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Ballisitc Publishing – d’artiste: Character Design Review

Ballistic Publishing has done it again. They have packaged some of the best art into one volume and presented it in a way that makes it hard to do anything short of flicking through the pages in awe. d’artiste: Character Design showcases the creative prowess of three wonderful character artists: Anne Pogoda, Kekai Kotaki, Gonzalo Ordonez. Each artist presents their work along with an in-depth brief of the design techniques.

This book is not only great for people like me who just appreciate looking at attractive character designs, but also aspiring artists who wish to learn from those who have been successful. Each artist featured in d’artiste has a creditable history with art. Anne Pogoda’s work has been featured on Germany’s version of ‘American Idol’. Not only that but she conducts informal lectures and magazine workshops in which she helps those who wish to follow in her path. Kekai Kotaki is the lead concept artist on Guild Wars 2, which gamers reading this will appreciate. Gonzalo Ordonez’s work has been used on popular video game related trading cards such as World of Warcraft. With those kinds of credentials it’s evident that these are artists you’d definitely want to learn something from.

Like previous installments of the Ballistic books, I am stunned every time I turn the page whilst reading the captions on each piece of art. There is a wide variety of different character designs; from sexy big breasted females to Flame Lords, to hamsters. Of course each artist featured has a very different style. Anne has a very sexual style, showing off a variety of female designs. Kekai Kotaki focuses on Guild Wars designs along with other video game specific art. Gonzalo Ordonez has a more colorful illustrative style with a lot of his work based on an anime style. Each artist also adopts various other character designs created by their peers to create an invited gallery in which they offer their praise for each piece. As gamers this book will make you appreciate the work of an artist even more. These are the people responsible for designing the beautiful character designs that we are so graciously spoiled with.

As always it is difficult for me to choose a single piece of art as my favorite from these books. So like last time I will list some of my favorite designs from the book. The first is the Anime Girl from page 34 by Anne Pogoda. There is even a tutorial on how this beautiful piece is created and she is featured on the limited edition cover. Second is the Liliana Vess created by Kekai Kotaki on page 81, this piece is the one featured on the front cover. Finally is the “Frey and Freya” piece by Wen Yu Li on page 196, this is part of Gonzalo Ordonez’s invited gallery.

In standard Ballistic fashion the d’artiste: Character Design is presented in a way that makes you want to collect them. I have the slip cased version which is packaged in such a quality fashion that it screams to be picked up and read. I can’t imagine how valuable the limited edition must feel to hold on your hands. Ballistic without a doubt is known for high quality when it comes to their art volumes. Speaking of high quality, Ballistic are also offering a free A3 poster of Gonzalo Ordonez’s Devil-killing angel to the first 200 people to purchase the book. I would definitely recommend acting quickly as the poster is something I would love to frame and hang on my wall.


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d’artiste: Character Design is available for pre-order now and will be shipping worldwide later this month. It features some of the most breathtaking character designs that I have seen, perhaps since the last Ballistic book I read. This is every bit the digital artist master class it claims to be and it comes highly recommended by me.