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30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For those who want depth in your art
Customer Video Review     Length:: 0:24 Mins
If you are a regular reader of James Gurney's blog, Gurney Journey, you would expect nothing less. This book is as good as I expected. He dispenses his knowledge as freely as he does on his blog. Here's what he says about his own book from the introduction:

"This is not a book about figure drawing, anatomy, or perspective. It's not a...
Published on 26 Oct. 2009 by Parka

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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Sorry - can't review - book was a present for a relative
Published 4 months ago by Mr. Michael Bennett


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30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For those who want depth in your art, 26 Oct. 2009
By 
Parka (Singapore) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Imaginative Realism: How to Paint What Doesn't Exist (Paperback)
Length:: 0:24 Mins

If you are a regular reader of James Gurney's blog, Gurney Journey, you would expect nothing less. This book is as good as I expected. He dispenses his knowledge as freely as he does on his blog. Here's what he says about his own book from the introduction:

"This is not a book about figure drawing, anatomy, or perspective. It's not a step-by-step guide on how to draw dinosaurs. It's also not a recipe book for a particular paint technique, although all these topics are addressed in passing. What this book contains is a distillation of the time-tested methods that I've found to be most helpful for achieving realism in imaginative pictures."

If you haven't got the hint from the title, this book is about making your art real and believable. In every chapter, James Gurney shares with us what he learned when creating his paintings. There are topics on people, dinosaurs, architecture, vehicles, composition and his step-by-steps (not techniques but process). The tips he gives can be applied on other subjects as well.

The importance of research is emphasized and the amount of research he does really shows. While creating an illustration on ship wreckage for National Geographic, he talked to survivors to get an accurate account. He found out there's a drummer boy who used his drum as a float and drew that in. He also acted out the various poses of sailors in distress, rather than drawing them from imagination. The result is a painting that tells its story convincingly. The same goes for many of his other paintings.

Another interesting read is the story of him trying to design a Dinotopian fire engine. When he presented his concept art to a professional fire engine designer, it was critiqued to have form but not function. There's lack of heat protection for the dinosaur, lack of understanding on how water hose works and a complicated water pump design. The revised concept is a huge improvement in believability that I thought it actually might work.

He has provided lots of photos and his own work in the book. You'll get to see how he stages the props for reference, sketches and drafts, plenty of commissioned work (especially from National Geographic), the bird on his shoulder while he's drawing, the lousy-art incinerator he created from mirrors and other entertaining stuff.

Imaginative Realism is an enlightening and fun read. Highly recommended to professionals, beginning art students and those who wish to push their art to the next level in terms of depth.

(There are more pictures of the book on my blog. Just visit my Amazon profile for the link.)
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Review, 23 Oct. 2009
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This review is from: Imaginative Realism: How to Paint What Doesn't Exist (Paperback)
This is a fantastic book and will be a wonderful addition to anyones collection who is interested in developing fantasy art, or even just improving general drawing and design skills.

The information is broken down into manageable bitesized chapters, so you can read the whole book as a whole, or just dip in and out. The illustrations are lovely, and I love reading about how the artist develops ideas and gathers information.

The cover of this book does not do it justice, as it could put some artists off if they are not really into fantasy work, but there are some great illustrations, and the influence of some past masters are evident in some of the work.

