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Art of Atari - book in progress and need help

atari art 2600 book

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#1 lapetino OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jan 8, 2014 3:15 PM

Hi, all.

Some of you know me on this forum. In general I lurk a lot, but I've been part of this scene for quite a few years, and am very passionate about Atari. I wanted to tell everyone about a project that has been in the works for a couple years already -- to share what we're doing, and to hopefully enlist some help here in the community.

I am researching and writing a book about the Art of Atari. We are focusing on the art, illustration, and design of Atari -- specifically and mostly the home console part. I've interviewed more than a dozen artists, graphic designers and others who worked at/for Atari back in the day, as well as Nolan himself. It's my opinion that the artwork of Atari was more than just a way for the games to stand out on the shelves, or to help sell cartridges and consoles. It's art in its own right, and has a unique tie to the company, the games, and the memories of our youth. And unlike today, the amazing art helped inform the gameplay, because it served to augment the imagination when combined with much-simpler graphics of the time. I want to highlight the unsung heroes of Atari -- artists, designers, art directors -- and show their important and unique contributions to the games we love.

My team and I have been collecting production slides, negatives, and in some cases shooting original artwork owned by some in our community here. I was able to acquire some negatives and slides that were once used by Atari for creation of their printed materials, and I've also gotten scans of work from the artists themselves. We are trying hard to gather as much production-quality art as possible, to make sure that this final book is big, comprehensive, beautiful, and shows the artwork in the best possible way. (And to answer the question, yes, we need a higher quality for printing than just scanned boxes, though we'd done a lot of that as well for context within the book.)

So, we could really use your help. If you have original artwork (or know someone who does), or slides and negatives, or unique production sketches (industrial design will also be a part of the book), I'd love to talk with you. We are also looking for other large, printed pieces, like unique posters, mobiles, flyers, etc that show off the art and graphic design of Atari. Still looking for high-res scans of some of the rarer Atari games (think Crazy Climber) too. Attached are a couple samples of pieces we've gathered already. I'm also considering selling some of our duplicate negatives and slides in order to fund additional research, but I'll post about that soon.

I've already done some interviews about the topic, and here are a couple:
http://www.theverge....ual-wonderlands
http://www.edge-onli...-in-the-blanks/

We are in talks with 2 different publishers, and even though the bankruptcy of current Atari has slowed us down in terms of licensing, we're confident all of the legal and business parts of this will be buttoned up, and that we'll have a solid deal soon.

So, thanks for listening, and let me know if you're willing or able to lend a hand. I'd love for this part to be a bit of a community effort, and I'll happily give public credit in the final book to anyone who is able to help us in even the smallest of ways. I'm making this book for all of us who love Atari and want to see these great memories and art preserved. Thanks!

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  • atari-art-low-res.jpg


#2 save2600 OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jan 8, 2014 3:29 PM

Awesome project! Not sure if this is entirely what you had in mind, but a large, hard cover, coffee table styled book filled with the artwork, info and interviews would be extremely cool. No matter what, this will be a no brainer instant purchase and will be looking forward to the final product. :)

#3 swampjoe OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jan 8, 2014 4:01 PM

Right, i wish you luck in your task and be sure that i´ll buy it.

I´ll follow this topic for updates.



#4 PFL OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jan 8, 2014 5:05 PM

Good luck!  Sounds like an insta-buy to me. :)



#5 Skarro OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jan 8, 2014 5:16 PM

Awesome!  I have long wished someone would take on a project like this.  I love all the old Atari box art (as well as many of the others - Activision, Intellivision, etc).

 

Sorry I can't provide any leads on artwork, but you can definitely count me in as a purchaser of the book.

 

 



#6 Special Teams OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jan 8, 2014 5:24 PM

Definitely in for this book.  I would also buy prints of box art if made avialable as they would be very nice framed and displayed in the game room.



#7 Allan ONLINE  

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Posted Wed Jan 8, 2014 7:55 PM

Fantastic. I can't wait for this book. I see you have a copy of 5200/2600 Super baseball. Hopefully you will have a full page copy of it in the book. I've been trying to find one for years. Also I hope you guys include some of the unused artwork like the Tempest painting and maybe some stuff we haven't seen yet. I wish I had some artwork to share but all I have are posters, not original artwork or slides.

 

Allan



#8 ferghead OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jan 9, 2014 7:12 AM

The podcast I do doesn't have a long reach, but I will talk about this next episode; at the very least it will get people excited about this project!



#9 TPA5 ONLINE  

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Posted Thu Jan 9, 2014 8:43 AM

That sounds like an awesome project mate! Can't wait to buy a copy



#10 lapetino OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jan 9, 2014 10:07 AM

Awesome project! Not sure if this is entirely what you had in mind, but a large, hard cover, coffee table styled book filled with the artwork, info and interviews would be extremely cool. No matter what, this will be a no brainer instant purchase and will be looking forward to the final product. :)


That's pretty much exactly what we have in mind!

#11 lapetino OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jan 9, 2014 10:08 AM

The podcast I do doesn't have a long reach, but I will talk about this next episode; at the very least it will get people excited about this project!


