Adobe Photoshop CS6 essentials/ Scott Onstott

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One thing I learned from this book: manipulating text/ fonts and working in tandem with path/ vectors.

Easy to follow short exercises.


Painter X for photographers/ Martin Addison

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Useful primer on Corel Painter. I’m using version 12 and can follow this easily even if its talking about an older version.

Comprehensive section on the various brushes, pens, pencils etc. Particularly useful on understanding the various Clone Brushes and their effects.

Dedicated section on Clone painting. With short descriptive tutorials and examples.

Customising brushes, paper textures.

Explains watercolours, oils and pastels, blender brushes, portrait painting, hand colouring, Layers, printing and presentations (colour management).

Secrets of Corel Painter Experts: Tips, Techniques, and Insights for Users of All Abilities/ Daryl Wise

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006.686 WIS

Features individual Corel Painter users. Each digital artist shows a work, explains how its done. Most have a sequenced walk-through.

Plenty of inspiring works; insights into the digital art creation process using varying preferred techniques and styles.

A few artists I really liked (interestingly they happen to be asians):

The Unwritten: Tommy Taylor and the bogus identity/ Mike Carey & Peter Gross

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I think this is book one of the series. It does answer the question (for me) why Tommy Taylor was incarcerated in the story I read earlier.

This is one of the more complex graphic novel stories. Taking in the visuals and narrative, I get a sense that something is about to tip over, and I am carried along for the ride. Kind of like Twin Peaks weirdness and pace.

Tom Taylor is worshipped as the same-named character in his missing father’s acclaimed novel (did you get all that?)

It’s like Harry Potter made real (as perceived by fans). Tom is treated as the literary incarnate, with the same magical abilities and all. Which Tom finds himself both wanting and hating his association with the novel’s character.

But slowly Tom discovers forgotten memories about his father and his own past. I’m led to suspect that Tom has no real past, and there is about about the literal power of words to make things real.

To use the Harry Potter parallel, it’s like a real world Harry discovering the literary figure is real while he isn’t. Or so it seems to me.

Mind bending stuff.

Halo: bloodline/ Van Lente & Portela

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Story unveils the relationships among a Spartan team (Team Black) and a Convenant warrior pair.

Both find themselves stranded and (here’s where I reveal a little more than what the blurb says) have to make a choice to team up to survive.

Well, won’t share more or else i’ll be giving the whole plot away.

But I can add there’s a sub-plot about some relationship angst among the Spartans.

Could be something that might be expanded to a novella, though expectedly this graphic novel version offers the surface-level Hollywood treatment.

Halo: Helljumper/ Peter David & Eric Nguyen

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Centers around a pair of Orbital Drop Shock Troopers (ODST). Not enhanced Spartans, btw.

Plot: best of buddies are part of a deployment to investigate a Convenant raid. Find themselves cut off; fight their way through and show more of the self-sacrificial buddy-hero stuff.

But that’s not to say I didn’t enjoy reading it. It’s light leisurely clean stuff.

The new avengers: illuminati/ Bendis, Reed & Cheung

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The Illuminati of the Marvel Universe is: Iron Man, Professor X, Black Bolt, Sub-Mariner, Mr Fantastic, and Dr Strange.

They secretly band together to (as the blurb says) “take on threats no one else can handle” and “learn of secrets that will change the way we look at the Marvel Universe” (I left out the exclamation mark).

It’s one of the more interesting read, perhaps proving again that Brian Michael Bendis’ touch is there (apologies to Brian Reed; I loved Spider-woman: Origin, btw).

The backstory is that Earth has just beaten back a Skrull invasion, thanks to the Supers. The graphic novel starts with the Illuminati going to the Skrulls and warning that if they ever try to invade Earth again, the Supers are going to woop their behinds again.

The Skrull King of course doesn’t take this kindly (if he did, no story right?)

So events unfold and… That’s where you have to read the rest of the story yourself. The Skrulls and the Illuminati do meet again but sort of leaves the end of this series on a cliff hanger for another story line.

Ok, why Sub-Mariner? A way to bring back an old-school character?

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