Art Donovan: The Art of Steampunk – A first glance

Many Steampunks are creative folk. Welding, soldering, sewing, knitting and other arts and crafts are well established in our community. I have myself dabbled in jewelry-making but for me its just a small part of my steampunkness.
Among the many who do something are the few who do a lot and create amazing things. Their fame and renown has left the Steampunk scene and gone out into the world, via the ætherweb or other media.

Cover of The Art of SteampunkOne example of Steampunk leaving the ætherweb and manifesting in more traditional media is Art Donovan‘s upcoming The Art of Steampunk.

I was lucky enough to be asked to review this book and get a pre-release copy. The copy I have got is not fully finished yet, there are still placeholders where images will be in the final version. That is the only not so good thing about the pre-release version. The rest, and the finished book, is just a wonderful visual introduction to Steampunk.

Mr Donovan has assembled a collection of art and artists spanning literally the whole globe. There are master craftsmen presented from California and Seattle to the United Kingdom and Belgium to Japan. The Art of Steampunk is yet another proof of Steampunk being a truely international phenomeneon.

Everything displayed is a masterpiece and the range of objects is astounding. Steampunked computers (courtesy of the famed and often mentioned Datamancer), clocks, jewelry and… items. Some of the pieces are oddities, creations of true Steampunk scientists. You will see what I am talking about.

What I also find very nice are the in-character descriptions, references and annecdotes by the various featured artists. It really helps you get into the Steampunk mindset if this is your first contact with the subculture. It is even more effective than the introduction to Steampunk at the beginning of the book, which is very concise and well done.

Oh, and I almost forgot: If you have visited Steampunk exhibitions in the past, you may recognize a few pieces featured in the book, since many of them have been or are on display.

All in all this is an excellent book. It serves as an introduction for the newcomer and as an inspiration and fuel for creativity for everybody.

Since the book is not yet finished I am not going to grade it here but from what I can see so far it is heading towards the full reinforced squadron of ten out of ten Zeppelins!

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