where he now feels he could of done better. He also provides technical details about his technique and tools he uses to achieve some of the effects in his paintings. The Art of Joe Jusko offers a fantastic treat for the eyes and great insight into his process and approach to art. He comes across as an artist who holds himself to very high standards and is constantly trying to learn and challenge himself. The only complaint about this book is the binding does not seem to be very solid and it requires careful handling.

I was fortunate to buy a signed and numbered copy (pictured above) of this from the artist at his appearance at the Heroes Aren't Hard to Find convention in Charlotte, NC in June 2017. It looks like it is sold out from the publisher, but there are some copies of the regular hardcover available on Amazon.



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