Favourite Books- mini reviews pt1

Just updating the resources page, and thought I would post my short reviews of some of my favourite books! You can read the full list of books+ online articles here. If you click on any of the pictures you will go to the book depository or amazon to check them out.

Natural History Painting with the Eden Project by Rosie Martin and Meriel Thurstan

Natural History Painting

Very informational, but also beautifully illustrated book all about creating your own natural history illustrations. Great for beginners to NHI, it has sections on the most commonly used materials (pencils, paper, paints etc) and how to use them, as well as specific sections on how to paint different subjects (eg motionless and moving fish, bones, feathers, bugs etc). And not all are exotic, many are things you could find in your own garden.

The thing I really like about this book is that rather than being a step-by-step technique book, it gives you really practical and useful information that can be utilised for the case at hand as well as examples by the authors- you can tell they are masters at their craft. Plus the inspiring foreword by Dr David Wilson FZS is lovely.

The Natural Way to Draw- a working plan for art study by Kimon Nicolaides

The Natural Way to Draw

This book about teaching yourself to draw throughout quite a large number of exercises (grouped into different sections), was published after the death of the famous art teacher Kimon Nicolaides (who taught at the Art Students’ League in New York). It is recommended on a number of online forums (I found out about it on conceptart.com), but I also read some criticism about the example illustrations not having being selected by the author. I don’t know if this makes a difference, but this book is very informative (and I guess you can also simply go by what the text says and not adhering too strictly to how the illustrated examples look if you were worried). I myself have not gotten even half way through the exercises yet (which starts off with things like contour drawing, then moves through things like proportion, structure of the body, the muscles, etc), and might start a blog series on completing the exercises. The cool thing about this book is it really is like lessons, he describes what to do and provides schedules with time designations for practicing each exercise.

Illustrating Children’s Books- creating pictures for publication by Martin Salisbury

Illustrating Children's Books: Creating Pictures for Publication

The BEST practical children’s book illustration guide I have seen. It has sections all the way through the process of creating illustrations- from observational drawings; to what mediums is available, character development, composition, through to print. It’s got great illustrations too, with lots of examples of his own students and other illustrators work.

Color and Light- a guide for the realist painter and

Imaginative Realism- how to paint what doesn’t exist

both by James Gurney (Creator of Dinotopia and author of gurneyjourney.com)

Color and Light: A Guide for the Realist PainterImaginative Realism: How to Paint What Doesn't Exist

Both amazing books- the most information packed art/illustration books I have seen. A lot of the tips he imparts I believe have come out of his own research using a combination of research from the old masters and modern day technologies. He covers so many amazing topics, including things like how to capture motion blur, underpainting, gradation, the real color of sky (all in C+L) . Imaginative Realism is such a fun book- he covers things like creating animal characters, creating maquettes, putting characters in settings, how to paint dinosaurs and much much more. Plus the book is packed with amazing illustrations all by James Gurney himself. I will try to do a proper review of these books in the near future. Check out his awesome blog here.

Darroch Donald’s Creatures- encounters in wildlife rescue by Darroch Donald

Darroch Donald is trained wildlife artist and semi-professional photographer who, during his career as a wildlife rescuer, and wrote and illustrated this lovely book about his time working at Middlebank wildlife rescue centre in Scotland. The book is full of various stories about animals that came into the centre, and beautiful illustrations and photos to boot. He also now lives downunder! Check out his website here.

I will be adding to the library as time goes on, so check it out if you are interested!

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