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Fantastic Realms!: Draw Fantasy Characters, Creatures and Settings Paperback – February 2, 2006
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About the Author
V. Shane Colclough is a freelance illustrator for the role-playing and collectable card industry. He also teaches teenage artists fantasy and comic book illustration.
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The book came sooner than estimated and in better condition than what was listed. Thank you a very satisfied customer. Looking forward to recreating the drawings in the book with my own personality. Thank you.
I think there should have been more emphasis on weaponry, less emphasis on setting, and a few turnarounds in proportion. A few more step-by-step illustrations would also be welcome. On the positive side, I think the goblin was well done and many of the illustrations were technically quite good. 3 stars.
After finding this book at a discount store for $2.00 I decided to take a chance and I have been well pleased at my progress. I was able, using the steps in the book, to duplicate several of the practice drawings, which is amazing for someone who lacks artistic talent as much as I do.
So why only three stars? There are several reasons:
1) Each picture goes from anatomy sketch to details in four steps. For someone trying to learn HOW to make all those intricate little details in battle damaged knightly plate mail, it was too large a step. Dragons go from a collection of "basic shapes" like ovals and triangles, to detailed scales and texturing without any explanation of how it happened.
2) The author spends way too much time on painting for what is described as a drawing book. I would much rather have had the painting steps eliminated, or fleshed out into a second book, and the freed pages used to provide more examples of each step of the work. I don't mind the inking, although it's not my cup of tea, but I would still have added that to a second book focused on color and heavy shading, rather than to this beginner book.
3) Seven texturing techniques are explained on one single page with no further instruction. Contour lines look easy, but if this were truly that simple I don't think we'd need a book. Some explanation for how to draw them other than to use a "steady hand" would be nice.
4) Almost no attention is paid to drawing the human face. One page contains six sketches (three side, three front) of a female face with one paragraph of explanation. "Begin with the basics" "Develop the primitive" and "develop the drawing." If the author doesn't provide any more instruction than that to his students they probably have a very confused idea of how it works-- at least as confused as I am. I've gotten a more effective and recognizable picture from ignoring the first two steps and just trying to free hand copy his final project than by working through all of his steps.
5) There is either very poor explanation of artistic jargon or a complete lack of it. For example, on page 32 (where the six face diagrams are) he says to, "Use the circle stacking method." Nowhere in the book does the author explain what this might be. A failure to explain jargon is consistent throughout the book and leads to much frustration for the novice. Fortunately, as a middle school teacher I was able to ask the art teacher for a better explanation, but this isn't excusable.
If the author had spent as much time planning this book as he spends planning his sketches he would have achieved a more effective product. That I am able, with just a few days practice, to sketch the things I have done so far is evidence that the author is capable of teaching the art of fantasy drawing quite well. Unfortunately, since the explanations for much of the book are so poor and there is so much extraneous information included, I find I can't rate the book any higher, even though it has jump started me to keep struggling with this art form.
Perhaps as I gain experience I'll be able to see the intermediate steps that the author left out. Unfortunately, since this is supposed to be a beginner's book, I can't give it a rating based on potential future progress.
"Just like adventurers getting ready to go on a quest, artists must prepare themselves before setting out to create fantasy worlds and creatures." (V.Shane, pp15).
How odd it seems that the very first lesson in this book is to `Begin with Seeing,' yet without awareness of the world around you, how can you create a world within or without, the one in which you live?
This truly is an amazing creative book. For example, get a spray bottle out of the kitchen and study it until you see a creature emerge from the contours of the bottle. If you have trouble seeing something different, squint, or turn your head to the side, because you will be able to see a wild animal that is dangerous or a creature that is gentle, or battle raiment for your hero or villain. Something is there waiting for you to find it, much like stereographs.
This is the power of fantasy art.
The book will take you through the basics of fantasy drawing, the tools you will need and additional supplies that come in handy. You will see sketching & shading techniques known as hatching, crosshairs, contour lines, and others. Darker lines make deeper the shadows. If you want a sword gleam, keep it light while all around it is muted and darker.
By following the exercises in this book, you will create heroes and villains, dragons of many shapes and spirit, motion and stillness. There is a new world in this book and it is here for you.
It is so exciting to know that you can combine the knowledge you gain from all of the books on drawing to create cover art or coming books.