Goods: Review Artbook Kazuaki Artworks (Kazuaki, Starry Sky, Lamento, BL Novels)

I FINALLY found the time to unwrap and take my time to enjoy my artbook! Kazuaki Artworks by Kazuaki-sensei カズアキ and I absolutely love what I see!

Title: Kazuaki Artworks
Price: 2,800 Yen (w/o tax)
No explicit images, safe for all viewers :)

The A4 sized artbook is really thick with 253 pages (excluding book jacket) with total of about 240 pages (94%) of full-colour illustrations! Like… WOW.

The book jacket has a matte finishing and it has very interesting detail on the inside. Here’s the front and back cover of the artbook.

When I flipped open the book jacket… woah~ I’m pleasantly surprised by the line art inside! This is the first time I’ve come across an artbook with this treatment for the jackets. Very very nice! The images on the top row show the book cover with line art as well as the inside of the book jacket. The images at the bottom row show the front and back of the book cover placed side by side with the book jacket.

Here’s a close-up of the line-art of illustrations and drafts on the inside of the book jacket.

After that amazing opening act, we go on to view the lovely art inside the book. And my friend Sigma is right. Almost every illustration gets a big WOW… from me too. She said she could look at them for a long time and not get tired of them unlike some other artbooks and every piece is wonderful!

The first piece is sensei’s CD jacket work for Kannou Mukashi Banashi Vol. 4 Grimm’s Fairy Tales. She commented that she was given the freedom to propose and draw anything based on the fairy tale theme. The other illustrations were based on a story where there’s a male protagonist who like maid dolls and other novels.

I find that sensei’s style and technique are very consistent throughout the artbook. They are energetic and dynamic. A definite visual feast!

Her use of colours and composition as well as her characters’ facial expressions and body language are breath-taking. This artbook gave them justice by lovingly displaying almost all of them in their full-page glory.

There are some draft sketches and line-art included as well to give you a glimpse of her working process.

The artbook also contains the images where she admitted to using copyrighted images without credit in her background compositions. See bottom row of following pic. I believe that the issue has been resolved? Does anyone have any updates on that?

The artbook also included many of her artworks created for Honey Bee’s successful Starry Sky drama cd series, where 13 boys of different star signs romance the listener.

Eye candy galore!

Have you spotted your favourite Starry Sky boy yet?

Can’t help showing a couple more of them.

And now on to her works for Boy’s Love novels X3 HOT!

Sensei commented that there are certain criteria to fulfill when drawing covers for BL novels and every illustration is a difficult challenge for her. The criteria include: The faces of the characters (seme and uke) must be clearly seen and be drawn large enough and they have to look erotic (エロいくて) as well. Lol~ don’t you just love that last criteria? XD

However she also confessed that because of the restrictive criteria, she often had to fall back to the tried-and-tested “template compositions” of BL covers OTL;;; Yeah… that’s kinda true but even so, her illustrations draw you in and her characters are very attractive. I think these are just some of the many reasons why she is one of the hottest illustrators in Japan now.

The BL novel covers included are from Gloria Academy Series by Kirishime Rikka-sensei, Rakuen no Uta by Suzufuji Miwa-sensei, etc.

Sensei also included her doujin artwork of Lamento boys and if I’m not wrong, she commented that she is one of the many “victims” who fell for these cat-ear (猫耳 nekomimi) boys after she first laid her eyes on them lol~

More yummy BL novel covers and other illustrations :)

BL novel/manga magazine covers, a thumbnail content listing of the pages with sensei’s own commentary on selected pieces.

Her doujin and personal illustrations were included too. They included characters from Vocaloid, Durarara!!, etc. I was expecting full page illustrations, rather than a montage of them so I was a little disappointed.

