Like most artists and illustrators will tell you, you can never have enough reference books or art books. Having a good library is essential. Mine is not that large, and not too extensive to be honest. Right now it consists of a giant, messy, uncategorized heap of personal reference photos hidden in the dingy little cavern that is my Computer disc. I have one anatomy book(too many superhero proportions in it for my personal taste so I need a new one) A how to be an illustrator book by Darrel Rees a stack of the lovely ImagineFX, a guide to fantasy art, an art book by a woman whose name I forget, some rpg books and Fantasy Art for beginners by Jon Hodgson, which is the book of the day.
Fantasy Art for beginners is a lovely little paperback book from Impact press. And shows the reader how Jon Hodgson creates artwork step by step from little stick figures to fully rendered finished illustrations.
This book is truly aimed at beginners, but I believe that intermediates could still find some useful tips or tricks from it. And even if you aren't really interested in the tutorials the artwork in itself makes this a good buy.
The book kicks of with an introduction to fantasy art, what it's all about. It gives you a list of accomplished illustrators whose artwork one should check out. i then jumps to explaining a little bit about the tools of the trade both traditional and digital. Something that especially young artists who may not be very well versed in the use of these tools will find practical. There are also sections dedicated to use of light, composition and color. very handy for the beginner levels.
The subjects presented in the book are easy to read through, not too heavy and long winded, but thourogh enough to give the reader a basic understanding.
I already knew most of the things described in the chapters, but it is amazing how many things you can forget over the course of a year so refreshing ones knowledge is never a waste of time.
The sections I enjoyed the most were the last ones. The parts where we get to see Jon's art evolve from a meager beginning to a rich and textured end.
Below you can see pictures of the pages where Jon is creating a heroine who has just slain a Wyvern.
The way he works up layers of color and texture is to me especially interesting because it is something I never really tried before, but as soon as I get my hands on a copy of Corel Painter 11 I most certainly will. Photoshop just doesn't cut it for that kind of approach.
Skippoig ahead a bit here to a stage where the female warrior has gotten some flesh on her bones and some lovely armor.
And on to a nice full page depiction of the finished piece.
A recommended read for any young aspiring fantasy illustrator. Thanks a lot Jon and impact for a lovely and highly practical book.
If you are interested in purchasing this book after reading the review the book can be found on play.com here. for £8,63.
Until next time