Sep 12, 2013

Book Review: The Art of Atomhawk Design: Volume 1

Concept art is always something that I have had a deep interest in. My experience in the video games industry has shown me that concept artists are not always the rock stars that some people would expect, and are in fact often the unsung heroes of the professional art world. I have seen many a concept artist spend weeks (or months) working their fingers to the bone on art that the public will never see or projects that may be quietly cancelled and forgotten altogether. This means I have an extra appreciation for this particular segment of the art community, whom are often talented people with big imaginations and the skills to match.

Atomhawk Designs is a UK based concept art studio that is fairly modest in size and has only been in existence since 2008. In this time however, they have worked on some exciting projects with very high visibility. Projects including;  Injustice™, DmC™, Dead Island™, Driver : San Francisco™, Pottermore™, Mortal Kombat™, Enslaved™ and Doctor Who - The Adventure Games™.  Being a big DC Comics nerd myself, I especially loved the stylish work that they did for the videogame Injustice: Gods among us.

This offering published by 3DTotal is very much a “best of” collection, featuring a variety of work from their current and past projects. It contains a really good mix of character design, environment art and mood pieces. I felt like their stable of artists is exceptionally talented at creating these large dynamic set pieces, full of tension, fully rendered explosions and weather effects. I was happy to see that most of this material was very fresh and new to my eyes. I find that most professional concept art has made the round on art websites and forums for years before finding its way in to print. For me this often means that by the time I get my hands on a book like this, I have already seen much of the material in it and that can kill the magic.

I was very taken the book’s presentation, with its protective case and reflective cover. The pieces are printed on thick glossy pages which show a production quality equal to the art that is contained within. Nothing bothers be more then great art printed poorly, I am glad to say that this is not the case here.

While Atomhawk Designs are not yet equal to the size and notoriety of other concept art houses such as Massive Black and SIXMOREVODKA. I have no doubt that they are well on their way to becoming the next big kid on the block.

If you enjoy grand visuals, stunning designs and collections of video game concept art in general, then this book is definitely for you.