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BOOK REVIEW: Dark Shepherd – The Art of Fred Gambino (Plus: Giveaway!)

REVIEW SUMMARY: A look at Titan Books’ upcoming collection of illustration and concept art from artist Fred Gambino.


PROS: Rich, colorful eye-candy for fans of science fiction art (with a tiny bit of fantasy as well); high-resolution images, several full-page illustrations; book features a fair amount of commentary from the artist.
CONS: Art seldom agrees with everyone’s personal tastes; book won’t be out for another month…so those impatient to see if for themselves may have to wait (or perhaps not).

BRIEF SUMMARY: The Art of Fred Gambino: Dark Shepherd features a variety of concept art covering the last several years of the artist’s career. It demonstrates the range of Gambino’s talent with large, high-resolution images with color so rich it pops off the pages. Titan Books has put together another stunning collection of art and packaged it in a volume well worth the cover price.

This book, published some fifteen years after the release of his first art book, features work from several different projects that Fred Gambino has worked on over the years. Perhaps most importantly to the artist, it contains script samples and artwork from his own personal project, Dark Shepherd.

Some of the more majestic in scale images in the book are works from his Dark Shepherd project. The publishers have made some solid choices in the images chosen for full and half page treatments.

The Art of Fred Gambino showcases a nice variety of space vehicles, characters, large-scale science fictional landscapes and concept art with commentary from the artist.  From a personal perspective, it is sweeping space/planetary landscapes and imagination-sparking futuristic vehicle design that have been my hot-button items when it comes to science fiction art for as far back as I can remember.  It is not surprising that the pieces with this subject matter were the ones that stood out so prominently for me as I experienced this collection.  Fred Gambino has some unique vehicle designs that induce a longing for the future we all hoped would be here by now in regards to space travel.

Gambino utilizes a number of techniques in his work, including the use of models for inspiration as well as in actual Photoshop pieces. It is interesting to compare and contrast the differences in characters he has created fully in the digital realm and those featuring photographic images.

In addition to concept work on a number of films over the years, including Escape from Planet Earth and The Ant Bully, Fred Gambino has done covers for a number of science fiction novels for authors including Arthur C. Clarke and David Brin, among others. The illustration for Joe Haldeman’s Old Twentieth, featured above, and the UK version of Charles Stross’ Neptune’s Brood are ones I particularly enjoy.

I recently reviewed the John Harris book published by Titan Books, and The Art of Fred Gambino: Dark Shepherd is the latest example that the company puts a lot of thought into the creation of their art volumes. If these few samples are enough to whet your appetite, I can guarantee this is a book you will enjoy.

The book will be published on July 29th, but you have an opportunity to get an early copy free! Read on….


Wanna win your own copy of Dark Shepherd: The Art of Fred Gambino?

Here’s how you can enter for a chance to win:

  1. Send an email to contest at sfsignal dot com. (That’s us).
  2. In the subject line, enter “Dark Shepherd
  3. Please provide a mailing address in the email so the books can be sent as soon as possible. (The winning address is used only to mail the prize. All other address info will be purged once the giveaway ends.)
  4. Geographic restrictions: This giveaway is open only to residents of the U.S.
  5. The giveaway will end Friday, June 27th, 2014 (9:00 PM U.S. Central time). One winner will be selected at random, notified, and announced shortly thereafter.

Good luck!

4 Comments on BOOK REVIEW: Dark Shepherd – The Art of Fred Gambino (Plus: Giveaway!)

  1. Looks like a winner, hope I am one too. Titan Books has been publishing a LOT of good stuff lately.

  2. I love how the woman in the first image is wearing real body armor. That alone makes Fred Gambino’s art of interest.

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