Preorder Elysium the Art of Daarken

Preorders through the 3DTotal site are finally open! If you preorder through 3DTotal’s site, the first 100 people will receive 3, 8.5×11 signed prints! Preorders from other sites like Amazon have been available for awhile now, but they will not come with signed prints, only preorders through 3DTotal will receive them (and only while supplies last).

As some of you are already aware, the book is on sale in Singapore. Since the book was printed in China, Singapore was able to get the book first. I know the book can be found at Basheer and also the Kinokuniya on Orchard Road. So if you live near Singapore and you don’t want to wait to order the book, you should be able to pick one up. The book will be available in the UK on approximately October 22nd, and in the US in November. The book will be available worldwide, so don’t worry! I know 3DTotal ships worldwide.

Up next is a video preview of the book. I actually filmed myself unboxing the book when I first received it, but the lighting ended up being really poor. Instead I decided to film it again with better lighting. Amazon has a few preview shots of the interior of the book and 3DTotal has a preview of the entire book, but I thought it might be nice to see the real book in action. I hope you enjoy the preview of the book, and don’t forget to preorder now since there are only 100 copies that come with prints!

Elysium – The Art of Daarken Preview from Daarken on Vimeo.

It has been an incredible journey putting together this art book. I actually began back in late 2009/early 2010. My initial plan was to self-publish the book, so I started talking to a printer. I ended up spending over a year going back and forth with the same printing company.

By fall of 2010 I started putting together the book. I really enjoy creating things and I tend to take on projects where I create everything by myself, so I created the entire book. I never realized the amount of time and effort that needed to go into creating a book. Not only did I need to create the entire layout of the book, but I needed to write the book and paint the images. Almost all of my free time went to working on my book. I had never used InDesign before, so I also had to teach myself how to use it.

The more I thought about the self-publishing route, the more I started to have doubts. One of the main issues with self-publishing is distribution. Without a distributor, I would be very limited in terms of sales. I probably wouldn’t be able to sell outside of the US due to extremely high shipping costs. I would also have to do all of the packaging and shipping myself. Would I have time to package each book and drive to the post office whenever I received an order? What if my book did well and I received 200 orders at a time? Can you imagine packaging 200 separate boxes and lugging them all to the post office?

Where in the world would I store all of the books? Most of the companies I spoke to wanted you to order a minimum of 1000 copies. How was I going to store 1000 books? They would probably arrive on huge pallets, so how would I move those into my apartment complex? I would have to take each box off and move them in one by one. If I had 1000 books and they weighed between 2-3 pounds each, that would be over a ton! I might be able to get a storage unit to store most of the books, but then I would have to pay a monthly fee for a storage unit, plus I would still have distribution problems.

There is always the print on demand option, but places like Lulu or Blurb are very expensive. I used their book calculator and I think my book would have come out to something like $60-75 per book just to make it. That meant I would have to sell it for more to make a profit. That was out of the question. I also checked out Amazons print on demand program and a few other places. I dunno, none of the options seemed very appealing to me.

Then, by some crazy coincidence, I received an e-mail from 3DTotal in August of 2011. I had been working for 3DTotal for years, so I was already good friends with them. In the e-mail they said they were interested in creating an art book with me, and they wondered what I thought about it. Funny they should ask! I already had an entire 200 page book completed when they e-mailed me.

So of course I started talking to them about the possibility of publishing my book. Sure the royalties I would receive would be minuscule compared to the self-publishing route, but they would handle all of the printing, storage, and distribution. I could also take advantage of the fact that they have distributors worldwide, so my target market would increase drastically. Plus the fact that I would be working with a professional team that is dedicated to creating top quality books really helped sway my decision. They also helped me redesign the back cover of the book, they streamlined the tutorial section, and helped me with editing.

The only problem was that I had missed their cutoff date, so I would need to wait until the following year to publish my book. Oh man, I had already spent over a year creating my book and now I would have to wait another year before it came out?

During the creation process I had to contact various clients to get their permission to put my illustrations and concepts in the book. After receiving permission from my clients and completely finishing the book, I unfortunately had to remove an entire 64 pages due to a conflict. I suddenly had to come up with 64 pages of new material.

I had already included all of the client work I was allowed to show, which meant I would have to come up with 64 pages of personal work. I almost never have time to create personal illustrations, so I had no idea where I was going to come up with time to create 64 pages of illustrations. 64 pages of content amounts to roughly 64-120 images. Even if I painted 1 personal painting a day on top of my other freelance work, it would take me another 2-4 months to finish. The other problem was that I had a deadline to meet with 3DTotal, so I had a limited amount of time to create the remaining 64 pages. Luckily, while I was creating content for the remaining 64 pages, some of my newer client work came out so I was able to include those in the book. I included over 100 paintings/drawings that had never been published or seen by the public before.