The book is a good size and there is plenty to read and lots of information. The book is printed on good quality paper and is really good value for money. A breath of fresh air in the art book format. If you like fantasy art, or are interested in reading about how other artists work then buy this book, you won't be disappointed.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Really very good, 20 Jan. 2010
This review is from: Imaginative Realism: How to Paint What Doesn't Exist (Paperback)
I joined Mr.Gurney's blog having received this book. I am an illustration and print student and bought it as I thought it may be useful for a project on mythical beasts. I only got it yesterday, but so far it's looking like a really valuable resource, and seems to cover a lot of areas that will be really helpful in this and future projects. The book is thicker than I thought it would be, due to the usual standard of 'how to' art books. But this surpasses that group by far in my opinion. It feels nice to have it in my collection. Thank you JG.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars gurneys on something...., 12 Sept. 2012
By 
Mr. D. P. Burns "Fetous in Fetou" (South London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Imaginative Realism: How to Paint What Doesn't Exist (Paperback)
This book takes you through Gurneys career and projects and explains in depth how he achieves his results with plenty of surprises along the way. I dont think studying this book will allow you to perform miracles of your own but it will usher you in the right direction and help you out of creative ruts. What surprises with this book is that it offers alot more than the title implies, exploring composition, structure, classical techniques and many more tricks of the artistic trade. A better name for this book would be Imaginative realism and an extensive guide to art concepts and more, ok its not as catchy but after finishing both of Gurneys books i just hope that in the future he publishes more work which i would order without hesitation. Geeky, extensive, informative, fun.....
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding - A Gold Mine of Information, 14 May 2012
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This review is from: Imaginative Realism: How to Paint What Doesn't Exist (Paperback)
As an artist, I am always looking for new ideas and techniques to apply in my own work.
I had already purchased Jim Guerney's book "Color and Light" and read all the articles he had published in International Artist Magazine, so was already a big fan.
Although entitled "Imaginative Realism" (painting what doesn't exist) it is not just for the fantasy artist; it is an indispensible tool for any realist artist.
The book is packed with valuable information on a wide range of subjects and techniques. It is at the same time very entertaining and shows Jim's amazing artistic skills, creativity and passion for what he does.
A must for any realist artist or anyone interested in fantasy worlds or dinosaurs.
And go and buy his other book - it is just as good!
Richard Harpum ([...])
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An essential purchase for any artist., 22 Feb. 2014
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This review is from: Imaginative Realism: How to Paint What Doesn't Exist (Paperback)
As a budding fantasy artist myself, this book is pretty much exactly what I needed to give me the motivation and techniques to improve my work. The book isn't so much a step-by-step guide to painting, more a general explanation of the methods and thought processes behind his work and the work of other great painters. As you might imagine, the book focuses on giving you a foundation for painting things that you can't directly reference, so it's a goldmine for fantasy/historical/concept artists; but the knowledge Gurney has will help anyone interested in painting/drawing, whether you're a digital or traditional painter.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Very useful and interesting, 8 Jan. 2014
By 
Tryggvi EDWALD "T Edwald" (Vienna, Austria) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Imaginative Realism: How to Paint What Doesn't Exist (Paperback)
I am a hobby painter, specialising in portraits at the moment.
I don't see myself making a lot of maquettes, as Gurney does,
but see their utility when painting non-existing subjects.

This is a very generous book; the author gives a lot of his
'trade secrets', making no secrets of them. I felt this was so
useful a book, that I immediately bought a second copy for a
friend who is a budding artist.

On the whole, I liked his other book, "Color and Light" better,
but it is still very much worth the low price.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect reference and Coffe table book, 20 Dec. 2010
By 
Steven C (London) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Imaginative Realism: How to Paint What Doesn't Exist (Paperback)
This book is about drawing from your imagination, it's focusing on the Fantasy type of drawing. It's full of great tricks and all a massive source of inspiration. It talk from the philosophy of drawing, the material he is using, the whole process of creating the drawing, quick sketching, colors matching etc....
It's really complete and accessible, I quite like the few stories he gives on the why of his drawings.
Also the quality of the book per se is Excellent, good colors and good quality papers. And of course way cheaper on Amazon!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect for aspiring artists & illustrators, 8 Aug. 2011
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This review is from: Imaginative Realism: How to Paint What Doesn't Exist (Paperback)
This book is a gold mine of information for those wishing to create pieces of art with enough realism to make the images almost believable - and let's face it, James Gurney has enough experience and talent to know what he is talking about and explain it in terms we can all grasp (well if I can grasp it anyone can :-)) The book is one of those you can either read from cover to cover, or dip into sections that interest you at the time - though if you are serious about your art I'd read it from start to finish ;-)
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5.0 out of 5 stars good book, 27 Mar. 2011
By 
Bubbles "bubbles" (southampton, hants United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Imaginative Realism: How to Paint What Doesn't Exist (Paperback)
Looking for a book on imaginitive artwork as I love the artwork which is done on album covers in fantasy and science fiction and wanted to know how these artists get their ideas, I found this one and I was not disappointed. Just looking at the artwork in this book gives you inspiration and reading it learning that artists throughout the ages have all painted some kind of imaginative work at some time. Not only is it a good book but also good value for money.
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Imaginative Realism: How to Paint What Doesn't Exist
Imaginative Realism: How to Paint What Doesn't Exist by James Gurney (Paperback - 29 Oct. 2009)
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