Sunday, 9 October 2011

Dragon Art


Dragon Art - Graeme Aymer
Foreword by John Howe


The book says:

Welcome to a world of fearsome and majestic beasts, soaring through the skies or lurking in their fiery realms of epic. magical and wondrous adventure. The dragon is one of the most iconic and popular creatures in fantasy art. Now Dragon Art explores a whole range of stunning work depicting those winged wonders.

The book begins with a foreword from legendary illustrator, Lord of the Rings artist and dragon fan John Howe. Then feast your eyes on 'The Masters of Dragon Art', a section that includes samples of the work of John Howe, Don Maitz, Janny Wurts, Ciruelo, Bob Eggleton and Michael Whelan. Having whet your appetite, move on to the meat of the book in which Graeme Aymer discusses the origins, influences and attraction of dragon and fantasy art. Alongside this, discover artworks by a host of exciting artists, some well-established and some newly blazing a trail, but all with their own distinctive style - including Alan Lathwell, Scott Altmann, Kerem Beyit, Anne Stokes, Minna Sundberg and many more. The majority of the recent work that features in the book was created in digital media, reflecting the use of the most up-to-date methods.

Also included are feature spreads showcasing artists' step-by-step stages leading to final pieces, revealing invaluable tips on technique. Dragon Art is an essential title for anyone who is passionate about the skill and imagination of top-class fantasy artists and the awe-inspiring allure of dragons.


I say:

I was very lucky to win my copy of this book from the Flame Tree Publishing Facebook page a while back. I've been meaning to do a review for ages but what with the move and getting behind on everything... well, it's taken me to long. Time to rectify that.

I'll be honest, when I entered the competition I thought the book would be one of those flimsy A4 sized softback 'how to draw' books that you see around. I couldn't have been more wrong. Flame Tree call this a coffee table book and I can see why. It's HUGE! You could have knocked me down with a feather when I opened my package. The book itself is hard backed and roughly 11.5" by 11.5" with 203 pages. The pages are a lovely thick, glossy quality and the images inside are just stunning, quite a few fitting a whole page or larger.
This is in no way a 'how to' book. The front of the book calls it "Inspiration, Impact & Technique in Fantasy Art". Oodles and oodles of glorious full colour art work, both full pages and smaller images interspersed throughout the text fill this book. The text itself covers the origins of folklore and myth surrounding dragons, to Tolkien and Lovecraft, to the dragons of Africa and Wales... there is so much to read and soak up and be inspired by.

I find the comparisons between normal art and digital art really intriguing. I must admit to being someone who has in the past dismissed digital art as "the easy option" and not "proper" art. I hasten to add I don't think that now - a couple of tries on my sisters digital drawing pad showed me the error of my thinking there. But seeing all this beautiful artwork has me really tempted to dabble in that side of things myself, usually a traditional paper, paint, pencils... materials you can touch and feel all the way girl...well, this book combined with another I'm reading (How To Draw Zombies) about combining traditional and digital formats have got me really interested and eager to learn more. The sections where a few artists have gone into stages of the artwork are particularly interesting when it comes to this.
I find myself coming back to this book and reading through it often. Quite aside from just how beautiful it is, the history, techniques, folklore (love my folklore) residing alongside the art make it a must have if you are even remotely interested in dragons or fantasy art. I love that the art featured is not all one type - there are Celtic inspired dragons, quite scary and horrific looking dragons accompanied with some really very cute and endearing beasts. It's one that will be read and looked at again and again - at least in this house! Highly recommended.
Flame Tree Publishing
@Flametreetweet

Thanks as always for stopping by :)

8 comments:

  1. Looks great!

    I've just bought from Amazon (my finger slipped on the BUY button!!) Creative Wildfire by LK Ludwig, based on your review - it's BRILLIANT! I'm loving it. I also got her True Vision book (finger slipped twice), haven't looked at that one yet but I'm so impressed with the first one I can't see that the other one will be disappointing.

    Just wanted you to know how good your reviews are :o)

    xxx

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  2. What a beautiful looking book! I love coffee table books. :) I feel like I would really enjoy this one, too. Dragons can be drawn in so many different ways, it's really interesting to see how different artists interpret them.

    Great review! :)

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  3. WOW WOW WOW Congratulations on the win ! My son is mad about dragons, collects all things about them. I might have to get this book for Xmas for him, looks amazing, lucky thing you ! (I think I entered as well, I never win things though, haha ! )enjoy ! btw, love your blog ♥

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  4. That's a nice book you got there! Might have to go shopping.

    Great Review Carmen!

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  5. Great review and the book looks fabulous.
    Hugs xx
    p.s. ROFL @Joanna...I know that finger slipping well!

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  6. Looks like a great book - I can't draw for toffee so it wouldn't be any good for me other than to decorate my coffee table LOL!

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  7. That looks like a beautiful book! Once upon a time, I wouldn't have thought twice about adding it to my collection....loved all things fantasy art a while back...

    Looks like you'll get some good use out of it...the pictures look amazing!

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  8. Great review. My son is mad on dragons, he has books, ornaments, a dragon painting and model dragons hanging from his ceiling! He bought this book earlier in the year when we went to Glastonbury and I have to say, IT IS amazing. The artwork is superb and I love all the folklore too. x

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