Recently I finishes reading 2 books on the subject of painting, and both just blew me away. Even though both of them are somewhat related (both discuss the topic of fantasy / imaginative paintings), and still quite different, both had a way of teaching things most of us do not even consider while painting.
The first book I read was ‘Bold Visions – The Digital Painting Bible’ by Gary Tonge (http://www.visionafar.com).
This book discusses digital painting techniques for painting fantasy and sci-fi, both of my ‘hot button’ topics. Even though the author uses Adobe Photoshop, very few pages are dedicated to the actual PS controls used. The main focus is on painting techniques, what to look for in a given scene, how colors major up against each other, and so on, which is a good thing.
It’s truly amazing to see how Gary brings to life such things as newly forming galaxies, sunrises on a distant fantasy worlds, sorceresses and angels, how the mood of a picture changes drastically when the color scheme changes, and how much of thought process goes on behind every painting.
This book is meant for the painters who want to go up a notch in their understanding of the painting techniques.
The second book I read was James Gurney’s (http://gurneyjourney.blogspot.com) ‘Imaginative Realism – How to Paint What Doesn’t Exist‘. The title, as well as the book cover of the strange elf caught my eye, and I decided to buy. It proved to be the right decision.
James Gurney is a traditional medium painter, who has presented mostly oils in this book. The paintings are extraordinary, and the understanding of color and light is amazing (In fact JG has written one more book ‘Color and Light’, which is on my wish list already). The specialty JG brings here is his great sense of almost lifelike painting, which have some very unlikely elements in them. Just have a look at any Dinotopia picture and you will understand what I mean.
All in all, these 2 books have been some of my best investments in myself and my self development, art wise. I will heavily recommend these to anyone who truly want to move ahead in the world of painting.