Saturday, September 02, 2006

Book-A-Day #44 (8/30): Prohibited Book 3 by Luis Royo

Reading time this week has been scarce, for various odd reasons, so I've had to keep up the book-a-day pace by knocking off some of the art books I've picked up recently. Luckily, that's one of the reasons I buy art books -- another is that I do buy art books for the SFBC, and I've found more than one thing over the years by paying money for a copy of it myself.

Prohibited Book 3 is the third and last in a series of smaller-than-art-book-usual format (about 6" x 10") compendia collecting some of the smuttier sketches and paintings by the Spanish artist Luis Royo. There's also some overheated, quite pretentious text -- I'm not sure if it reads that way because it's translated, because smut always brings out the over-writer in us all, or if it was that bad in the original. But it is there, and it is too much.

Royo is the best of the current crop of artists who do ridiculously gorgeous women (and men) well -- his anatomy is generally good (though it always is right up against the extremes of human possibility), his poses are fluid rather than stiff, and he has a strong sense of composition. In other words, he paints good pictures that just happen to have half (or fully) naked swordsbabes in them. I like his work several ways: as a guy who likes looking at naked babes, as a connoisseur of good illustration, and as a marketer who knows that his covers really sell books.

But the Prohibited Book series is stuff that's not just too sexy to be on American book covers -- it's too sexy to be sold outside of shrinkwrapping in many jurisdictions. (There's not just copious nudity -- to be expected in any Royo book, of course -- but more than a little explicit sex.) So be warned. If you don't know Royo, don't start here -- pick up Secrets or Dreams, or the career retrospective Fantastic Art. But, if you do know Royo, and wonder what he would be like even sexier, then you might be interested in the Prohibited Book series. (And this one is pretty much the same as the first two; Royo's level of work is amazingly consistent.)

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