Friday, June 11, 2010

This week---No podcast, but a great book review!

Because all the Ninjas are too hunkered down under the weight of deadlines this week, we were unable to get a show recording together, but rest assured that we will be back in the saddle every shortly with an all-new episode.

In lieu of a podcast, Jeremy thought he would offer up a review of the latest title to find its way to his book shelf...

Hey there, my fellow Ninjas---

I hope folks won't mind me pointing listeners in the direction of a most excellent book I've recently acquired.

James Gurney is the creator of the ever-popular Dinotopia series of books, and more recently authored an instructional book on realistic illustration entitled, " Imaginative Realism-How To Paint What Doesn't Exist".
For those of you who have not looked at this book, I would like to offer my thoughts and high praise for what I feel is one of the best treatments of the subject I have yet seen.

While many instructional books are available on the art of fantasy illustration, few have proven to be as valuable and as well-executed as Mr Gurney's.
The author is a master of his craft and has once again proven his willingness to teach those who aspire to follow in his foot steps.

Mr Gurney's intellectual curiosity and his intense research of the techniques of the master painters and golden age illustrators informs each chapter along with examples of the various principles as seen in his own expansive body of work.

His section on composition is worth the price of admission all on its own.
He introduces terms to the reader such as "spoke-wheeling", " shapewelding", "counterchange", and " repoussoir".
Techniques to help focus one's compositions are offered with an enjoyable and accessible writing style that both beginners and more experienced artists will appreciate.

He offers advice on how to gather and generate reference for your imaginative work to help create verisimilitude when depicting even the most outlandish subject.

The book concludes with overviews of various illustrative disciplines and some excellent step-by-step description of painting procedures.

The bottom line for this reader is that it is fast proving an invaluable resource.
I am already planning to apply many of the concepts found in this book to my own contract work.

I think those who aspire to more realistic modes of illustration should have this book in their studios whether they be digital painters or traditionalists.

Get it from your local library or, if you are into more permanent ownership---
Check it out at your favorite local book store or hit the internet with credit card at the ready.

To learn more about the artist and his work, he maintains a very informative and entertaining blog called, " Gurney Journey". I make sure to head over there every week for a good read and I think you will enjoy it as well.

If you do pick up the book, let us know what you think in the comments section of this very article !

Also, if there is a book you think your fellow Ninjas should check out, don't hesitate to share your suggestions here on the mountain.

Thanks for reading, folks. We'll be back soon with a new podcast episode to share!

New episodes of your favorite illustration podcasts are available at The Visual Artist Podcast Network...


Alonso said...

see, if you guys had one of those amazon widget thingy's on the side then you'd get a little piece if anyone went and bought this book from you're recommendation.

Anyway, I just recently finished mining Gurney's blog, a TON of useful stuff over there, I have the impression that the book is all the good parts of the blog plus more, but I haven't managed to get my hands on one to check it out yet.

Jan said...

Sooo, yeah. I've had this in my wishlist on bookdepository for a while. So, I'll get it then, if you say so, Jeremy. ;P

Jan said...

Jeremy, what is that "porn joke" jingle thing?!
I've been humming it the whole afternoon and it's driving me crazy!
Is it downloadable as an mp3 somewhere?

Cacodaemonia said...

Excellent recommendation, Jeremy! I picked up Imaginative Realism about 2 weeks ago, and couldn't put it down. It's full of so much great information, presented in a very reader-friendly (but not dumbed-down) manner. I'm constantly amazed and inspired by the amount of effort and thought James Gurney puts into every painting. I'd really like to try making maquettes for my own reference in the future.

I do have a book recommendation, now that you mention it. Over the winter holidays I received Dr. Tobias Capwell's "The World Encyclopedia of Knives, Daggers, & Bayonets" ( It's an excellent reference for anyone who needs to draw or paint small stabbing things, and a surprisingly interesting read as well! The book has a ton of gorgeous photographs and diagrams, and deals with the history of the various types of blades as well as their construction and uses. Really fascinating. I'm considering buying the companion book on swords...

By the way, sorry I haven't been commenting much. I'm a bit behind on episodes, and you know how work can get sometimes!

Gordon Napier said...

Already got it. Very nice it is too. Something else I got this week was an illustrated classics edition of Robinson Crusoe, which has some lovely old style pictures by various artists.

John Malcolm said...

I've had this book for a while now. I have to say it's one of the most information-packed, informative books sitting in the art books section of my bookshelves.

He's also got another book in development called 'Color and Light'.

John Malcolm said...
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John Malcolm said...

Here's the Amazon (UK) link if you want to preorder (like I just did)

(posted the link this time LOL)

Mike Burns said...
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