Archive for category Subject: Fantasy art

Dracopedia || William O’Connor

The subtitle, “A Guide to Drawing the Dragons of the World” indicates that this is aimed squarely at those who buy completely into fantasy art. Dragons aren’t real, at least, not in the real world.

However, if you think I don’t know what I’m talking about, then you’ll probably like this and won’t be too bothered about the rather fussy page borders that, for me, detract from the main event. You’ll also be glad of the Biology, Behaviour and History notes that accompany each species.

Personally, I’m just going to creep into a corner and cry, even if it does mean my fire goes out.

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Dracopedia – the great dragons || William O’Connor

As a heckler once said when Mike and Bernie Winters played the Glasgow Empire, “Christ, there’s two of them”.

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Drawing for Fantasy Artists || Socar Myles

When a book gives itself the strapline, “All the art techniques & shortcuts you need to master fantasy art”, it’s setting the bar as high as it can get. So it’s a delight to be able to say that this one clears it with room to spare.

I’ve frequently said that fantasy art isn’t my field, but there’s a lot more to this than just elves and grottoes and, as a manual on drawing, particularly the human figure, it’s spot-on. In fact, it’s one of the best drawing books I’ve ever seen. The author has a sensitive style that captures personality to perfection, bridging the gap between super-detail and soft-edge in a way that suits her subject matter ideally.

As well as the figures and landscapes you’d expect, Socar Myles looks at linear and non-linear perspective and the structure of the human body, as well as how to capture movement and develop character. There’s an enormous amount here and I’d have no hesitation in recommending it to any artist, even if they know less about fantasy art than I do.

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Dragonworld || Pamela Wissman & Sarah Laichas

Subtitled: 120 dragons with advice and inspiration and 49 international artists.

OK, regular readers will know by now what I think of fantasy art. That said, I absolutely love this book. Leaving aside the obvious question a non-specialist reader would have – who knew there were 49 dragon artists in the world? – it’s a homage to something a lot of people take very seriously and it’s beautifully produced. Even I can see the point, not least because of the amount of good humour there is. As well as big fierce Germanic dragons, Chinese dragons, manga dragons, there are some that are just downright cute and there’s a wonderful cartoon from Ursula Vernon that I want on my wall.

I can’t tell you about the quality of the art, though it looks pretty good to me, but I can say that this is about the most comprehensive book you’re likely to find on what (surely?) has to be a specialised subject and that the production won’t let you down.


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The Explorer’s Guide to Drawing Fantasy Creatures || Emily Fiegenschuh

Even if you don’t want to paint dragons, chimeras or a marsh nymph, the clear instructions and block diagrams here actually give rather a good grounding in animal drawing. You need to ignore or adapt the odd tail and maybe tone down some of the fins, but there’s no doubting that this is well done and achieves what it sets out to do.

Actually, a lot of fantasy and manga guides seem to be well-produced and I wonder whether it has something to do with the fact that their artists have to think more about their subjects. Interesting. General authors should take note.


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Drawing & Painting Mermaids || Elaine Hamer

This beautifully produced book even arrived with a band round it to make sure it came in perfect condition. There’s no doubt that it’s been a labour of love, but my immediate question is why this treatment (I’ve never seen it before, at least, not on a review copy) has been reserved for a book on mermaids. I mean, it’s an eighteen quid hardback, which rather suggests the publisher believes there’s a huge and enthusiastic market out there. I know fantasy art is popular, but they haven’t done this with any of their other titles, so why this one?

There’s no doubting the quality of the work or the production here and the book is utterly comprehensive and I must admit I do love it because it’s so good just as a book. I’m also quite sure that, if what you’ve been looking for is a book on mermaids, this is going to be the definitive one. I’d really like to say that it could help you just with figure drawing, but the truth is it’s so locked up in its subject that you’d have to strip away so many layers that this aspect isn’t really an option.

I’m going to recommend this, even though I don’t know anything about the subject, because it just feels so good.

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How to Draw & Paint Science Fiction Art || Geoff Taylor

This particular branch of fantasy art is highly specialised and there’s more to it than can really be covered in a single volume. However, this introductory guide makes a very good job of introducing landscapes, buildings, characters and visions. There’s a good variety of subjects from the technical (machines and robots) to figures, animals and aliens. Techniques used include traditional pen & pencil as well as digital work, but it’s probably best that you have a basic grounding in your tools as this is more about working with them than learning to work with them. Geoff Taylor has worked for Disney Interactive Studios and has also done work for Microsoft and his experience and expertise really show.

This is an excellent production and to be recommended on that basis alone.


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