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Illustrated Maps of Imaginary Worlds – Star Wars

 :: Posted by admin on 10-01-2012

If you’re a Star Wars fan, you’re probably familiar with the work of Ralph McQuarrie. This amazing designer has produced a lot of art relating illustrations to the Star Wars universe. His works are now collected in “The Illustrated Star Wars Universe”, a combined effort between McQuarrie and author Kevin J. Anderson.
The book collects concept art from the Original Trilogy, and includes not just McQuarrie’s work but also concept art created by Michael Butkus, Joe Johnston, Norman Reynolds, and Michael Pangrazio. Eight of the most important planets from the original movies are covered, and readers can enjoy looking at costume art, home layouts, alien concepts, and high level illustrated maps. For a Star Wars fan, this is not just a collectible, it is an amazing look into the raw vision of the original designers.
The planets covered in the book are:
• Alderaan
• Bespin
• Coruscant
• Dagobah
• Endor
• Hoth
• Tatooine
• Yavin 4
This means that the book covers a huge range of environments, from snow-covered Hoth to the deserts of Tattooine, and the more built-up Coruscant. Every environment is explored.
The book is rather old now; it was first published in 1995, but it is still well worth a look. The art style is timeless (as you would imagine, for something that covers a science fiction theme), and the text that accompanies the images is fascinating to read. The images are elaborated upon by fictional characters form the Star Wars universe, including an Imperial Advisor to the Emperor’s court, a Councilman, a scientist, and a shape-changing Anthropologist.
If you’re a fan of exploring different worlds, as well as your own world, then this particular tome is most definitely one worthy of adding to your collection. Why limit yourself to exploring just one galaxy?

A Game of Thrones: Illustrated

 :: Posted by admin on 06-17-2012

The politics and relationships in Game of Thrones are complicated. If you’ve read the books, you will have some familiarity with the characters and the back-story. If you’re following the HBO television series, then keeping a mental map of the locations, who rules them, and how the families tie together can be difficult.
There have been many illustrated maps of Game of Thrones produced. These maps can be invaluable for helping you keep track of what’s going on. Perhaps the most beautiful of these illustrated maps is the one provided by HBO themselves. The map on HBO’s website covers the entire world, and gives an episode by episode guide, highlighting which locations are looked at in each episode, and which characters were involved.
The official map uses dark colors and simple lines. Water is black, rather than blue as it would be in traditional world maps, and trees, mountains and other features are sketched, rather than stamped, creating an old-world feel. Kings Landing, Winterfell and Qarth are drawn particularly carefully, and given a splash of color to make them stand out as major cities on the map.
The best features of this particular illustrated map, however, are not the illustrations. It is the interactivity that makes this map stand out. The world of Game of Thrones is vast, and the key locations are spread over a huge area. Being able to zoom, pan, and jump to key locations without having to hunt for them makes it much easier to find the places you are interested in. The map is well coded too, as these interactions are generally seamless and lag free.
Hopefully, in the future, more map makers will consider offering such features on their digital illustrated maps. It would make live a lot easier for travelers and festival visitors alike.