The last page where she thanks her readers who bought the book :)

Conclusion: Definitely worth it and gets two thumbs from me! I thank Sigma for convincing me to buy this artbook XD

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24 thoughts on “Goods: Review Artbook Kazuaki Artworks (Kazuaki, Starry Sky, Lamento, BL Novels)”

  1. I have bought this artbook for over two year, and I still read it for more than half an hour a day=w=~That’s extremely amazing and perfect. I cannot tell any bad things through her artwork. And now I’m trying to imitate her illustrating style. However, you know, it’s so hard to do that. Her feel, her mind, her soul are all in her artwork. Even though I can maybe copy her line of draft, pick the same color, use the same same digital tablet and software, follow the process that she did, I cannot draw the same picture or the similar picture at all, because her illustration style is so flexible!!!!!! I love kazuaki so much~~~kazuaki 最高~~

    1. @Erin: I believe she’ll be really happy to know she inspires you so much :D Keep drawing and one day you’ll be a great artist like she is too!

  2. @ponytale:
    Ugh. How horrible D:
    Yeah… I just wanted a not-at-home-printed Kuroshitsuji poster and wanted to buy the magazine and then the shipping was like someone stepping on my heart. >,>
    Nippon-Export doesn’t seem too expensive with shipping though, they sell Jap doujins, artbooks, magazines and Jap Manga (Including the Number manga <3 )

    SAL huh? Well I'll try it once ^^
    As for clumsy postmen, my parents and I had problems with the bank because of them :/
    Also when I bought something from bodyline ((Online) Goth+Goth Loli store) we payed shipping and we had to pay it once again. (FFFFFFF-)

    Haha, I can't buy everything, so I just keep it with the cheaper and portable PSP versions. I don't have much money and my parents would get mad at me for buying the same game twice ^^"
    Portable is just more fun for me. (Since I travel kinda long with the bus and many teachers are sick often)
    Well, If it's not too much extra money I'd buy the Limited editions for sure then! Well, there always are downloads for when you're broke! ^^
    Fufufu, yes they are…. It is pointless to resist D: -cant resist-

    Omerta… I forgot all about it D: Guess I'll download it, see if I like it and then buy it… since I will spend MUCH money this year (Ugh. Poor fujoshi bank accounts. XD) also I'm not really old enough to play R-18 games so my parents wouldn't be happy to find them… then again, they don't care about my mangas and aren't interested (Pfft, Junjou Romantica is in there, Sakura Gari, a smutty BL novel, the Okane ga Nai OVA 1 and 2 DVD, some more smutty and fluffy BL manga… yeah, they'revery hard to find even between 50 other mangas and if you don't know mangas. LOL)
    I might get my parents to approve of buying R-18 games when I turn 16 (in July) though, considering the legal age for porn in the Netherlands is 16. (Shota is forbidden. That's the only shitty thing about the law here.)

    PS: I've recently been lurking on Sankaku complex (Ever since the ban of school uniforums in manga) I saw which animes were popular and I went "What the hell is this shit?!"
    Moe and panty shot/pantsu anime seem to be popular. Like always. Shiki just finished, are there any good animes out there except for starry sky atm? (Not that I have time to watch them anyway.)

    1. @Nipah-Nyaa: yeah x_x I didn’t expect it to be so expensive. Okie~ I’ll explore Nippon-Export too. SAL takes longer (1-3 weeks) but if you’re not in a rush, you can give it a try.

      Is it due to custom taxes? Cos over here if we import items cost over a certain total, the taxes will come into the picture.

      PSP/other portable versions are good! There are times I wished I could play the PC versions while travelling. I don’t have a PSP console yet tho.

      Well, most parents will flip if they knew what their children are up to. The internet makes these things so easy to find :P As for manga and such lol~ the covers are deceiving! XD

      School uniforms are banned? In R-rated content right? I haven’t been following the developments closely. I really like Shiki anime too :) but the past and current season, I’m kinda busy so I didn’t get to watch much except for Starry Sky and the atrocity that is Togainu no Chi anime (T_T)

      You can try Otome Yokai Zakuro (by Hoshino Lily) and Star Driver. I heard good things about them :)

  3. @ponytale
    No problem ^^ Gfantasy is the mag kuroshitsuji is published in.
    Yeah sometimes I’m wondering if they do it on purpose to bother foreigners >.>
    CDJapan is less expensive. Well the book is pretty heavy indeed and with EMS it’s around 70 euros… (T ^ Tlll) I might take the cheapest service or just try to get my parents to pay some of the shipping costs :/

    There are more than one upcoming starry sky PSP games?! 0___0
    Hmm, I’ll buy Winter for sure, and will try to get the other 3 too, as for limited ore normal edition, it depends on the difference, What’s so different about the limited edition?

