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Review: Tales – The Art of Christian Alzmann / Author: Christian Alzmann / Publisher: Titan Books / Release Date: Out Now

Christian Alzmann, whilst he is not a household name, is much respected reputation amongst people in the visual effects world. He has contributed to such films as Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones, Cowboys and Aliens, Terminator Salvation and Van Helsing to name but a few. Tales: The Art of Christian Alzmann brings together the sketches and paintings of a man who has influenced and been influenced by the films and projects that he has worked on.

Tales starts with a collection of sketches which the artist has taken, in his words, “from sketchbooks and off the stacks of Post-it notes” he has to hand in order to flesh out his ideas. These include designs for monsters, pirates, robots and cyborgs; some are just in pencil, some are heightened with colour. The collection then moves onto the paintings that Alzmann has created. These are variations on the themes apparent in his sketches, bringing in nature, cyberpunk and the films that inspired him when he was growing up. Particular favourites of this reviewer include Maintenance which includes the tagline “an aging human/robot hybrid oils his tarnished shell”, and Lab Rat with its tagline “What if Gulliver’s Travels took place in the 1940s?” All of the portraits show the talents of a man who sometimes may only have these taglines to go on and yet be expected to create something phenomenal. Tales is then rounded off with a tutorial section in which he shows the step by step creation of what is a typical design for him.

The resulting book is certainly a must for graphic designers and artists alike. Alzmann's varied ideas are enough to inspire any budding filmmaker with his take on the Gothic and the fantastical, and they're just a little bit mischievous for good measure.

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