Thursday, November 13, 2014

Pam Reviews: The Art of Neil Gaiman

I'm super excited today to welcome my mom back to the blog to review a very different type of book than is usually featured here. Yay for stepping out of comfort zones! My mom is an extraordinarily talented illustrator, so when a review request came through for a book featuring the artwork of Neil Gaiman, I jumped on it and asked if she'd like the chance to share her thoughts on it from a fellow artist's perspective. This book is more textbook in nature, so she focused on just one chapter in particular. Welcome back to Supernatural Snark, Mom!

THE ART OF NEIL GAIMAN:
The Visual Story of One of the World's Most Vital Creative Forces
Hayley Campbell
Non-Fiction
320 pages
ILEX
Available Now
Source: Received finished copy from publisher for review

THE BOOK (from Amazon)
With unprecedented access to Neil Gaiman’s personal archives, author Hayley Campbell gives an insider’s glimpse into the artistic inspirations and musings of one of the world’s most visionary writers.

Over the last twenty-five years, Neil Gaiman has mapped out a territory in the popular imagination that is uniquely his own. A master of several genres, including, but not limited to, bestselling novels, children’s books, groundbreaking comics, and graphic novels, it’s no wonder Gaiman has been called a rock star of the literary world. Now, for the first time, Gaiman reveals the inspiration behind his signature artistic motifs, giving author Hayley Campbell a rare, in-depth look at the contents of his personal notebooks and early work, even some of his abandoned projects. The result is a startling, intimate glimpse into the life and mind of one of the world’s most creative visionaries. The book is the first comprehensive, full-color examination of Gaiman’s work to date, tracing the genesis of his creative life as a starving journalist in the UK to his life as a successful comic book writer and, ultimately, a bestselling novelist.

Complete with running commentary, interview text, and annotated material that contextualizes the visual material, this deluxe compendium contains never-before-seen material and promises to be every bit as inspired as Gaiman is himself.

PAM'S THOUGHTS
The Art of Neil Gaiman is a remarkably in-depth biography that covers many aspects of his lengthy career, but where it truly comes to life is in the showcasing of all his incredible works to date. One cannot help but marvel at his creative genius, applied across several media such as novels, picture books, comics, radio plays, TV stories, theater, movies and more. The sheer number and diversity of his works is mind-boggling. Throughout all seven chapters, readers will discover an intensely detailed presentation of each of his works, complete with some of his handwritten notes and sketches as well as photographs, anecdotes and commentary from his numerous collaborators. I loved that he not only shares amazing insights into his work, but also into himself, the truest art in The Art of Neil Gaiman.

I was asked to focus on a particular chapter of Gaiman's book, and I chose one that highlighted some of his short stories and poetry, but most interestingly for me, his picture books such as Coraline and Fortunately, The Milk which were my first exposures to Gaiman's work. Gaiman openly reveals his personal perspectives, feelings and memories, giving us a peek into the inspiration behind the creation of each fantasy work so that readers can fully appreciate the scope and depth of his imagination. His picture books reflect his knowledge of children, their nature and essence, and what exactly it is to be a child. This review, encompassing a very small segment of one chapter, doesn't begin to scratch the surface of this phenomenal collection of works, so I encourage you to discover all its wonder for yourselves!

The Art of Neil Gaiman is an impressive and informative book that will surely amaze any reader. I did feel at times that the visual presentation of each full color page was slightly distracting with so many competing elements (including the text hugging the centerfold), but that small drawback did nothing to dim the brilliance of Neil Gaiman and his storytelling genius. This book is outstanding.

Rating: 5/5

Find Neil:


This book was sent to me by the publisher free of charge for the purpose of a review
I received no other compensation and the above is my honest opinion.

35 comments:

  1. I'm not so in this type of book, but this one sound like a good one, great thing you like it :D

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    1. This book was wonderful and inspiring for me, especially with the outstanding illustrations throughout! Thanks for the comment.
      Pam

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  2. Hi Pam! Great review. I feel like I'd get more out of this if I'd read all of Neil's works. So far, I've read three of his books, plus a picture book, and started on Sandman. Still need to read Coraline too - as well as many others. He's so prolific.

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    1. So glad you've read so many of his works - I'll have to catch up! Sandman and American Gods received rave reviews and were referenced throughout this book - they sound like must reads for me. Thanks for the comment!
      Pam

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  3. I didn't know there was a book like that but it's really interesting. I'm don't know a lot about him I confess, never read a book and I only saw Coraline, but I should try!

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    1. I really hope you'll give one of his books a try, I think you'll be pleasantly surprised - I sure was! Thanks for the comment!
      Pam

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  4. Oh Pammy, this is such a fantastic review! Honestly, I have never read anything from him, but he sounds like a creative mastermind and It seems like I am completely missing out.

    Thank you so much for featuring this book, I usually do not care much for non-fiction books but this one sound intriguing even for me!

    *hugs* and Miss you!

