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Drawing and Painting Fantasy Figures: From the Imagination to the Page Paperback – Dec 2004

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Product details

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: David & Charles (Dec. 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0715321706
  • ISBN-13: 978-0715321706
  • Product Dimensions: 21.6 x 1.1 x 27.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 185,653 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description


Review from Imagine FX - Finlay Cowan is known for producing fantasy art books and this one about character creation doesn't disappoint. --Imagine FX

About the Author

Finlay Cowan has worked as a designer for Pink Floyd since 1993, co-writing and designing the films and animations for their stage shows and website, and has worked for several other artists in the field. He bought and designed a cafe-cinema in Brick Lane, London from 1998, and founded Hinterland Films in 2001 with Nick Stone. Finlay is currently writing, directing and producing short films and books. Finlay lives in south-east London, UK.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

45 of 47 people found the following review helpful By E. Saul on 28 Nov. 2004
Format: Hardcover
Then you will DIE for this!
I first found this book in my local library. Entranced by the beautiful cover picture, I opened, expecting it to be either on watercolour techniques, or pictures of stick drawings being built up by pipes. How wrong I was!
Finlay Cowan has put his heart straight into this book. Each meticulous detail of fantasy drawings- people, equipment, events, etc- is individually categorized. It unearths depths never added to in other books- for instance, the way artists draw Dragon scales, layer by layer- and punctuates it with examples of his own work.
Every page is filled with a bestiary of fanciful imaginings, labelled to demonstrate the exact techniques- and, just to show you it CAN be done, there is a work of art from a famous fantasy artist, including the illustrator for the Lord of the Rings books.
Plus, for those people fed up with trying to get the computer to obey, the book doesn't stop on paper. The book demonstrates exactly how to succesfully use photoshop-and even how to create CGI illustrations!
If you're sick of step-by step stick drawings, this book will stick with you all the way!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Scott on 3 Dec. 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is not a book for beginners to drawing; in fact, it's not even for those who are intermediate to drawing but rather to background info on fantasy figures. Upon opening the book you will find a guide on what you need for drawing, e.g. pencil, paper ... (duh!). Then you get to the background info on fantasy figures such as possible facial expressions (rage, frowning, etc.). You get plenty of info on possible weapons, a little bit on perspective, but NO instructions on how to actually draw the things. What you can find is two to three steps and then the entire fantasy figure and you have to figure out for yourself how to actually get there. If you're a beginner or intermediate or simply a pro but new to drawing fantasy figures you will be left annoyed because it seems more like the author is showing off his skills without trying to teach you anything.
I've seen plenty of drawing tutorials but this one is by far the worst. In fact, it's not a tutorial but rather a thin book crammed with info on fantasy figures that you would know anyway such as, as said, them being able to frown or look angry.
If you want to learn to draw look elsewhere because this book has too few examples and no instructions whatsoever to actually teach you that.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful By ruth_uk on 23 Feb. 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this book not quite knowing what to expect, leafing through the book I found various rich and detailed pictures, which the author uses as examples 'you can create this, eventually too'. And indeed you possibly could if you used this book as the foundation from which to launch into the illustration industry.

It covers techniques using traditional media, and beyond using computer based media, in that it even gives direction (eventually) on using 3D computer art and also artwork with a tablet and stylus.

I feel this is a good starting point for anyone who is curious enough to want to find out about digital art as a medium but was too scared to try, what with not having enough of a basis to propel you into it.

The first few pages seem a tad out of place, and indeed almost put me off when I first read this book, but I pushed beyond them and found they were just a basic discussion and weren't really meant as anything other than a 'this is something you might look out for and even try eventually, as you learn from this book' kindof thing.

All in all, I consider this book to be a very good buy. And indeed its been the one I have been using to break into figure illustration with, more than any of the various Manga and animé type reference books I have bought previously, this one comes out tops for me, especially as it takes a separate path compared to the more trendy Manga style, and teaches that you should develop your own style more than anything.

All in all, a very good buy, especially if you know someone who's interested in learning illustration or painting their comic book/film heroes etc.. You cant go far wrong by buying this.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Ms. E. Kemp on 27 Dec. 2006
Format: Paperback
The actual drawing work and information in this book is fantastic. It is packed full of all sorts of things that might be relevant to an artist. There is a very good section on building backgrounds to pictures as well as the guides of more famous subjects like people, dragons and such (and a nice little section on horses too). There is a good guide to perspective incorporated in that section too.

It will cover your basic anatomy, it will cover character design, it will cover weapons, buildings, a good selection of various monsters, a little bit on battle scenes, and lots of other little goodies as well. Lots of illustrations and step-by-step guides are there as well.

The main problem I had with this is that, actually, the digital art section is very limited compared to my expectation, as well as compared to the amount of attention applied to other sections. There is a good little bit to begin with, but anyone who has exceeded the basic use of dodge and burn in photoshop will not benefit from that much at all. I strong advise against anyone buying it purely to learn digital techniques, when the methods shown in the book are very basic. The other topics in the book have been very useful to me however.

All in all however, I would recommend this to anyone looking to get a decent grounding in fantasy artwork. It would be useful to an anime artist, and maybe other genres too inspiration-wise as well. It may not be a digital art guide, but it is packed to the brim with useful information on loads of other things. It is great to learn how to build whole images rather than lone figures, and add great details to the work. It also has a very interesting, but entirely optional, set up of "Over to You" sections, which are great to get you practicing if you need a bit of a push or are running out of inspiration. I would say good for anyone up to medium/high intermediate, although total beginners to drawing may have a little trouble following it.
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