    I wonder if I’ll still have money left for DMMD seeing as how much I want to buy D:

    1. @Nipah-Nyaa: Icic that Gfantasy magazine is probably very thick and heavy too. I had a shock at the EMS shipping cost when I imported Slyph comic magazines because I wanted the HiroC mascot straps (T-T) and I couldn’t cancel the orders.

      My suggestion is to choose SAL for books. So far it’s quite reliable and you pay less than half of EMS. There was once a SAL package that went to my neighbour but that’s because of our local postman error ^^;;

      Oh~ if it’s only PSP, upcoming is only “Starry Sky in Winter” ^^ Not counting the upcoming PC fan disks. Limited edition usually comes with a small art/ character sketch collection + extra Drama CD. It’s more for collectors. Game content-wise normal and limited are the same. I don’t have so much $$ to buy all the games + drama cds OTL, so I only have the PC 1st press version of Autumn game and selected CDs. Honeybee is an expert in creating temptations (T_T) *resist resist*

      Yeah I have to consider reserving some cash for DMMd and omerta (preordered) as well as CDs, figures and goods. It looks like this is another year of bleeding bank accounts too.

    1. @Nipah-Nyaa: no worries :D thanks for delurking and commenting! I’ve not heard of Gfantasy but 6 times! o_O Amazon Japan shipping is crazy for overseas buyers too because they use only courier service. That’s why I don’t buy from them unless absolutely necessary *_* I hope the shipping choices and rates are better at CDJapan for you. But it is partly expensive due to the sheer weight and size of the artbook. I chose SAL to save on the shipping :P

      Are you referring to the upcoming PSP games? Or the older ones? Are you thinking of getting the Limited editions or normal edition?

  4. Why, this looks very lovely.
    I’ve been stalking your blog for a while now and got into starry sky a few days ago (LOL) and I was wondering where you got that artbook. Is it only on amazon? (Their shipping costs are…. horrifying, Gfantasy’s shipping costs were about 6 times as much as the magazine cost itself)
    This is worth my money, anyway I have to wait till my Limited Edition of True Blood Portable arrives, and I ordered the original japanese Number mangas…. yeah. I can’t really buy much at the moment XD
    Just wondering about if I should buy this artbook or the Stary Sky PSP games first…. (*’ _ ‘*”)

  5. Uhm-mm, I agree there. And you are right on the artbook comment, I had almost forgotten the two situations almost overlapped time-wise.

    It’s rather hard to convey tone online, specially with a foreign language, so I thought my comment on a later post could have been seen as a bit of “trolling”.
    I’ve really excited with the figures, mostly because the prototype they showed so far as a more dynamic feel to it (kinda like the Stein Gate’s figure, with the ring around) and, hopefully, being made by Altair, it’ll also look very pleasing!

    Nitta Youka did the right thing: it was either lay low and let things be resolved or make a huge fuzz and probably be remembered not only copying stuff but also for attitude :C

    1. @Oru: yeah people are generally forgetful and fans definitely want them to be back, so it is a smart thing to admit their mistakes (if they did it) and move on :)

      This year will be another exciting year for male figures! :D

  6. Uhm, but that’s the point, artists ( and by art, I’m not just meaning drawn art, I mean all types) only have “license” of a product to a certain degree, depending on it. Take fashion designers per instance: most people don’t and can’t “own” a design and that’s why places like H&M or ZARA ( Idk if you have these where you live) can make replicas from high french couture for so cheap. Apparently, when it comes to utilitary goods, copyrights laws or royalties all over the world work differently.

