I neglected to do any research when I first noticed the art book Hetalia Axis Powers Art Book Arte Stella listed on Amazon Japan, but I placed an order anyway. Months later, I'd forgotten the release date, so it was a pleasant and amusing surprise to see the oversized box I would expect for a limited edition art book, along with an interesting selection of bonus items for Arte Stella.
Hetalia Axis Powers Art Book Arte Stella is more expensive than your average art book, coming in at a pre-tax price of ￥3800. But that price includes the A4-sized art book with 112 pages, a B2-sized double-sided newly drawn poster, a sticker sheet, and a decorated tin with a set of circular playing cards.
The art book has no real title page or end page, it starts out on whichever side you choose; flipping in one direction are illustrations for the Axis Powers, and in the other direction you're shifting through the characters from the Allied Forces. It's intentionally laid out this way, with the index in the very center of the book where the two sides converge. I photographed in the Axis Powers direction, starting out with several pages of illustrations of Italy, Japan and Germany.
The illustrations of Italy, Germany, and Japan cover about 30-pages, at which point it moves into pictures of the historical Axis Powers like Austria, Hungary, Prussia, Greece and Spain. Each of the characters receives at least one page of art work, although a couple receive more.
The center of the art book includes a 'How to Draw' section that spends eight pages going over the coloring steps for one illustration. Honestly, it seems a bit excessive, and I would have rather seen more illustrations for the same space it occupied. After the 'How to Draw' portion is another eight pages of monochrome arts and sketches, done in a notebook sketch kind of style, with light hue shading. The index is another six pages, at which point you hit the end of the Allied Forces section.
Starting from the back cover (technically) is the beginning of the Allied Forces section, which starts out with both individual and group pictures of America, England, France, Russia, and China. This section is covered over 28-pages before it moves into the rest of the historical Allies of World War II, which in the art book includes Liechtenstein, Hong Kong, Poland, Lithuania, Sweden, Finland and many others.
The Allied Forces section ends with adorable chibi illustrations over three pages before it reaches the center index. Hetalia Axis Powers Art Book Arte Stella is excellent as an art book, but it could have been cheaper in my opinion, as I'll likely never have any use for the playing cards, stickers or poster ^^;