The Sixty: Arts of Andy Bigwood — book review

The Sixty: Arts of Andy Bigwood by Andy Bigwood. Immanion ‘31.99

Reviewed by Chris Morgan

As an art collector and auctioneer at conventions, I’ve noticed the increasingly impressive artwork that Andy Bigwood has been bringing along to cons for several years. And he’s been the cover artist for quite a few recent anthologies, novels and non-fiction, notably from Immanion.

This book shows the range and versatility of Bigwood’s work, with SF, fantasy, horror and some non-fantastic figure and landscape pictures. Fans of his art will be delighted to see a bookfull of his art. He’s a digital artist, who works partly from his own photos: more details of him and exactly how he works would have been helpful.

There are lots of exciting images here. My own favourite is “Future Bristol” with its massive Cities in Flight architecture. In sharp contrast is the delicacy of “Alien Tea” (a BSFA award winner from 2008) and some of the figure work. In a few cases it looks as if the pictures have been over-enlarged.

The book is an anthology of 1-page stories and extracts from 43 writers, including big names like Ian Watson, Ken MacLeod and Juliet McKenna. With a maximum of 500 words, only a few of these pieces are really successful. On the whole each fits reasonably well with the accompanying illustration, though the overall result is disjointed, some of the pieces being unexplained snippets, unfair on their authors and on the reader. Even Bigwood’s longer story at the end (magic and heroic fantasy among centaurs) is too brief for its concept — though it does explain the book’s title. Another problem is that the text appears not to have been edited or proofread; paragraphing and punctuation are eccentric and vary from piece to piece. But art books stand or fall on the quality of the art; this has plenty of impressive pictures.

The Sixty: Arts of Andy Bigwood by Andy Bigwood. Immanion ‘31.99

Reviewed by Chris Morgan

As an art collector and auctioneer at conventions, I’ve noticed the increasingly impressive artwork that Andy Bigwood has been bringing along to cons for several years. And he’s been the cover artist for quite a few recent anthologies, novels and non-fiction, notably from Immanion.

This book shows the range and versatility of Bigwood’s work, with SF, fantasy, horror and some non-fantastic figure and landscape pictures. Fans of his art will be delighted to see a bookfull of his art. He’s a digital artist, who works partly from his own photos: more details of him and exactly how he works would have been helpful.

There are lots of exciting images here. My own favourite is “Future Bristol” with its massive Cities in Flight architecture. In sharp contrast is the delicacy of “Alien Tea” (a BSFA award winner from 2008) and some of the figure work. In a few cases it looks as if the pictures have been over-enlarged.

The book is an anthology of 1-page stories and extracts from 43 writers, including big names like Ian Watson, Ken MacLeod and Juliet McKenna. With a maximum of 500 words, only a few of these pieces are really successful. On the whole each fits reasonably well with the accompanying illustration, though the overall result is disjointed, some of the pieces being unexplained snippets, unfair on their authors and on the reader. Even Bigwood’s longer story at the end (magic and heroic fantasy among centaurs) is too brief for its concept — though it does explain the book’s title. Another problem is that the text appears not to have been edited or proofread; paragraphing and punctuation are eccentric and vary from piece to piece. But art books stand or fall on the quality of the art; this has plenty of impressive pictures.