Fantasy Art for Beginners: Create Fantasy Beings Step-by-Step Paperback – 6 Nov 2009
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"The talented Jon Hodgson…" "This is a great book to have on the shelf…" --Photoshop Creative
About the Author
Jon Hodgson is a freelance illustrator based in the UK. He has painted in excess of 200 collectable card game images and has provided illustration for games from Dungeons & Dragons to Conan and ShadowRun. He has also written art tutorials for several Quarto books and is a founding member of Ninja Mountain. www.jonhodgson.com
Top customer reviews
Having originally borrowed this book from a public library (torn and tattered), I decided to buy my own copy. The book hasn't been around for a while, so I don't mind re-prints usually. However in comparison to the original printed book, I have the following comments.
1) This is a re-print (printed on an ink jet printer) - this is obvious from the low resolution (DPI) used to print
2) This is a scan of the original book (the colours are vastly different from the original - this makes it hard to appreciate when the topic is 'Art' and you are specifically concerned with colour and contrast)
2) The full page spreads (of artwork) are not joined correctly; as the re-print has white borders on every page
3) The book is made of thin, cheaper paper - similar to copier paper
4) The book arrived damaged on the cover (and the plastic coating slightly peeled off)
What makes this worse; is that Amazon have charged the full retail price of the book. Despite it's poor reproduction.
Now, if this was a plain text book.. and I was not concerning myself with image quality (in the sense of colour reproduction and contrast) for the purposes of learning how to draw and paint.. I probably wouldn't have written this review.
Please consider this before you make your purchase!
Here in this offering, Jon takes the reader into the realm of fantasy art explaining everything from various media that artists use to standard creation techniques using basic shapes and on through to how to plan the scene (even so far as utilising toys to help plot the image along with lighting.) It's dependable it's solid but perhaps best of all it's an offering that will have many artists referring back to it time and again as they get stuck on certain aspects. Personally I've loved dipping into it and whilst I'm not by any means a natural artist I am becoming more competent learning from errors and getting a lot of experience from useful advice from those who've been there before. If you have a budding artist or one that loves creating Fantasy pieces and is getting a little stuck on what they're doing this ideal material.
However, the Fantasy Art Bible has actually been considerably updated, with plenty on digital art techniques, and a lot of much better fantasy art examples, some by Dragon Warriors cover artist Jon Hodgson (plus some intriguing quasi-Victorian pieces by old Fighting Fantasy hand Martin McKenna). My fave is the 6 step two page guide to Jon's 'Roll for Initiative' piece (pp. 86-87). Six steps for an epic piece of this magnitude seems a little on the short side however.
So, imagine my surprise yesterday when I wandered into my downtown local bookshop here in Bangkok, and saw 'Fantasy Art for Beginners' by Jon Hodgson on the shelf. Needless to say, I snapped it up immediately and have been reading it ever since. The first four Dragon Warriors covers are featured as examples of finished techniques, and the cover of the first issue of Ordo Draconis, the DW fanzine, gets the lengthy step-by-step process approach
Initially, I was disappointed that there were only 6 step-by-step examples (barbarian, wizard, troll, Ordo Draconis heroine, faerie, dragon (the dragon also turns up in the Fantasy Art Bible)). However, each example features an incredible 40 odd steps of process, with a wealth of anecdotal technique detail that really lets you 'get under the hood' and see how to put these kinds of pieces together properly. What's more, the book is written in such a way that it is very easy to apply the same processes to either digital art, or by using more traditional mediums.
There's also 25 odd pages of obligatory introductory techniques, which is likewise full of good advice. I particularly liked Jon's approach for preparing canvases, digital or otherwise, with loads of colour wash, and his mantra of working with happy accidents. I was also gratified to see that Jon embraces Lego's junior league Duplo product (p. 22) as a planning tool for composition - my daughter has a truckload of the stuff and will now have to fight Dad for use of it! Lastly, the sections on planning, colour, and lighting, were some of the most helpful, useful, and understandable pieces that I've read on these subjects.
In short, an excellent book for fantasy artists as well as DW fans who are interested in seeing how Jon creates his amazingly detailed and atmospheric paintings. It's easily the best of the bunch I've bought recently (which include the Fantasy Art Bible and Kevin Crossley's Fantasy Clip Art). Highly recommended!
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