Although this book wouldn’t be called a typical comic or even graphic novel, it is a great collection of illustrations of Scott Campbell, who in my opinion is a talented watercolor illustrator (which is one of the most difficult mediums to master). This collection pulls together a variety of artwork and illustrations that Scott C has produced over the last few years in one collection for viewers to enjoy. And also lets be honest, how can you not pick up a book where the forward was written by Jack Black (yes that Jack Black of movie fame and the voice of Kung Fu Panda.)
Scott C. has a whimsical style to his artwork that is influenced by everything from pop culture to lumberjacks to music to everything in between. For example one of his pieces is entitled “Sushi off a Friend” which depicts the A-Team eating sushi off of “The Great American Hero.” Seriously how can cool is it to see Mr. T using chopsticks to eat a hamburger (you didn’t really think he’d be eating sushi did you)? It’s a whimsical type of illustration, but captures the characters perfectly so that you instantly know that who you’re looking at without any names to the characters. Or how about the illustration of Voltron where the green lion has detached itself to get a bite to eat out of a giant cat bowl. No it didn’t really happen in the show, but it’s that instant flash of recognition and the inescapable chortle of laughter as you recognize what’s going on. And this particular illustration is sold by the small smile creeping across the lion’s faces as they watch the green lion eat. This is the type of illustration that Scott C personifies. These relatively small pieces that capture the familiar moments and give them something a bit unusual, to make us pause for just that split second to recognize them, and then smile and laugh as we see characters/creatures that we know/recognize in slightly unfamiliar positions.
To be honest one of my favorite things about this book is Scott C’s introduction, where he talks about his background, how his journey into the art world, and just his thoughts in general. I find myself recognizing aspects of my own path, well not the working at Star Wars part or the being an art director for a company, but of tracing and drawing other styles. Of creating my own adventures and stories of characters other writers had given the world and taking them in my own direction and finally creating my own characters. Ones that belonged to me. It gives me inspiration to pick up the pencils and graphite again to reengage my artistic senses to see where it might lead.
I had the chance to meet Scott briefly at Emerald City Comicon this year and his work is just as beautiful in person as it in this book (I wasn’t able to buy in of it, but I did get a signed bookplate for my copy of the book.) If you like whimsical watercolor then pick up this book and give it a flip through. You might just enjoy it.