April 2024 books

J.M.W. Turner: The World of Light and Colour, Michael Bockemühl

I used to love my Art History classes at college but we never looked at any of Turner's work. My only exposure to Turner is through various documentaries I've watched over the years and now I've renewed my library membership, I decided to grab a book and get to know more about the artist.

This wasn't an extensive or in-depth look but offered a bit of insight into Turner, his influences and his experiences and how they inspired or helped his work evolve over time. Though interesting, I found the reading experience a little bit jarring. There were many, many examples of the text focussing on a specific painting, but said painting was inexplicably displayed on another page so rather than being able to maintain a flow, I was faced with flipping back and forth constantly or just taking one look at a piece then going back to the text.

Middlewest, Skottie Young & Jorge Corona

This was my second read through the Middlewest series, so I knew what to expect but still thoroughly enjoyed the read. While it's an adventure/quest story, the core theme of the series is generational relationships between parents and their children, how bad habits can be formed or passed down from generation to generation, and ultimately, how one might break free of that pattern. Of course, I don't know specific details but I've heard Skottie Young say in interviews that there's an autobiographical element with regards to the overall theme. This isn't a comic for kids at all, so if you do grab a copy, just bear that in mind.

The art of Jorge Corona is absolutely fantastic, he's got a beautiful style which feels precise and considered yet loose and full of life which is augmented wonderfully by colours by Jean-Francois Beaulieu, making this book a good read as well as something to gawp at in awe.

From Sketch to Watercolour Painting: Pen, Line and Wash, Wendy Jelbert

This was another book borrowed from the library. I found lots of good pointers in this book but it's definitely a book to read when you're prepared to do some practice pieces alongside it, which I didn't do this time. Perhaps I'll borrow it again some time and actually do some painting...

The Art of Cuphead, Eli Cymet

I've taken my sweet time reading this book. I started it back in December and I've been picking it up occasionally ever since. This is a very interesting book to read though and great to look at all the artwork which went into producing the game.

My one criticism is that the book is largely structured to cover each level/boss on the game, which is certainly interesting, but I found the latter chapters focussed on the behind-the-scenes stuff in terms of art process far more so and I'd have liked more of a deep-dive into that area over a step-by-step breakdown of each boss.

Still, it'll be a permanent fixture on my book shelf and I'll return to it in future for inspiration. 100% worth getting if you're a fan of the game.

I Hate Fairyland: Book One, Skottie Young

It appears I've been on a bit of a Skottie Young kick this month, going back to the start of the I Hate Fairyland (IHF) series. At this point, I've read this series probably 5 times all the way through so there's nothing in the way of surprises in the reading but I still get a lot of enjoyment out of the series and particularly enjoy just looking at the artwork.

This book collects together the first 10 issues of the original run of 20 issues* which covers the first 2 story arcs of the series.

The premise of the comic follows a girl, Gertrude (Gert), as she's pulled through her floor into Fairyland, a colourful, sugar-coated place full of all sorts of different creatures. She's sent on a quest to retrieve a key which will allow her to get back home but it turns out she's terrible at it. A time-jump shows she's been stuck in Fairyland for 30 years, inwardly ageing the whole time whilst outwardly appearing as the same girl and the rest of the book follows Gert on her attempts to get back home.

I shan't place any spoilers in this. All I'll say is if you like cartoon violence, you'll probably enjoy this as there's plenty to go round.

*There is a current ongoing run of IHF comics but Skottie Young just doing the writing duties with art being handled by Brett Bean. This series continues on from the original 20 issues, but was started at issue #1 so if you're gonna pick this up, make sure you get the correct starting point!

I Hate Fairyland: Book Two, Skottie Young

Ok, this one I hadn't planned on getting read in April. It's not a difficult book to read or anything but I just figured I'd blast through it in a single day but I did so here it is.

This book concludes the original run of IHF, with the issue of I Hate Image which was put out for Free Comic Book Day back in 2017 (which I also happen to have). Does Gert make it home? You'll have to read it and find out.

That's it for this month. Some enjoyable reads (or re-reads as they mostly were). I think in May I should focus on trying to read more books which I've not yet read...