The Fantasy Art of Jim Burns

Author: Jim Burns
Titan Books
RRP £12.99
ISBN 1 84576 133 2
Available 22 July 2005

Jim Burns is one of the world's premiere visionaries, portraying fantasy and science fiction, appreciated equally by fans and professionals. His alien worlds are tempting and foreboding, occupied by strange but seductive sexual creatures.
Imago transforms the way we have come to understand the Burns oeuvre, as he reveals and revels in his creative process. Imago showcases the sensual exploration of women trapped in their alien environments, content to play muse to their master fantasist...

Unlike Titan's last book in a similar vein (Amazona: The Art of Chris Achilléos), Imago is a coffee table collection that has been given an almost faultless treatment - The main problem with Amazona was that it had a soft cover. No expense has been spared for Imago - a hardback edition with real quality pages (the sort of book that you like to open just to experience that 'new' book smell).

This large format (the pages are a little larger than A4 in size) book oozes quality from its pages. An added bonus is that instead of getting in a writer to choose and comment on Burns's work, Burns, himself, is the filter for the work reproduced here. And what an impressive array it represents too.

There are plenty of little insights into Burns's work. For example, for his painting for Arthur C. Clarke's Venus Prime 2 novel, the client informed Burns, while at the sketch stage, that the neckline of the model's spacesuit did not do her justice. So, it was brought down for the finished painting. And, for Jennifer Robert's Sword Born, Burns had to "modify the model's décolletage" to make it acceptable for the front cover. This was done digitally in order not to spoil his original painting.

Add to this a section at the back that reprints smaller images of all of the finished images shown in this collection - and informs the reader on where the finished product was used - and you really couldn't wish for a more visually pleasing release.

Actually, that's not strictly true. This collection would have received an extra mark if all of the finished paintings had been reprinted in their entirety. While this is the case more often than not, there are quite a few images that show tightly cropped sections of the finished painting, or have a sketch obscuring some of the completed work.

Nick Smithson

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