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Space Art: How to Draw and Paint Planets, Moons, and Landscapes of Alien Worlds Paperback – July 10, 2007

4.8 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Michael Carroll, a renowned astronomical and paleo artist for more than twenty years, has done work for NASA and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. His art has appeared in many magazines, including Time, National Geographic, Sky & Telescope, and Asimov’s Science Fiction. One of his paintings flew aboard MIR; another is resting at the bottom of the Atlantic, aboard Russia's ill-fated Mars 96 spacecraft. He lives in Littleton, Colorado.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Watson-Guptill; 1st edition (July 10, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0823048764
  • ISBN-13: 978-0823048762
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 0.4 x 10.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #882,152 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I learned to paint from the wonderful Walter Foster art book series, which featured titles such as "How to Paint Landscapes," "How to Draw and Paint Seascapes," etc. Every niche of hobbyist painting was covered, from sunsets to still lifes. Typically, each subject would be explored through a series of illustrations showing the development of a painting from simple charcoal sketch, to rough color, to the finished work. Popular masters of the 50's and 60's such as Robert Wood and Violet Parkhurst let us look over their shoulders, sharing their "secrets" with struggling beginners. How I wish Michael Carroll's Space Art had existed back then!

Space Art is not a primer on painting, although a beginner can pick up valuable techniques unlikely to be covered in more traditional "how to" books. While there is a good, brief discussion of media and tools, and an excellent presentation on color, the book assumes a basic knowledge of how to mix and work acrylics. What the beginning painter might find particularly useful, however, is Carroll's discussion, throughout the book, on how to "see" -- how to observe and depict the interplay of light and objects and atmosphere.

Any basic art book will contain a diagram showing how to render and shade the cube, cone, and sphere, but Space Art links this exercise to nature in a way that traditional art books generally do not. For example, most landscape artists rarely paint the moon correctly, either depicting it as a featureless white disk or a weird, banana-shaped crescent. This is, I think, because they haven't made the conceptual leap that allows them to see the moon as a sphere, subject to the same rules of lighting as is an orange in a fruit bowl.
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Format: Paperback
Michael Carroll has written, once again,a very fine book. This one meets a specific need in the artistic painting market of today. Space Art is a unique topic that is a favorite of the author's and it shows. The narrative is presented clearly with step-by-step, easy-to-follow directions, including which colors to use, how to create textures, and specific tricks of the trade used to make the artist's space paintings as realistic as possible. The book portrays painting lessons, with colorful thumbnail views, for all levels of students, from beginners to intermediate through to advanced. Michael has also included educational highlights to broaden the painter's knowledge of his/her favorite space subject as they seek to broaden their painting experience to include the wonderful world of Space. It's a great book and very helpful.
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Format: Paperback
I bought this book to gain an idea of how to paint western backdrops for a model railroad. The book is thouroughly illustrated with progressive views of how to create different images. Work of multiple artists are presented, so it goes beyond just one style. Explanations are given over the use of color. I have found it to be a very useful guide, and did I mention, it has lots of pictures!
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Format: Paperback
Carrol does a good job of giving you some science and history and reasons why the alien worlds look as they do. Most important he uses many guest artists to share their techniques. After a nice introduction to space art part one is drawing and painting Alien worlds.
2. Earth-like worlds
3. The Gas Giants
4. Worlds beyond Neptune
Followed by "Resources for artists in the age of Space Exploration.
144 pages. To say it is well illustrated is an understatement.
A fine resource and inspiration. Lots of step by step instruction.
If the title interests you, you will not be disappointed.
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Format: Paperback
SPACE ART: HOW TO DRAW AND PAINT PLANETS, MOONS, AND LANDSCAPES OF ALIEN WORLDS comes from a leading astronomical artist who explains the basics of styles and paints needed to produce the hues and excitement of alien worlds. Carroll has been a professional space art painter for over 25 years: his experience lends to a blend of science and art ideas which not only provides an overview of techniques, but provides some fourteen paintings, building in complexity, for step-by-step teaching. Any general-interest or art library will find it easily accessible and a popular pick.

Diane C. Donovan
California Bookwatch
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A superb book for anyone interested in space, space art and art in general. Novice space artists will assuredly be highly motivated by this truly unique "How-To" space art book. Michael Carroll is one of the most accomplished space artists on the planet and, as this book showcases, a most excellent art instructor as well. Educators shall find this a superlative art, as well as science, resource . . . A book truly worthy of a "galaxy of stars!"
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This book is exactly the book I need to continue developing as a space artist. The book has a number of step-by-step exercises, each of different levels of complexity/expertise. Even if you don't use the very same techniques he uses, you can still get a lot out of seeing a painting develop. This development was exactly the Rosetta Stone I needed.
Thanks Mike!
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