Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Templar Publishing picks up SWORDS in the UK!

Templar Publishing will be printing SWORDS in the UK!


Candlewick Press will handle North America, but now I'm going overseas, to the lovely United Kingdom! :)

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Update on my second book

Well, the development cycle for my second book is starting to wind up to a finish! I recently submitted some rough text and most of the artwork to Candlewick Press. My final deadline is in September, and then the book enters the final stages of production before it ships (in the Fall of 2010).

Swords was merely a warm-up... I really got into the groove for book 2, so I hope people will enjoy this lark of fantasy that I have cooked up. It's something akin to an escapist's handbook; full of treasure, far away places, monsters and adventure. For the daydreamers of the world. :)

I can't wait to share it.

Summary of reviews and awards

I figured it's time for a little recap of some notable reviews and awards for my debut effort - Swords: An Artist's Devotion

Here is a nice little summation from the Candlewick Press website:

Swords Swords

author/illustrator: Ben Boos

An Artist's Devotion

1. Cybils Awards Shortlist
2. Children's Choice Book Award Finalist
3. ALA (American Library Association) Quick Picks for Reluctant YA Readers
4. Parents' Choice Awards Recommended
Kirkus Reviews
"Every nick, notch, decorative motif and gleaming highlight rendered in lovingly realistic detail."
Journal Inquirer
"Exquisitely detailed and realistic illustrations."
Raleigh News and Observer
Raleigh, NC circ=205,000
"Even if swords aren't your thing, they'll wow you in this book."
School Library Journal
"Boos's treatment of his subject is reverential and his artwork is incredible variety of styles, from hilts to blades to the intricate metalwork that makes each sword not just a weapon but also a work of art. It's easy to get caught up in his enthusiasm, and the right reader will spend hours poring over every loving detail. Give this to fans of history, art, or swordplay fantasies."
New York Times Book Review, The
"Exemplars of the smithy's art are depicted close to life-size, from blades hardy folk used against 'bandits and beasts' to imperial weapons thought to have had latent spirits of their own."
"This beautifully illustrated book gives concise descriptions on the history of swords, including usage and cultures...of special interest are the artistic elements of each culture's swords...detailed drawings for many of the swords show the inner workings of sword anatomy, one of the book's highlights."
Library Media Connection
"Laden with lavish visuals and minimal text. This volume is not an in-depth study of the history of swords or warfare, but a visual orgy of beautiful well-wrought swords used throughout the ages by various cultures."
Syndicated Column
"A lavishly illustrated homage"
Newton's Book News
"Illustrates the most amazing and historical swords giving you a glimpse of history through the intricate and ornate carvings and the huge variety of sword shapes throughout the centuries."
Newton's Book News
"Oversized book filled with a most unique way to learn history - through the many varied types of swords used throughout the ages. Mr. Boos has rendered the most remarkable assortment of swords which depict many different eras."
PlanetEsme (blog)
"The detail of the artwork is so textural and vivid, you can almost hear the metallic ringing of a blade pull out of the sheath, and almost feel the carefully adorned indentations, cool beneath your fingers. One of the most beautiful nonfiction books of the year."
BookKids Blog
BookKids Blog
"In what is sure to be a big hit, Swords: An Artist's Devotion presents a loving ode to the history of swordscraft and swordsmanship. The illustrations and diagrams are gorgeous, the tiny tidbits of trivia and obscure vocabulary lessons are detailed enough for the most avid fan, and the history is fascinating enough for a layman. Dipping into sword-wielding traditions through history, from those of the ninja and samurai to those of war maidens and knights of errantry, Ben Boos has created a gloriously crafted wonderland for sword enthusiasts and novices alike."
Science Fiction and Fantasy Advance Magazine Supplement
Science Fiction and Fantasy Advance Magazine Supplement
"A true devotee of swords, Ben Boos passionately brings the history of this noble weapon and its skillful masters to life, offering lavish background details and exquisite, full-color spreads illuminating swords in all their shining glory."
-------- (Diablo 3 website)
08/15/2008 (Diablo 3 website)
"Calling the book lavishly illustrated doesn't do it justice...every page in the book is a visual delight...even the pages that serve up historical information are eye candy, while the pages of pure art are poster-worthy."
Guyslitwire Blog
"The dozens of almost absurdly detailed sword illustrations (along with tons of sketches) are the star of the show here, but Boos adds a bunch of cool historical details, too."
Chivalry Today
Chivalry Today
Podcast featuring interview on Chivalry Today (episode #26),
Curled Up With A Good Kids' Book (blog)
Boos has created a stunning book visually showcasing the history and importance of one of the oldest and most respected weapons in the world.
Carol's Corner (blog)
"Not in any way, shape, or form violent...Some of the most incredibly detailed artwork I have ever seen in a children's book...I could see using this book to engage kids in books- it sure caught my boys' attention last night!"
Aptos Times
(CIRC. 15,000)
"A celebration of swords and swordsmen, this fascinating volume spans the ages."
Boys Read
"Looking for an awesome nonfiction book for a reluctant reader?...This is the coolest nonfiction book I've ever read. Swords is nothing less than a work of art."

