Jan 5, 2013

Book Review: DRAGONART Collector’s Edition

Besides my regular career as an Illustrator, Concept artist and entrepreneur; I am also an avid collector of art books. So when F+W Media asked me if I would do some regular reviews for them, I knew that it would be a perfect fit. So this will be my first in a series of honest and impartial reviews.

The DRAGONART Collector’s Edition art book is an amalgam of a large amount of info geared towards the budding Fantasy artist. The reader is offered a plethora of process pieces in order to be able to draw some of fantasy arts most recognizable archetypes and creatures.

I was immediately impressed with the book’s presentation. It’s larger format, around 220 color pages and hardcover bound. A lot of art books are smallish and poorly printed and that can really become annoying when you potentially want to use it as a regular reference and I am glad to say that wasn’t the case here. Each page is stuffed full of illustrations and that really made the process for each piece, quite easy to follow.

Like most art books out on the market, this book doesn’t really specify and age or skill level for the intended viewer. The book is clearly set up for people that are new to the genre and shouldn’t be afraid to say so. With this modern era being very digitally oriented, I was surprised that there was no mention of the digital tools that are staples for many fantasy artists (drawing Tablets, Photoshop, Painter, etc.). Finally I felt that there could have been more explanation of the genre in the beginning of the book, such as popular artists and fantasy pop culture heavyweights in film, games and comics.

I really enjoyed how much of the book was devoted to drawing mechanics. Whether it be the earlier “how to draw a dwarf” or the later “how to draw a dragon” the book really makes sure that the reader has a solid understanding of how the underlying component parts of the character work. Besides construction, the book also delves into important topics such as action lines, color composition, line weight and pushing the details on your drawings.

In closing, I would say that at around $30 USD the DRAGONART Collector’s Edition book is well worth it for young artists or folk that are new to the fantasy genre.

(Below is an illustration that I made while following the book's process on how to draw an Angel)