Most helpful critical review
8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on June 19, 2013
Looks like I'm the only negative reviewer so far, but here goes.
I bought this book expecting to learn how to paint from imagination, but the book doesn't actually tell you how to do that. On the whole what it instructs you to do is to build intricate realistic models of what you want to paint, and then to do paintings of them. There's a very impressive painting on the cover of this book of a green creature holding a paintbrush. I assumed that this would have been painted from imagination, but when you open the book you find that Gurney actually built a clay or plastic model, extremely detailed, of the creature, then did an oil painting of it.
The book will also show you how to build up images using composites of things that do exist, such using parts of existing vehicles from which to create spaceships, but I was already doing that before I bought this book - it was just common sense. What I thought I was going to learn was how to make tones and textures and shadows out of nothing.
All artists use references, of course - but you don't need a book to tell you to do that, do you? And if you're just starting out as an artist, buying materials to make detailed models of figures, and getting people to dress up and pose for photographs so that you can then paint from the photographs - none of that is really feasible, is it?
So if you're already finding ways to make realistic paintings by using composites of photos and other sources of visual reference, then you don't need this book, beautifully put together and illustrated as it is.