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Art Boos

An era has ended. Goodbye dear Dad.

Art Boos

I was able to hold his hand and tell him I loved him last night, and alas, he has departed for his next adventure, sometime after my mom and I tucked him into bed. Travel well, dear Father.

Friday, May 29, 2009


I keep getting email from, and it tells me that someone signed my Classmates guestbook -- but I can't see who did it! I'm unfortunately not a member... If you happen to find this blog, and are an old classmate of mine, please feel free to contact me through this email:

In fact, feel free to contact me, no matter who you are! I'm hunkered down like a shut-in lately (finishing a second book), and I'd love to hear from you. :)

Friday, April 17, 2009

A rambling update

Phew! Life has been crazy lately! Very busy times. I'm entering the final stretch of development for my second book, and my pen has been frenetically flying! About 5 months left until the deadline, and then the work goes into that year-long production and manufacture phase before it hits the shelves. Thankfully, I'm having tons of fun, since the second book is a real lark into fantasy and the wild realms of the imagination. It's just the sort of work that makes the weeks fly by. I cannot wait to share it in the fall of 2010!

As for the first book (Swords), well, I sure stumbled upon a treat the other day. Rick Riordan, the delightful author of a whole bunch of bestsellers, has chosen Swords as one of his top 5 favorite books. Actually, this is the top five list for one of Rick's characters - Percy Jackson. Whoa... I'm blown away! Thanks Rick! :)

I also want to thank the friends who sent me pictures of my book at the Smithsonian National Gallery, in D.C.
I'm in the National Gallery!... okay, well, in the giftshop, at least ;) They have a great display of the book, with little figurines of knights and such. Very Cool!

Paths that cross: I met a wonderful person the other day, who happens to be a famous author, but who, above all, is a special and very kind soul. Her name is Justina Headley, and she has been a bright light. Justina reached out to me via correspondence and brought a ray of sunshine into my world. Thank you Justina. I was delighted to brainstorm with her a bit about the history of swords, as she is writing something very exciting on the subject. I can't wait to read the final result! I'm sure it will be a huge hit.

As always, Candlewick Press is awesome and fun to work with. I've been going over my second book with them for the last few days, and they are just fantastic pro's to work with. What a publishing house, let me tell you. They are people of the purest gold.

On a personal front, I have another bit of good news. My wife and I are expecting another baby! This will be our 4th, and I think that's a wrap on the family expansion. We've outgrown our current car as it is. :) We're not sure if the baby is a boy or a girl, and we'll let it be a surprise this time around. Just a thought ---Every time I ship a product, I seem to have another baby. Let's see- When Diablo 2 shipped, little Ben was born (1999). When the Expansion pack shipped, my daughter Ashley was born (2001). When I completed the book Swords, little Emily was born (2007). Now, there is another one on the way, to accompany my second book's completion this year. Oh my!

Bringing up the Diablo games remings me of something: The other day, I went to to buy a few more copies of my book, and I saw something I want to fix. On the marketing blurb that Amazon displays about my book, it mentions something like "Ben Boos, who worked as an illustrator and designer for Blizzard North, on the Diablo Franchise"... Though my background is in illustration and graphic design, that's not what we called this sort of work in the game biz. We graphical critters were simply called artists. Designer is a word with very different implications in game development and in print media. I am proud to have contributed for many, many years to that company, and to have designed many aspects of game-related content and such (including many swords), but I want it clear that I am not a game designer, as such is known. My friends and mentors Dave Brevik, Max and Erich Schaefer and Steig Hedlund were the high-level designers of that marvelous franchise. They were the top guys behind the play mechanics, balance and overall concept. I just got the chance to add my humble art to that dynamic canvas. :)

Speaking of art, it's back to the salt mines for me! Until the next time, be well!

Thursday, April 9, 2009


The delightful John Martin, a champion for young readers, has reviewed Swords for

Firstly, I cannot say enough to support what John is up to, and therefore to be so kindly reviewed by this organization... Wow... I am gobsmacked!

Thanks John, for all you do!

Link: Review of Swords

Children's Choice Finalist!

Swords has been picked as a Children's Choice Finalist:
The 5th and 6th grades have spoken, and they like Swords!

I am beyond happy about this. Thank you students! It isn't easy living by your creative wits sometimes, and it is always nice to see that someone is enjoying the results. :)


The final voting to pick the winners is still underway! If you are a teen or younger, and you care to vote - pick your favorite books HERE (Link to the voting page).

The finalists were determined by the votes of close to 15,000 children and teens. Thousands more will be able to cast votes for their favorite books at bookstores, schools, libraries, and at beginning today, March 16, through May 3.