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Yoshitaka Amano Illustrations (a J!-ENT Book Review)

September 3, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

“Yoshitaka Amano Illustrations” is an insightful and enjoyable book that gives you a taste of Amano’s art through popular series such as “Final Fantasy”, “Vampire Hunter D”, “Gatchman” and more! “Yoshitaka Amano Illustrations” is recommended!


TITLE: Yoshitaka Amano Illustrations

PUBLISHER: Viz Media

PAGES: 128 Pages

RELEASE DATE: August 9, 2016


Since beginning his career at age fifteen with the legendary animation studio Tatsunoko Production, Yoshitaka Amano has become one of the most acclaimed artists and illustrators at work today. Displaying a rare range, his oeuvre encompasses everything from minutely observed still-life sketches to full-color paintings on an epic scale, from children’s storybooks to dark adult fantasy, from theatrical productions to video games to sculpture to commercial design.

Yoshitaka Amano: Illustrations offers a concise survey of this remarkable artist’s career to date. It includes selected full-color pieces for series such as Final Fantasy, Vampire Hunter D, and Gatchaman (Battle of the Planets), as well as for Amano’s own creations like Hero and N.Y. Salad. Packed with sketches, commentary, and interviews, this beautiful volume opens a window into the world of Amano.


I have always been passionate about the artwork of Yoshitaka Amano.  My first time seeing his artwork was from the “Final Fantasy” video games and  “Vampire Hunter D” anime.

Amano began his career working on fan-favorite anime such as “Gatchaman” (G-Force) and popular graphic novels such as “The Sandman: The Dreamhunters”.  But his artistic genius really beagn to flower when he turned his attention ot the medium of printmaking.  Drawing from influences as diverse as Art Nouveau and Art Deco, American comics, Japanese ukiyo-e and traditional fantasy illustration, Amano’s prints capture a breathtaking world.

With quite of number of books published (some which I have reviewed on J!-ENT such as this and another), the latest Yoshitaka Amano book to be released is from Viz Media titled “Yoshitaka Amano Illustrations”.

With “Yoshitaka Amano Illustrations”, this book follows the popular works of Amano, as opposed to his book “Amano: The Complete Prints” which focuses on hundreds of prints of work that many people are not familiar with.

With “Yoshitaka Amano”, we get to see artwork from popular works featured from the “The Final Fantasy” series, “Vampire Hunter D”, conversations between Amano and another well-known artist, Aquirax Uno.

Also, the book features Amano’s sketches of women, character designs and Amano’s work on “Gatchaman” and “N.Y. Salad”, Amano’s fine art, his unpublished series “Hero”, Amano’s studio, an interview that was from “Interview” magazine issue #195, Amano’s sketches of flowers and photos showing Amano’s “How to Draw” characters, to vegetable fairies, the dragon known as Bahamut and other sketches.

While previous Yoshitaka Amano books have featured more pages and are usually a little thicker, if anything, “Yoshitaka Amano Illustrations” is a fascinating book because it features a good balance of his artwork with interviews and conversations but also showcasing images of how he creates his artwork.

For “Final Fantasy” fans, the book offers a small sample of his artwork but if you want to fully enjoy his “Final Fantasy” artwork, purchasing the three volumes of “The Sky: the Art of Final Fantasy” is the way to go.  And also, the more affordable, “Dawn: The Worlds of Final Fantasy”.

For “Vampire Hunter D” fans of Amano’s art, then definitely check out his book “Coffin: The Art of Vampire Hunter D” and “Amano: The Collected Art of Vampire Hunter D”.

Wanting more of his art in general, then the book “Amano: The Complete Prints” is definitely a book I recommend.

Overall, “Yoshitaka Amano Illustrations” is an insightful and enjoyable book that gives you a taste of Amano’s art through popular series such as “Final Fantasy”, “Vampire Hunter D”, “Gatchman” and more!

“Yoshitaka Amano Illustrations” is recommended!

Yoshitaka Amano (a J!-ENT Book Review)

March 8, 2008 by · Leave a Comment 

BOOK TITLE: Yoshitaka Amano

Published in 2003  by Walther Konig

PAGE COUNT: 192 Pages

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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.

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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.

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