In the end it probably worked out because it forced me to create a lot of personal paintings that aren’t found anywhere else.

I had a lot of fun creating this book and I would like to thank everyone who had a helping hand in its creation. I hope you enjoyed this little preview of my book. Don’t forget to preorder from 3DTotal today! Thanks again for looking.

13 Replies to “Preorder Elysium the Art of Daarken”
  1. Man, you did the whole book by yourself before 3Dtotal contacted you? That’s insane -by that, I mean, that’s quite the workload. -and here I thought 3Dtotal was working with you from the start.
    What artwork did you have to leave out of the book? Was it from Warhammer Online? I still enjoy the video you did of the Lich Priest.

    After reading this post, I wondered if you had originally considered looked into other book publishers such as Design Studio Press, or Flesk Publishing, to name a few. Or did you, and not find their pricing or international shipping abilities (I’m not really sure what they are myself) to your liking?
    As for future books (maybe I’m speaking too soon? :), how would you feel about doing them through kickstarter? There have been several books I’ve backed which have done really well.

    • Thanks! Yeah, it was a lot of work, haha. I’m sure 3DTotal was pretty surprised when they asked me about it and I told them I already had a book completely finished. Well, it was finished until I heard I had to remove 64 pages.

      Yes, unfortunately none of my Warhammer art is in the book.

      I looked at other publishers, but I didn’t really speak to any of them. I already knew 3DTotal because I had worked with them before, so I decided to go with a company I knew. I’m sure the other publishers are great, but I was already friends with the people that work for 3DTotal.

      Oh yeah, I would love to do a Kickstarter project. When I started this book I didn’t even know about Kickstarter. I actually just found out about Kickstarter earlier this year, so unfortunately I missed the boat. Maybe next time.

  2. This is will be my first artbook purchase and pre-order, when I saw the page count I was expecting another $50 book. Needless to say, I was shocked when I saw the price you decided on and all I can say is thank you. I have yet to buy any art books because I find it hard to justify the cost when most of the work is view-able online.

    Its a shame that the Warhammer work will be missing, some of my favorite work from you is Warhammer concepts.

    I look forward to the hours I will spend studying from this book. I am glad you included some of your figure drawings as well, I always enjoy seeing different approaches to the human form.

    Only downside is, I did end up ordering it from Amazon as the shipping from 3DTotal cost over half what the book cost. So, I will miss out on the signed prints but it is still definitely worth the cost. Thanks again for putting out such an awesome book.

  3. Wow Daarken, you never cease to amaze…this book looks awesome. I was planning on ordering the book from 3DTotal first thing this morning, but got swamped with work and completely forgot until I got home from school tonight (I’m an illustration major at Art Center, wooo!). My order is in now, and I’m crossing my fingers I made it within the first 100. …but I won’t be holding my breath or anything — The entire realm knows of your power and I’m sure the book is going to do great. Congrats on this accomplishment, I’ll always be a huge fan.

  4. Hi Daarken
    Just ordered and got in the first 100(Yay!), had to have it confirmed by 3d total support cos it would have been cheaper to buy here in the U.K. 🙂
    I hope this sells really well for you bud,you deserve it with all the free resources/ tutorials you provide.Glad your really busy, but missing the tutorials you did on Enliighten 🙁 hope you get some free time to do some at some stage:)
    Congrats on the book!!!!!

  5. The book preview looks great! Thanks for sharing your experience for creating the book as well. Can’t wait to flip through my own copy but I’ll probably have to wait til x-mas rolls around and hope Santa’s been kind, haha. 😀


  6. Hey Daarken! Congratulations, the book seems to be great.
    I’ll have to buy, because I want it in my collection!

  7. Daarken – just wanted to say first and foremost congratulations on the book, I got my copy yesterday and it has blown me away so far! It’s a thing of beauty and I love the matte finish on the cover, as well as of course the excellent print quality inside. I own a lot of art books and this is the first one I’ve seen with such a candid and insightful degree of writing to go with the amazing images: lots of books of this nature are very much ‘image based’ and don’t give an indication of how each piece was created.

    I’m an aspiring digital artist myself and your willingness to share technique in the book (and on the Enliighten site) is so appreciated, so thanks. I’ve learned so much from you already and look forward to examining the book more closely over the coming weeks! Congrats again on such a great addition to my library, and thank you.

  8. Foreward by Kekai?? After hearing him talk at Gnomon, I’d love to read what he says! haha!

    Speaking of Gnomon, I recognized you sitting during the break with your gf right before the Kekai lecture. I almost had a heart attack.

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