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Color and Light: A Guide for the Realist Painter (James Gurney Art) Paperback – November 30, 2010
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James Gurney's series of illustrated fantasy adventure stories, beginning with 1992's Dinotopia: A Land Apart from Time, produced a generation raised on Gurney's highly realistic paintings of an entirely unreal subject.... Still it was no surprise to the author-artist-blogger and his long-time publisher Andrews McMeel when his recently released second volume of art instruction, Color and Light: A Guide for the Realist Painter, became a bestseller for AMP immediately upon its release in December 2010, selling out its 10,000-copy run in just two months. (Mark Schulz, Publishers Weekly)
Dinotopia author and plein-air painter Gurney offers a practical, well-organized, and informative handbook for artists of all levels. (Chronogram Magazine)
This is a terrific book, highly recommended not only for young artists but anyone with an interest in traditional art technique. (Karen Haber, Locus)
About the Author
James Gurney's unique blending of fact and fantasy has won Hugo, Chesley, Spectrum, and World Fantasy Awards. His work has been featured in one-man exhibitions at the Smithsonian Institution, the Norman Rockwell Museum, the Delaware Art Museum, and the U.S. embassies in Switzerland and Yemen. He lives with his wife, Jeanette, in the Hudson Valley of New York State.
Top customer reviews
The book talks about color in a very practical sense, as you would see them in life. The lessons are observations of light and colors from James Gurney's years of painting experience. He brings his points across with his own beautiful paintings as examples, clearly explaining why and how he uses colors. It amazes me the amount of work James Gurney has created over the years, and this book is filled with them, from his plein-air to Dinopedia paintings.
There are lessons on sources of light, light and form, understanding the color wheel, how light reacts with surfaces and other elements, and visual perception. You'll learn interesting things like why the moon looks blue, when happens to light when it travels through green canopy, tips on mixing colors, and a whole lot more. There are lots of tips and techniques included. The book is also well researched and I enjoy reading the history of color as they were used in the past by other artists.
It's really a no-brainer to pick this up if you're into creating art, or even if you just want to check out the beautiful paintings in the book.
Highly recommended reference. And you should also check out his other book Imaginative Realism: How to Paint What Doesn't Exist.
(There are some pictures of the book on my blog, just visit my Amazon profile for the link.)
I'm a digital painter but the information he passes on can be applied, I believe, to any medium. It's simply learning how light and color works.
It's incredible how easily I'm able to follow it. There's few technical terms, and their meanings are readily apparent. There's also no complicated formulas or theories that turn the two subjects, color and light, into an intellectual ramble.
Every time I cover something new, I get giddy over how I understand it!
However, this isn't a how-to book. There's no step-by-steps, or such. This isn't going to teach you how to paint. Rather, it'll teach you how to look at colors and lighting in such a way that you'll see things different, a new way that allows you to observe them properly.
As with all learning books, you get as much as you put in. For example:
On page 28 you are told, "On a clear day...the shadows are darker and bluer relative to the sun. As more clouds appear in the sky, shadows become grayer."
Then, "The blue sky color gives the top of the shoulder a greenish quality in the shadow. Where the sleeve drops from the shoulder, the yellow shirt picks up warm colors from the ground and appears more orange."
Going with the past section of how sunny days have blue shadows, it's like, 'Oh, that makes sense!'
Then my mind immediately jumps to, 'Well, if the shadows are greenish on a yellow shirt, they'd be more violet on a red shirt, and possibly more lilac on a cloudy day.'
I highly recommend Colors and Light, and it's so affordable, too! There's also a second book by this author, Imaginative Realism: How to Paint What Doesn't Exist.
As for the book itself, it's made really well, with heavy gloss paper that's not too shiny, and very durable. Oh, but don't leave it in a really hot car or place, as this type of paper/material tends to warp if left in such conditions for too long.
Recently, I was working on my portfolio for a portfolio class. I had everything down, but my lighting sucked and I knew it. I stumbled arcoss this book, having never heard of James Gurney (kicking myself). The book arrived two days later. I spent about an hour or two skimming the book, focusing on the areas where I needed help and I can tell you that my art improved by 50% once I grasped the concept of lighting and shadow. It is an incredibly comprehensive book; it literally answered every question I had, things my professors couldn't (or wouldn't) explain and clarified many misunderstandings I had about color theory. It is a wonderful book. It does not sit on my bookshelf, but goes with me wherever I go. I am one of those people who walks with my sketchbook, pens and either a figure drawing book or an anatomy book and takes every opportunity I get to draw and sketch. Well, I have added one more companion, James Gurney's Color & Light.
I can't speak for pros, as I am not one, but if you are a novice painter or draftsman like me, using traditional media or digital, you WILL benefit from this book. Not to mention, Gurney's artwork is nothing short of AMAZING!