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29 of 29 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 1 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 3 months ago by Mr. Michael Bennett


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5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic book on painting imaginary scenes, 13 April 2013
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This review is from: Imaginative Realism: How to Paint What Doesn't Exist (Paperback)
This book really does cover everything about how to paint imaginary scenes, people, objects and everything else. It's perfect for anyone who has some painting skills already and needs to take their art to another level. Very well written and illustrated as you would expect from James Gurney. I will certainly keep this close at hand when doing my own paintings.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars [Re]Constructing and [Re]Imagining Western Art: Imaginative Realism by James Gurney, A Critical Review, 9 Nov. 2009
By 
Andre Lawrence (Miami, Florida) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Imaginative Realism: How to Paint What Doesn't Exist (Paperback)
*Overview--Western vs. Eastern art techniques.
**Contents
***A question about technique
****Conclusion

*James Gurney, the creator of the fantasy series, Dinotopia, as well as a commercial artist for several Fortune 500 companies has created a blueprint for artists of any age and ability to follow in this book, Imaginative Realism: How to Paint What Doesn't Exist. This is a broad survey of Western/ Occidental Art and it's influence on the contemporary Western aesthetic. It is, indeed, a fresh look at Western art.

I've been very fortunate as of late to be able to get my hands on some priceless books on the subject of art. The first, Elemental Magic: The Classical Art of Special Effects Animation, is a look at illustrating natural elements and phenomena (water, fire, icebergs, shattered glass, pixie dust, i.e.) by capturing the movement or in author, Joseph Gilland's, words the "energy" of the object. This is the quintessential Oriental approach to Art.

Imaginative Realism, on the other hand, is an intimate conversation from a master artist to students of art about capturing art by the physical senses. In other words, "What do you see?" The question of what is better or what is the definition of Art, are not questions that either of these books attempt to answer nor are the authors particularly interested in engaging in a culturally-divisive debate.

As a fellow artist (illustrator, painter and now graphic artist), I find this book captivating. It's very easy to get lost in the hundreds of glossy pictures, from trucks to people to dinosaurs to futuristic battles. It's all here. He offers poignant tips and instructions-- many I know and use, but there are quite a few that I hadn't "discovered" -- which makes this book an indispensable reference book to have.

Imaginative Realism is a text book on the various ways European and American artists went about constructing images, from the early 19th century up to and including the present. This, however, is not an art-instruction book. It doesn't offer instructions on how to draw or to paint, for example. It is squarely addressed to the artist and/or art lover about the mechanics and the building blocks of creating art.

**The book is broken down into several categories:

A brief history of Western art.
Setting up (a workstation)
Tables, easels, lights.
Tips on loosening up for inspiration.
Preliminary sketches
Thumbnail/ Storyboard/ Charcoal/ Corrections and Tracings/
Eye level/ Perspective Grid-- and, perseverance.
People
References, sculptures (busts)
Dinosaurs
Creatures/ Aliens/ Cyborgs

Plein-Air Silhouettes
Creating a "Scrap File"
Vehicles
Architecture.

***One of the things that Mr. Gurney recommends for capturing authenticity is the use of maquettes or clay sculptures. This is handy for a number of reasons, according to him.

1. It keeps a consistent model available for the artist. Creating a human bust, for instance, allows for a familiarity, a stasis personality where there's no wrestling or competing interference with other mental images intruding on the work-in-progress.

2. You can experiment with hundreds of different poses and light situations from a single maquette.

I did have one question, however, as it concerns the use of maquettes. In the time it takes to buy the materials, decide the right model and facial expression and the creation of it, could it be simpler to just use high-resolution shots of a model and import it into a 3D modeling software where one may digitally control external factors on the model, at a fraction of the cost and time?

I decided to ask Mr. Gurney, himself. Here's his response:

"I was aware of many parallel digital tools that solve many of the same problems that I do with physical maquettes, but since I don't use them, I felt I couldn't write knowledgeably about them.

I often speak to artists who do use Z-Brush and other programs for reference maquettes. From what I gather, the digital techniques take about the same amount of time, or even longer for an organic form like a creature or a tree. What I'm after are usually the subtle textural effects and reflected light, which the more low-end programs have a harder time capturing.

I expect that a lot of my book's readers will use a combination of traditional and digital techniques, both for the reference tools and the final rendering, but hopefully most of the basic messages of the book will apply in either instance."

****Imaginative Realism is truly an art-lovers book. There are many, many detailed clues to unblock artist fatigue, be more creative and going deeper in the psyche to access one's vision. This book should be the first place to look when starting on any project.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent purchase, highly informative book., 4 April 2014
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This review is from: Imaginative Realism: How to Paint What Doesn't Exist (Paperback)
This is a book that I would recommend to any one who wishes to be guided and inspired to produce their own paintings of imaginary characters and scenes. Fully comprehensive coverage of all aspects of picture development and packed with inspiring examples of the kind of work that can be produced. Excellent in every way.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Just Brilliant!, 3 July 2013
By 
Dan Carver (Leicester, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Imaginative Realism: How to Paint What Doesn't Exist (Paperback)
Great illustrations and great book! Highly recommended for an insight into a successful working artists's creative process, for inspiration and general tips on how to take an image from the imagination to the page.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Gurney is great, 17 Mar. 2013
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This review is from: Imaginative Realism: How to Paint What Doesn't Exist (Paperback)
Have a look at his website - gurneyjourney.
He's an excellent teacher, and very keen to pass knowledge on.
I've got his Colour and Light, too.
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5.0 out of 5 stars eye opening!, 16 Oct. 2013
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This review is from: Imaginative Realism: How to Paint What Doesn't Exist (Paperback)
Awesomely good; really thought provoking and encouraged me to try out lots of ideas in my own paintings ( even though I do not always draw fantasy)
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 24 Mar. 2014
By 
A. ap Rhisiart (Argyll, Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Imaginative Realism: How to Paint What Doesn't Exist (Paperback)
If you read Gurney's blog, you know the sort of thing to expect, but this is a very thorough exposition on a subject that he is a world expert on.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic book, 1 Jan. 2013
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This review is from: Imaginative Realism: How to Paint What Doesn't Exist (Paperback)
I bought this for a Xmas present and my niece absolutely loved it and started working through it straightaway. A great find.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Imaginative Realism. A fantastic book for any artist to add to their library., 11 Jan. 2013
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This review is from: Imaginative Realism: How to Paint What Doesn't Exist (Paperback)
My grandson said it was a need to have book for artists to have in their lobrary. Has pride of place on his shelf
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 22 Oct. 2014
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This review is from: Imaginative Realism: How to Paint What Doesn't Exist (Paperback)
competent book on the subject
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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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