Friday, January 7, 2011

The Full Spectrum

I'm sure you won't be surprised to learn that I'm coveting a set of books. Not just any books but one of the most incredible series filled with fantasy art ever created. The first Spectrum book came out in 1994 and the series now includes 17 titles. Spectrum, the brainchild of Cathy and Arnie Fenner, works on a call for entries basis and the results are judged by a jury of fantasy artists. The best entries are then published in book form. Gorgeous book form, crammed full of great work. I pulled this quote from the Spectrum website and I think it sums up the books beautifully.

"Spectrum doesn't exist to categorize or define fantastic art; rather, it exists to honor the imaginations of very special artists who delight in helping us see the world in a wonderfully different light. It's our job to help them reach a wider appreciative audience."

I bought Spectrum 9 about six months and was instantly hooked. Jeff and I drove to Omaha this weekend and I picked up 10 and I'm slowly adding books to my collection. My goal is to have all 17 books. They are one of the best collections of fantasy art that I've found. I love that there are so many divergent styles and artists. Each page offers a treasure trove of artistic talent. I'm excited to find that I can recognize some artists now based entirely on their styles. And some of my favorites are present: Kei Acedera, Bobby Chiu, Peter de Seve, Rick Berry, Shaun Tan, Dan Dos Santos, Rebecca Guay, Dave McKean, name a few. And a slew of other artists. The series doesn't just include the great masters who have already established themselves, but is open to all artists.

For fans of art, these books are must haves. I will be picking up 16 and 17 soon. They are both available in the stores. The older editions will be a little more difficult to pick up. But I love the thrill of the hunt. And these books are well worth it.

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