Great Art Books Review Part 2 Imaginative Realism by James Gurney

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Imaginative Realism by James Gurney, creator of Dinotopia

Cover Imaginative Realism James Gurnery art book review for students

This book comes with the saying "How to paint what doesn't exist"  and that is what it does exactly.

Why Did I Pick this book?

A lot of young artists, often, get to a point in which they find improving their skills frustratingly slow.  That can sometime bring them to put the blame of this slowness  on themselves  and get de-motivated.   It turns out that in most cases this slowness is due to  not following a good workflow and learning plan. This is true, especially, for some self taught artists, or students that had the bad luck to turn out in a lousy college class, like myself.  Once those problems are addressed their art starts to flourish. So I have picked this book because I genuinely think this can help many of you out there, to start finding your path to become a better artist.

My Personal thoughts.


The book is fun, easy to read and very to the point.  It takes you step by step through the author's workflow, techniques and mindset that allow him t o create incredibly realistic and stunning paintings. From setting up equipment to thumbnails and colour studies all the way to the final product.  With the addition of some tips that are almost impossible to find, at this small a price anyway.  All the chapters are packed with useful information and are great bases to start your own research upon. When I first picked up the book I was shocked by the stunning illustrations. I am very passionate about all that is art and while I was turning the pages I felt like I was holding treasure.  Although this book has a chapter about painting and drawing media, if you are looking for something that will teach you how to shade properly, apply paint or make a Photoshop brush, this might not be what you are looking for. I do recommend this if you have doubts on what to do, or practice next in order to improve your skills and need an overall guide. In that case this is definitely the book for you.

Other Notes


I aimed this review to students but keep in mind that  Imaginative realism is a widely loved book among many professionals and lecturers as well as everyone else.  And although the first few chapters of the book are aimed mostly for a traditional approach, everything else will be useful to both the digital and traditional painter. To me the difference between digital and traditional is the same as oils and watercolour. Different media, but the theory behind where you place the pigments and why is the same. All mediums need it and is universal. 

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