It's only recently that I've finally moved out of my old place and into somewhere new and closer to work that I was fully able to take an inventory of all the artbooks I've collected over the years. From hardbound tomes to smaller zines from indie artists online, it's been a very personal collection that I've built up of my favourite series', anime, comics, and especially artists. Artbooks have become my collectable hobby because there is something really special about them. They aren't like books or even comic books where recommendations and glances do not give the reader the true scope of it's greatness, and they aren't reference books on art where rules and anatomy are applied for style.
The catalyst that really got me into collecting was a Kotaku article detailing the first Art of Capcom book by Udon studios. It hit me just as I was getting into Street Fighter. I wanted it more than ever, not just because it was Street Fighter but because it had visuals that I had not seen before. I never liked the realistic artwork of Street Fighter II and finding anything decent other than that was difficult without prior knowledge. Udon was doing something different with the characters. Inspired by modern anime and manga, they drew the same characters in different style. Mixed and matched Capcom series and made the whole thing feel fresh. It's one of my favourite purchases I made as a teenager from Amazon as it not only provided me with inspiration, visuals, and tutorials, it put Udon on my map as a studio I would follow to this day.
Street Fighter and Capcom became my main go to for artbooks collecting many of the Udon published works such as the Street Fighter tribute, Eternal Challenger (another personal favourite as I found it at my first con), and SF25.
My tastes have not changed too much over the years still favouring eastern anime and manga artists when compared to comic book artists in the west. What has changed are my methods of finding artbooks. Myfigurecollection has been the most recent income sink being a database for finding and researching anime figures and other media. It's extremely easy to sort by series and then search for merchandise on that site which lead me to finding works from more difficult products to come by in the west. Japanese artbooks have been my current collecting habit trying to relive my teenage fascination of anime through the artbooks.
It's always been a dream of mine to have a collection of artbooks because it is still so rare to seeing a collection of them. There are only a few sites dedicated to the curation or collection of arbooks and far fewer still for retail stores to have a section for them.
Having them all displayed on a bookshelf together, it's a nice image as it represents determination to get them, research, and fond memories of what they mean to me.
I'll be doing more blogs about Artbooks in the near future, hopefully showing off new favourites for you to find and enjoy yourselves.