I have a thing for dragons! I once purchased a $25 calendar simply because it was filled with dragon images. As a functional calendar it never even saw the wall, but as a reference for honing my drawing skills it was well used.
While at one of my favorite stores a few weeks ago I came across a treasure and without hesitating I snatched up the book from the shelf and scurried to the check out. I had just nabbed the last copy of Drawing Fantasy Art, 5 books in 1, that the store had on sale. I wasn't really saving a great deal as the book normally sells for about $14 but between its covers lay all manner of fantastical creatures and mystical beings including some very nicely detailed information about the anatomy of the incredible dragon! I think I would have gladly paid full price for it and even if it wasn't the last copy they had.
The book is a mere 128 pages in length but houses a good deal of practical information pertaining to the anatomy and drawing concepts associated with such things as dragons, wizards, witches, warriors, elves, orcs. dwarves and magical kings and queens. It's divided into a 5 book format each section with its own tab and the illustrations for each character and how to draw them is quite detailed. This book may involve sketching but one thing it isn't is sketchy on detail. For the price it's one of the better books I've seen on fantasy art.
The book takes the drawing concept and breaks it down into sections, starting off with basic cone, cylinder and rectangle/box shapes that are then added to in steps until before you know it you have a magical character before you, that has come to life under the direction of your hand and through the markings from your pencil.
With a brief introduction that gives you an overview of what the book entails, you are quickly moved on to the supplies and equipment necessary for following along with each lesson. The equipment and supplies are very minimal and there is nothing required above the standard paper, pencils, crayons, markers, erasers or paint. Of course there is also nothing stopping either the budding artist or the professional, from supplying their own choice of tools and imagination is always welcome.
After reviewing the perspective information which includes 'from a worms eye view', we are moved quickly into my favorite category...dragons. We learn a bit about the different dragons from various parts of the world and then are taken into their anatomy and step by step guides for drawing them. The detail within this book for each of the characters depicted is anything but shoddy...these images and the lessons involved are quite easily some of the best I have seen in this category. The book may not be lengthy or wordy but it is chalk full of truly beneficial and useful information for the fantasy artist or for anyone wishing to draw such types of work.
From various stances to musculature details and more, this book is well worth ownership. I don't doubt that anyone with any interest in picking up a pencil and walking through this book step by step, will come out the other end unable to draw one or all of the characters without a very good level of accuracy and understanding which will easily lend itself to other types of drawing as well.
I initially picked it up because of the fact that it housed fantasy creatures and in particular dragons, but I actually came away with a better understanding of the anatomy for these fanciful creatures that I didn't possess before.
Highly recommended for the beginner or more accomplished artist who wants a quick, easy to navigate and understand addition to their library of fantasy art techniques. The team of artists for the book Jim Hanson, John Burns and Steve Beaumont have done an excellent job of putting just the right amount of detail and know how together to come up with a book that in my opinion is definitely a winner.