When word first came down that a compilation of INO‘s work was in the pipeline I was ecstatic. The reclusive artist who has gone without a website update for over four years was finally reaching out to his fans! As the book’s content was gradually revealed it became clear that it would be an epic tome indeed; just what is in store in this treasure trove that contains much of the master eroge artist’s life work? Read on to find out:

Title: Velvet Skin ~ INO Art Works
Author: INO (Wikipedia) (Erogamescape)
Release Date: November 17th, 2007
Pages: 208 A4 (full color)
Publisher: Core Magazine
ISBN 13: 978-4862522399
Price: 2,940 JPY (tax included)
Availability: Amazon.co.jp, Mangaoh, Book1, Nippon Export
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Heisei Democracy [ERO] Artbook Review: Velvet Skin ~ INO Art Works

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Velvet Skin contains a compilation of promotional art and game CG from the following games:

In addition to rare promotional art (such as telephone cards and posters) and production sketches done specifically for individual games, the book contains original illustrations done for game and anime magazines, his personal website, and Mink (before he went freelance). It also contains a detailed step by step documentation of the production process behind the book’s cover.

In terms of sheer volume of material as well as quality and comprehensiveness of presentation it’s impossible for me to find fault with this book; I have little interest in INO games prior to Izayoi no Hanayome so as far as I’m concerned the best of his material is compiled here. The book contains dozens of images I hadn’t seen before, and there’s sure to be something new here for both INO completionists and casual fans alike.

If I had to raise one criticism it would be that the book contains no new material beyond the cover. There are no fold-out posters or original illustrations penned, so if you’re expecting to find work here that was never before published you’ll be disappointed. This is only a minor drawback though, and certainly no reason not to buy the book; short of picking up the actual games this is the best chance we’ll have to show our support for the artist, and I can’t recommend it highly enough.

As a final note of interest, for those with some Japanese reading skill the book is sprinkled with observations on the artistic process and development of images and character concepts from the various games, and it makes for some fascinating reading. Toward the end of the volume INO explains that he’s been so busy with his game work that he hasn’t had time to branch out into other fields, though he’s been approached multiple times to work on novel covers, manga, and doujinshi.

He notes that he’s become so used to doing collaborative work that his original chops are a bit rusty, but would like to some day move on and challenge other arenas. Regardless of where his work appears in the future, I for one will be following it with zeal, and I eagerly await the promised day a few years down the road when we’ll see another volume of his exquisite art just as appealing as this one.

For those who missed it initially, our creator spotlight on INO can be found here.