Jun 6, 2013

Book Review: Imaginative Realism: How to Paint What Doesn't Exist

BOOK REVIEW: Imaginative Realism: How to Paint What Doesn't Exist

James gurney is great. I don't know if it is his positive disposition or his complete love of art and life, but it is infectious. I have been a follower of James' works since the Dinotopia series and have a real appreciation for a body of art where technique meets imagination in an expert way. These ideas are nicely reflected in the contents of his book.

If you follow James on social media then you will see that he truly does live a life with/for his art. There is not an event that is not captured by a quick sketch or on the fly painting.His subject matters varies from architecture to live pieces painted while attending the opera. You have to appreciate that level of commitment to your craft.

Imaginative Realism: How to Paint What Doesn't Exist, is a lushly illustrated book aimed at artists and aspiring artists alike. The book is full of technique and methodology that one could and should apply to their own work. That fact that James often backs up these explanations with real works examples from himself or other artists, helps to solidifies these concepts.

I am sure that it must be a classic technique, but until I read this book, I had never before used a handmade maquette as supplementary reference. I now find that this is a marvelous technique when trying to workout complex lighting or just as a solid form of reference.

Fantasy art can often be challenging to get in to without following a path that is completely derivative. I think that this book would be a really great starting point of an artist, who wanted some of the imaginative ideology mixed with very useful techniques in painting realism. This is a book that was often recommend to me, and I in turn would recommend this book to anyone myself.

I cant wait to review Jame's follow up book, Color and Light: A Guide for the Realist Painter.