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    1. Whew . . . Gaiman truly is a "creative mastermind" and I gotta admit I'm in awe of all his talents after reading this book. As always, you're such a sweetie for your kind and thoughtful comment. Love your face.
      Pam

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  5. Hi Pam! Wow, now I feel like I must run and grab this one! I adore Gaiman's Coraline and I hope to read more of him soon!

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    1. I adore Coraline too - it was wonderfully creepy! I was amazed to read it took Gaiman ten years to finish and publish it, but it's well worth the wait!
      Pam

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  6. This isn't the kind of book that I normally go to, but I'm glad you enjoyed it so much, Pam. I'm ashamed that I haven't ever read anything by Neil Gaiman though!

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    1. It's perfectly okay if you haven't had the chance to read anything by him - if not for Jenny, I probably wouldn't have experienced his works either. But it's been truly fun and a bit mind-blowing for me to learn about him and his diverse books and movies! Thanks for the comment!
      Pam

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  7. An art book review by an artist, your mom was indeed the perfect pick for this title, Jenny! I'm not familiar with Neil Gaiman's work, but after reading this post I want to be. Granted, I probably won't read it, just look at the pretty pictures. LOL

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    1. Wow, please give him a try and I highly recommend this book, but I feel it's a very challenging read with all the in-depth details. And yeah, I gotta say, I did skim some of the chapters, but didn't pass viewing any of the awesome illustrations :) Thanks for your comment!
      Pam

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  8. I'm not a huge fan of biographies but this one seems really interesting. I love Neil's work and he is a truly talented author and yeah I would love to read this because of that. Great review, Pam :)

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    1. Geez, if I can remotely interest even one reader to have a go at this book, I would be ecstatic. Jump in if you can and read it (hint: allow yourself PLENTY of time to do so), but I feel you'd be extremely happy you did! Thank you for your comment!
      Pam
      Pam

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  9. My existence so far has been sadly Gaiman-free, but this sounds like something meant not only for old fans, but hopefully for new ones as well. Plus, he seems completely fascinating to me, always has, and I'm curious to learn more about him.

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    1. Gaiman has a huge, repeat HUGE, fan base, and now I'm in there too. Would love to have you join me! Thank you for your comment!
      Pam

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  10. I love that this was such an engaging biography, I have to be honest, most of the ones I have read (all for school) were hardly ever engaging or entertaining.
    Wonderful review!

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    1. I agree some biographies you kinda have to plow through, but Gaiman's got a magical thing going in his writing and his drawings that's unique to just him, so I found the book fascinating. Thank you very much for your comment!
      Pam

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  11. "One cannot help but marvel at his creative genius, applied across several media such as novels, picture books, comics, radio plays, TV stories, theater, movies and more."

    Not sure if many realize how many 'hats' this man wears and how diversified he is in the creative arts. Your review captures it perfect!

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    1. You nailed it when you wrote of "how many 'hats' this man wears"! I discovered an overwhelming number and was absolutely amazed . . page, after page, after page! Thank you for your sweet comment.
      Pam

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  12. I've read a few books by Gaiman and it's extraordinary to see where his ideas come from. Each book is completely different from the other and they all have a fairy-tale like setting. I think I'll check this out at the library and flip through the pictures. I've been lucky enough to attend a panel with him and it was fascinating. Great review!

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    1. For several of Gaiman's picture books, his stories were inspired from his children's dreams or conversations, like Crazy Hair in which the title and story came from his daughter's comment on his weirdly half-permed and half-not hair - I thought that was just great! And you were beyond "lucky" to hear him speak - gotta say, I'm a tad envious here :) Thanks for your comment!
      Pam

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  13. Sounds like a brilliant book but still suffers from too much. I could totally understand and yet it makes sense that too much would be squeezed in a page. So need to check this book out!

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    1. I do think it's a brilliant book, but yes I do agree with you, that sometimes it was sooooo much material to absorb that I had to step back a bit to process it all. With that said, I am still thrilled I read this biography. Thank you for your comment!
      Pam

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    1. Me too, and I will!! Thank you for your comment! Pam

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  15. The only book of his that I've read is Coraline and that was years ago and I was amazed it was a children's book, it was pretty freaky! It gave me a good idea of the creativity of this guy though and I need to read more. This sounds like it might be a really fascinating book!

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  16. Yeah, I thought Coraline was a bit freaky too! Gaiman mentioned that children read it as an adventure story and aren't frightened because Coraline is never scared. We, as adults, know the danger she's in, and are absolutely terrified. Please pick this book up - I really think you'll enjoy it. Thanks for your comment!
    Pam

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  17. HI, MOM!! *waves* Miss you guys! And great review! I love biographies--didn't know this was out and I might have to pick it up. He's such an intriguing guy and so talented, too (if a lot quirky).

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  18. *waves at Mama Supernatural Snark* I don't read many autobiographies but this sounds interest, and I love that it contains new information. Neil is brilliant and never ceases to impress me.

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  19. Oh my gosh ... my son would love this. He loves autobiography type books, and he's been a Gaiman fan since he was ... must've been 4th grade. He's a senior in high school now.

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  20. I would love to check this book out.

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  21. I think I need to read a book by this author. I have yet to read something but him.

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