“Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward, The Art of Ishgard, Stone & Steel” Art Book Review

Possible Spoiler Warning For FFXIV: Heavensward

For my first art book review, its the only art book I have from Final Fantasy XIV, and I actually had this years and years before I even manage to get to play FFXIV, I love the Au Ra race a lot so I bought this art book solely for the…2-3 pages of them in this book and…that’s it. I didn’t know anything about Aymeric yet. (He doesn’t appear much in this book either.)

In both my non-instructional and instructional art book reviews, I don’t really want to give a score/rating system to the books but have categories in which I feel are important for an artbook to succeed. For non-instructional art books, like say artbooks of movies, games, etc. I have these categories to access them, for instructional/how-to books I have other categories. I might decide to add more in the future if I think they do not cover all the bases. Art books do take up a lot of space and if you don’t have a lot of space, its best to buy only the best of the best or what you yourself like.

The categories are:

Overview: General explanation/impression of the art book.

Inspiration: Does the book give a spark to light the artistic flames of creation or whatever, does the book inspire/make you want to draw and create your own things yourself.

Usefulness/Delivery: Lets say you really love a certain series till you want to get a art book of it and the art book doesn’t deliver on what you want, not enough content, explanation of design choices etc. Some art books do that, where they don’t have much contextual content to explain why they designed or drew things a certain way.

I will be taking a approach to certain books of like as a fan of this series does this book’s content make me happy as a fan to have it and read it? Also, as a artist, will it give me more knowledge to supplement my own work?

Summary/Conclusion: Closing thoughts. Should you buy this book etc. What it says on the can.

And now the review proper: (Excuse the poor photos, Google will get you some better images from the Square Enix Official Shop)

Overview: This book is very good and extensive as far as art books go, they have small sentences explaining certain illustrations, some are about how they were made, others were explaining what was the goal etc. The book is so extensive that prop designers, game designers, character costume designers will surely love the amount of concept art of every new set made available in the expansion, every new character, environment, and monster, etc.

Inspiration: The sheer amount of illustrations, game content design, and the little sentences explaining intents of illustrations, how/why they were made are good at inspiring artists to be like “Hey, I also encounter that problem.”, “I see how the piece matches the intent.” Seeing the many different types of designs for certain types of character classes is indeed inspiring and helps to get the creative juices flowing.

Usefulness/Delivery: This book is useful to look at especially for game concept artists, as there’s such a sheer amount of props, armour, weapons, monsters, etc. that you can spend a long time sifting through all of the content seeing how they design unique sets of armour for different classes. There’s also illustrations and sketches as well, for illustrators. The character stuff is a definitely not as much, a few pages dedicated to the main cast and that is it. The illustrations as well if you want to count them as character stuff is possible too. But in the end. There really isn’t much for characters. Not as much for props and stuff like that.

Conclusion: As I am myself a fan of the series I feel that yes, this is a book worth buying just to see how the development team came up with everything from the characters to the prop design. If you are not a fan, you will get semi/soft spoiled by getting it anyway but of out of context it is fine. There’s enough content in it to look at for everyone. I wished there were more developmental drawings for the new characters. There is kind of enough for the development of the two new races (implying the development of male Viera before they scrapped it, the cowards)

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