on 9 October 2011
I was very lucky to win my copy of this book from the Flame Tree Publishing Facebook page a while back. I'll be honest, when I entered the competition I thought the book would be one of those flimsy A4 sized softback 'how to draw' books that you see around. I couldn't have been more wrong. Flame Tree call this a coffee table book and I can see why. It's HUGE! You could have knocked me down with a feather when I opened my package. The book itself is hard backed and roughly 11.5" by 11.5" with 203 pages. The pages are a lovely thick, glossy quality and the images inside are just stunning, quite a few fitting a whole page or larger.
This is in no way a 'how to' book. The front of the book calls it "Inspiration, Impact & Technique in Fantasy Art". Oodles and oodles of glorious full colour art work, both full pages and smaller images interspersed throughout the text fill this book. The text itself covers the origins of folklore and myth surrounding dragons, to Tolkien and Lovecraft, to the dragons of Africa and Wales... there is so much to read and soak up and be inspired by.
I find the comparisons between normal art and digital art really intriguing. I must admit to being someone who has in the past dismissed digital art as "the easy option" and not "proper" art. I hasten to add I don't think that now - a couple of tries on my sisters didgital drawing pad showed me the error of my thinking there. But seeing all this beautiful artwork has me really tempted to dabble in that side of things myself, usually a traditional paper, paint, pencils... materials you can touch and feel all the way girl...well, this book combined with another I'm reading (How To Draw Zombies) about combining traditional and digital formats have got me really interested and eager to learn more. The sections where a few artists have gone into stages of the artwork are particularly interesting when it comes to this.
I find myself coming back to this book and reading through it often. Quite aside from just how beautiful it is, the history, techniques, folklore (love my folklore) residing alongside the art make it a must have if you are even remotely interested in dragons or fantasy art. I love that the art featured are not all one type - there are Celtic inspired dragons, quite scary and horrific looking dragons accompanied with some really very cute and endearing beasts. It's one that will be read and looked at again and again - at least in this house! Highly recommended.
on 16 June 2011
I found this book a pleasure to read and pour over. It's filled with beautifully painted dragons, and lots of them. The book itself is a sturdy hardback, well bound, and with strong thick paper that will stand up to continual use, and the quality of the reproductions of the artists' paintings is fantastic.
The art is of a consistently high standard and the types of dragon depicted are as varied as the artists who create them. From terrifying monsters to spiritual guardians, there's something for every dragon lover and the mix of traditional and digital methods makes for interesting viewing. I personally would have liked to see more in the way of constructional drawings by the artists of how they come up with their own dragon designs but the book is about inspiration and impact and the process samples showing how digital artists create their work are more than satisfying for the curious type.
After opening with a fascinating foreward by John Howe which sets the stage, the written aspect follows an interesting journey through the various dragon mythologies from around the world and goes on to talk about featured and well known fantasy artists and their respective inspirations and influences. It was great to see a lot of my own influences as a dragon artist being mentioned by others, such as H R Giger's Alien and Tolkien's Smaug.
Also fascinating to me was reading about the ongoing debate about whether digital art is equal to traditional. As an aspiring illustrator working traditionally, it's a topic that affects me and while I don't see it as an issue - digital is just another tool in an artist's arsenal - I completely understand the misgivings some people have about it. Dragon Art covered the debate from both sides and overall I found it an unblinkered and enlightening read.
I would highly recommend this book for the quality of the artwork alone as it would be a valuable addition to any dragon artist's bookshelf. But for the history and background of the mythology it's invaluable and definitely worth investing in. Top marks for this one.
on 25 July 2013
This book is simply amazing, beautiful, stunning artwork from a variety of brilliantly talented people. Incredible book with a lush array of pictures. It's cool as well that they include step- by-step tutorials every so pages. Very pleased with this book
on 24 October 2013
I love this book!! My art teacher suggested it to me and the art work inside is absolutely gobsmakingly gorgeous!!! This is a must have for anyone that likes fantasy art, dragons or art work in general!!!! Brilliant and more than worth the money!!!! It also arrives very fast and in brilliant condition!
on 11 December 2012
Bought this book for image reference for sculpture, as I only needed the images I have not actually read the text, so cannot comment on the written bits. the imagery is perfect for my needs: Examples of Dragons. the illustrations are superb and very helpful to me as I have never seen a live Dragon ;).