    I did see that she blatantly traced some images and that is not correct, however (from what I saw) she is in no way a Youka Nitta: a watch/scale/balance, the design of an outside view of an house…
    It was an error of hers, definitely, but the whole issue was blown out of proportions OR at least that’s the scenario that was passed out.
    Also, I’m sorry if I sounded rude or like I wanted to cause a discussion, it was more of a pouring of the soul since I got really scared when they said there was a chance of them never putting for commerce the Starry sky figures ^^’

    1. @Oru: Yeah, I think its magnified because she is successful and relatively well-known. It’s reality. I mean we don’t see people kicking a big fuss out of lesser-known mangaka who made the same mistakes. And the issue became really major during the same period she was releasing her artbook which also contained the copyrighted materials in question. I believe the issue has been resolved by paying the licensing and so on though. Correct me if I’m wrong :)

      No worries. It’s a good discussion ^^ I’m glad she can continue current works and have her characters becoming figures :D

      Even Nitta Youka is quietly making a comeback with her new works after laying low during these two years.

  7. Aaah, you know, when I first saw it I thought: “Meh, I can live without it”… Until I saw your review ; n ; *ordered already*

    I thought it was really horrible how they nitpicked at her art and copywrite laws and how a lot of things popped up from 4-chan ( or 2-chan, can’t remember). Worse, how the term “plagiarism” got so blurred…
    Artists who aren’t complete abstractionists always base their work on a portion of reality. That’s why when you see a scissor you know it is a scissor and when you see a lamp you know it is a lamp: they keep their design. It’s only natural while doing background works for people to get inspiration from real buildings, real cars, in short, from reality.
    So a lot of the drama was really more like a “vendetta” that went srz bussiness because, for Japanese industries, everything IS srz bussiness ; C

    1. @Oru: I’ve been resisting it at first but after my friend sigma showed me hers and I had to buy it too :3 It is really awesome!

      I think some of the main gripes of the issue is that she used some stockphoto samples as the backgrounds of her art and did not pay for the license to use the images. And those artworks were printed and mass produced for commercial gains. Image licensing can be tricky. Because when it comes to commercial use, the original creators of the image should be entitled to some form of payment. As for tracing backgrounds… it’s probably debatable but still… think about it this way, how would you feel if you were the original creator? :P

      I believe she may not be aware of copyright consequences and it’ll be a lesson learned. I’m glad the issue is resolved. And as we all can see, she has real talent and she’ll continue to get work and give us beautiful and creative artworks in the future :)

  8. I only just got the artbook a week ago. It’s so nice~ Do you know the name for Gloria Academy Series in kanji/romanji? I’ve been searching for novel’s with her art but only found Rakuen no Uta.

    All the pictures with the blonde guy in blue shirt and whitehaired guy with eyepatch reminds me of Lamento. Do you know which novel they are from? Since almost 80 pages on them she must like them alot ^_^;

    1. @Yumii: XD It’s beautiful right? Gloria Academy Series is written by 桐嶋リッカ. Do a search for the titles in Amazon Japan below:

      As for the other novel, I think it is not a BL work. It’s a long running fantasy series レンズと悪魔 by 六家光 :)

  9. Amazing! I’ve always dreamed of owning my favorite artists’ artbooks! This illustrator’s is stunning! Just like your friend said, I too will end up staring at every piece and never get tired of them. They are so inspiring, and seeing the pictures made me itch to draw something! *__*

    I’ve seen a few artbooks in stores, and GOD THEY ARE EXPENSIVE. Even in the shady small bookstores sell them for 50 bucks and above! ;__;

    thanks for sharing this! <3

    1. @Asato-kun: yeah very beautiful works! A sweet addition to the bookshelf :3

      @hirochan: Go draw something! :D It’s inspiring to see such lovely artwork. Well books are heavy to ship, that’s why they’re so expensive. Usually by the time they get here from Japan, their prices will cost about 30~40% more than their listed prices.

  10. I am currently waiting on the delivery of this book. I’m pretty darn excited about it! (You here that mailman? Please bring me my book!) I was on the fence until I read the post where you were talking about how amazingly huge the book was.

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