Yoshitaka Amano (a J!-ENT Book Review)

BOOK TITLE: Yoshitaka Amano

Published in 2003  by Walther Konig

PAGE COUNT: 192 Pages


In my last Amano Yoshitaka book that I reviewed “AMANO: THE COMPLETE PRINTS OF YOSHITAKA AMANO”, I wrote about how brilliant that art book truly was.

With “Yoshitaka Amano”, this is one of the most expensive books to obtain and a book that one must do research before buying because its not a how-to-art book and not a print showcase of his work but what it is, is a book focusing on Amano’s sumi-e (ink and wash) and sketched artwork but most of all, focusing on how he creates emotion through the use of the subject’s eyes.

Actually, the paintings are automotive lacquer on aluminum and the drawings are sumi-e ink on handmade rice paper or handmade Nepalese paper.

What you get in each page are paintings and close up pictures of the eye/face area.  To see how Amano utilizes emotion by capturing the eyes.

In fact, nearly every page focuses on the facial area and the eyes and the artwork used as examples is from Amano’s “Gatchman” artwork (as well from other series).  Every page showcases a full page close up of the eyes, with some utilizing two pages to incorporate artwork that are lengthier by width.

You do get a foreword from Carlo McCormick, who has co-authored many art books and an afterword by author Rachel Kushner.  Kushner has written a really good piece on “Sumi” and Amano’s use of Sumi.

One of the most important things which I’m so happy Kushner covers how Amano’s personal mantra of “mistrust certain flowers” and skip over the four gentlemen – orchid, bamboo, plum and chrysanthemum and focus on make his own creation while using sumi.  There is no redo’s in sumi. You get one chance and thus this book showcases Amano’s usage of sumi.


As I mentioned earlier, this book is one that I hope people research before purchasing.  Especially because it’s one of the most sought after Amano books and expensive.

Moreso, because for those wanting artwork in the sense of seeing his finalized print work, there are other books on Amano that those enamored by his artwork would find best suited for them.

This book is primarily for those interested in his sumi artwork and the goal was to showcase how he was able to capture emotion and imagination through his paintings and sumi but focusing on the face, and primarily the eye area.  The majority of the pages feature that.

So, with that being said, for me, this book was worth the price because not only does it show you how Amano was able to accomplish something so difficult on rice paper, but to show how much of an accomplished illustrator and artist that he truly is.  How he was able to capture emotion, through those eyes and for those wanting to accomplish something similar through their own paintings or to use it as a source book for inspiration, “Yoshitaka Amano” does just that.

It may not be for everyone but for those who value Amano’s work, this book definitely fits in to your collection.