I've really enjoyed the Ghibli "Art of..." books published by Viz. I'm a cartoonist and I keep the books near my work area for quick reference. The Art of the Wind Rises is no exception, I'm glad to have it on my shelf. However, I found it lacking when compared to the others, especially the Art of Ponyo. To me the Ponyo book really set a high standard with a good balance of storyboards, preliminary work, backgrounds, composite images from the film and interviews. This book doesn't manage to find that kind of balance.
First of all there are almost no storyboards, in fact I only saw one page of five storyboard drawings which is used twice, and it feels like far fewer concept sketches than previous books. For me getting to see the preliminary work is the attraction of these books, not final images from the movie. Also, some key scenes from the movie, most notably the outstanding earthquake scene, feel like they barely made it into the book. The actual earthquake only gets five images on a two page spread including one (very beautiful) background painting and four final images from the movie. The post earthquake chaos however gets several pages which is nice since there are so many great crowd shots. Maybe the lack of balance is due to the massive amount of content they had to cover? Maybe there are so few storyboards to encourage people to buy the storyboard book?
With all that said, this is a big book with a lot of content. There are interviews with Yoji Takeshige, Kitaro Kosaka, Michiyo Yasuda, Atsushi Okui, Miyazaki's original project proposal, a short biography of Jiro Horikoshi and Tatsuo Hori ( Jiro in the movie is a composite of these two men) and the entire script translated from Japanese. Although the preliminary work is few and far between what is included is pretty good, including some of Miyazaki's airplane drawings. There's also an overview of the digital and photographic effects used in the movie...if you're into that kind of thing.
Overall this book is an unbalanced but nice addition to the to the series.
*Update - After reading the interviews I learned that Miyazaki actually only made a handful of concept drawings before they started production which explains why there aren't many in the book.*