Thanks, that would be great. Let me know if I can help in any way with that.

And everyone, thanks so much for all of the kind words, support, and encouragement. It's very much appreciated. :)

Edited by lapetino, Thu Jan 9, 2014 10:08 AM.


#12 strudders OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jan 21, 2014 5:01 AM

Hi Tim - just a left-field suggestion/question:

In your work for the book would your use of the artwork extend to their use in other publications ?

Something I think would be very popular is an Atari calendar with a piece of artwork used per month.

Just an idea. I'm sure it would be a popular item in the community.



#13 lapetino OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jan 21, 2014 9:22 AM

Hi Tim - just a left-field suggestion/question:
In your work for the book would your use of the artwork extend to their use in other publications ?
Something I think would be very popular is an Atari calendar with a piece of artwork used per month.
Just an idea. I'm sure it would be a popular item in the community.


That's a good idea, strudders. It's something we've thought about, and it will just depend on the licensing issues/costs, and the final publisher. If I had my druthers, we'd do posters, licensed stuff, calendars, etc. But again, a lot of it has to do with what kind of licensing Atari will grant, and weighing the opportunity and real costs. The book is our first priority, but we are considering other options. If people have other ideas of what kind of stuff they'd potentially purchase, it would be helpful to hear it too. Thanks!

#14 Allan ONLINE  

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Posted Tue Jan 21, 2014 12:41 PM

Drool....POSTERS. That would be great. I always wanted an Atari 5200 Realsports Baseball poster. You can probably guess from the following link I'm a fan of Atari posters.

 

http://atariage.com/...rs#entry2778346

 

 

 

Allan



#15 lapetino OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jan 21, 2014 12:55 PM

Nice collection of stuff, Allan!

Yeah, posters would be awesome. We shall see what we can work out.

#16 strudders OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jan 21, 2014 3:33 PM

Personally, rather than full-sized posters I'd prefer smaller 'art prints' in a portfolio. A bit like the Ralph McQuarrie Star Wars ones (if you've ever seen those).



#17 bfstats OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jan 22, 2014 3:03 PM

An excellent project indeed, one that I'd very much like to contribute to. I presume Press Kits would be of little use to you, but I'd be happy to do hi-res scans of what I have if you think it will help.

 

Also, will your book include artwork for titles that were never released? Rumored games are, in my opinion, more historically significant since none of us were able to get our hands on something that we could read about but not play. The book could help fill that "void".

 

In any case, count on me to buy it when you publish!



#18 lapetino OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jan 22, 2014 5:03 PM

strudders, I hear you on the art prints. That's a good idea. Do you have a link to the McQuarrie ones you're talking about?

bfstats, thanks so much! The press kits could be very interesting, depending on what they contain. We are also focusing on the graphic design of Atari, so they could be helpful. High-res scans would be amazing -- thanks!

We will definitely be including unreleased game art/game info. I can think of at least a handful of pieces (off the top of my head) that we have already that will go in the book -- Frog Pond, some Dukes of Hazzard, and unused versions of existing games as well. PM me and we can work out how to get files sent easily.

Appreciate all the support, everyone!

#19 Greg2600 OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jan 22, 2014 5:56 PM

YES YES YES!  This is a book that's been needed for years.  With the passing of late 80's/90's cover artist Greg Martin last year, I was thinking, somebody needs to write about video game artwork. 



#20 dubxcube OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jan 23, 2014 12:11 AM

Perhaps an additional section highlighting some of the homebrew artwork from after the original "end" took place would be good to. I hi Juno First, Thrust, Princess Rescue, Ature, cave in, Dungeon, four-play, Chetiry, star castle arcade, BoulderDash, Blinky goes up, etc... all have exceptional art in their own right.

#21 lapetino OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jan 23, 2014 8:52 AM

Hey, dubxcube. Totally agree that some great art has come out of the homebrew scene, but it's a little beyond the scope of what we're doing with the book. We're really trying to recapture the magic of the original Atari via the artwork, and the latter-day homebrews (and this community!) are their own unique, special thing. Maybe another book?

#22 strudders OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jan 23, 2014 9:43 AM

Hi Lapetino,

 

The best picture I found from a quick search was this ended ebay listing:

 

http://www.ebay.com/...=p2047675.l2557

 

They had these for all the movies and were a mixture of pre-production paintings and matte reproductions. Very nice indeed for SW geeks.

 

My thought is that Atari art prints like this would be ready for framing and a nice size. Also just very nice for appreciating the 'naked' artwork on it's own.

 

Looking forward to the book anyhow. Just random ideas. Cheers !



#23 StormSurge OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jan 23, 2014 1:25 PM

I was just pointed to the Verge article today & you can add me to the list of us who will be buying this as soon as it's available.  Good luck!



#24 thund3r OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jan 23, 2014 1:33 PM

This sounds like an amazing Idea, are you going for a small print run of the book to start with or going via a larger publisher?



#25 lapetino OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jan 23, 2014 2:07 PM

This sounds like an amazing Idea, are you going for a small print run of the book to start with or going via a larger publisher?


Our Plan A is to sign with a large publisher. Are discussing it with two different ones, so we'll see how that pans out.





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