As an artist I think that one of the best things that you could have are reference books: Books that you can look at or read through in order to get motivation or get ideas for future projects that you may have. For me some of my favorite art reference books are the series of “Tribute” books from Udon. These books come in a variety of subject matters, each focusing on a different genre or franchise from Capcom. I personally own a number of these books and I love every last one of them. So for the first time I’ll actually be covering several different books in one combined review. This is because all of them share the same premise, with the only real difference between each one being the artwork showcased.
So to start things off you may be wondering to yourself “What the heck is a tribute book?” Don’t worry, I was actually thinking the same thing myself when I first laid eyes on these books. Tribute books are actually just as they sound. They’re books where a large number of artists have contributed their artwork in order to pay tribute to whatever the subject matter may be. It’s a simple premise, but one that is carried out very effectively because the artwork itself is so spectacular. You can really see the love that went into each piece of artwork, a dedication that shows you just how much love these games, franchises, and characters poses from the loyal (and very talented) fanbase. When you see just how elaborate some of these art pieces are you can see how much these games mean to these talented artists.
Every time I open up one of these books, whether for the first time or the twentieth time, I’m always surprised at the level of artistry and the sheer diversity in styles going from one page to the next. Yes, the focus may be on video games, and some people may see these books as nothing more than just a collection of fan art, but you owe it to yourself to look through one of these books at least once to realize that this is actual artistic talent regardless of what the subject matter may be. Sure the thing that you’re looking at may be an anthropomorphic lion-man swinging a sword, but it’s the way in which he’s drawn or the way that the composition is constructed that really makes that particular piece of artwork truly amazing. This may be a celebration of a particular video game, but it’s done through the power of art. A medium that, at the end of the day, can be appreciated by anyone with a love of creativity, ingenuity, and dedication to the craft.
I can’t really stress how much I love how diverse these Tribute books are. It really does bring together some of the most talented artists from around the world and you get to really see how different their styles are. It’s always fun getting to see one artist’s style on one page and then be immediately followed by another who is the complete opposite. You may be staring at a hyper-realistic drawing of Ryu from Street Fighter one minute and then having a smile put on your face the next when you see a chibi version of Mega Man. Despite the fact that each style may be completely different, the point is that each one of these artists have contributed some truly amazing pieces of artwork to this collective effort. These books showcase hundreds of different artists and it’s fun to see how each one of them may represent the same character completely different.
From an artist’s standpoint these books really are a must-have in any artist’s collection. Once I purchased the first book (Mega Man Tribute) I HAD to get the next one, and then the next one, and then the next. I just had way too much fun seeing all of these pieces of artwork. I also really appreciated the fact that this collection features artists from all over the world and from different styles and backgrounds. Sure the vast majority of these artists work in the realm of paper and pencil (or in this day and age the digital tablet), but there are also times where you’ll see artists working with clay, crafts, and even 3D rendered models! I also really like that each piece of artwork comes complete with the artist’s names, country, previous works that they’ve done (if they’re a professional), and a website to find their work. I especially like the last part because it means that if i find an artist that I really liked I have a way to follow their work online on places such as DeviantArt, Instagram, and Facebook. And from there I can either get inspiration from their work or (if lucky) I can even ask them for some advice!
So in closing, if you’re an artist and have even the slightest interest in some of Capcom’s game franchises you really should think about getting even just one of these books. One of the toughest things to deal with as an artist is not finding the motivation or not knowing how to go about making the next art piece. With these books you’ll now have a wealth of inspiration in your hands, featuring a plethora of styles and mediums. If you love to see the diversity that art can bring about then these books belong on your shelf!
You can get these Tribute books on Amazon!: