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review 2020-06-03 13:15
The Little Book of Drawing Dragons & Fantasy Characters
The Little Book of Drawing Dragons & Fantasy Characters - Cynthia Knox,Meredith Dillman,Michael Dobrzycki,Bob Berry

by Michael Dobrzycki, , Bob Berry, Cynthia Knox, Meredith Dillman

 

A look at the beautifully shaded drawings on the cover is enough to tell me this is above my drawing level, but I thought I would give it a try anyway and see if my perspective might improve.

 

Like many drawing books, it goes over tools and materials first. I noted the inclusion of tortillions, used for smudge shading. This is followed by a section on shading techniques, so a lot of possibility there for improving my skills. Then we get to the construction of creatures using basic shapes. They make it look so easy!

 

The creating textures section goes into more detail than I've seen in a lot of books. I can see this becoming the key, along with the shading, to making the drawings have that detailed finished look. The details on claws, horns and especially wing positions was extremely well done.

 

The creatures shown in the instructions include the western dragon, eastern dragon, wyvern (perhaps a good starting project as it has fewer fiddly bits), wyrm, water dragon, hydra, sui riu (Japanese rain dragon), centaur, fairy, minotaur, satyr, griffin and unicorn. The fact that it's weighted towards dragon-related creatures is part of the appeal of the book to me.

 

There is another section on tools and materials, this time for adding colour. This goes into using marker for an alternative dragon design, a pegasus in pencil and marker and another fairy in coloured pencil. Then a detailed drawing of a wisteria fairy is provided for working in water colour, though there are no instructions for drawing this one.

 

Overall I think the book is wonderful, but it's going to take some real practice to get to a level that looks as good as the pictures provided.

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review 2020-04-21 15:15
In Search of Lost Dragons
In Search of Lost Dragons HC - Elian Black'Mor,Carine-M,Jezequel

Elian Black'Mor and Carine M

 

This is a beautiful art book, set up to look like a private journal for someone who is very talented at drawing dragons. The drawings are of exquisite quality.

 

The story, written in handwriting on lines of the paper, is told in an old form of English that sounds early nineteenth century. It tells of finding this place where there are monsters, in other words, dragons. Pictures, drawings, newspaper clippings and anything you might find in a journal or scrapbook are included to form the impression of a genuine report of the discovery.

 

Many of the drawings are anatomical, showing specific body parts as a scientist might record and there are notes of measurements and other details. Some of the drawings are in color and I cannot emphasize enough how detailed and wonderful they are! Having reviewed this from an ebook copy, I'm thinking towards buying a paperback copy for the joy of the artwork.

 

Through various notes, an adventure story unfolds in the tradition of Jules Verne, but with dragons. The book is extremely well done and really earned its five stars. A few other creatures are depicted, like sea serpents and the technical drawings of ships and cars are also excellent workmanship. The nature and abilities of the dragons enter the commentary so that the reader is brought inside this magnificent fantasy world.

 

This is a book to savour. The handwritten notes can be challenging to read very quickly and the drawings are a visual feast meant to be enjoyed at leisure. Detailed maps and dragon lore from many countries is included along with other fantasy elements. I did find some repetition of a section in the ebook version, which I presume was a technical anomaly. It didn't matter because it was worth looking through those pictures again!

 

Altogether a beautiful book, and an essential addition to any fan of dragons in Fantasy fiction.

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review 2020-04-05 13:54
Sigil Witchery
Sigil Witchery: A Witch's Guide to Crafting Magick Symbols - Laura Tempest Zakroff

by Laura Tempest Zakroff

 

Non-fiction

 

This is a book about sigil magic, something that has roots in a spectrum of ancient cultural esoterica but became popular with the rise of chaos magick in the 1970s. The book starts with a general explanation and some history of some of the systems where sigil magick began. It then continues with a full chapter on pictorial art from cave paintings to symbols used by secret societies, hitting a few little known facts but missing out obvious things like Runes, which is later explained.

 

I have mixed feelings about this book. As a book about art and how to apply drawing techniques for interesting looks for sigils, it excels. On magic... not so much. I have no doubt that the author's spells would work for her, but the explanations of how sigil magic works falls short and in some instances contradicts safety information I've read from more experienced and trusted authors on the subject.

 

I noted that an early reference to the method used in chaos magic(k) gave me the impression that it had been taken from a couple of variations that might have come from Internet forums and thought the author could benefit from reading the book by Austin Spare where that particular method originated, then later she talks about having read that very book and suggests it's difficult to follow.

 

She also never mentions anything about charging the sigils, which is an important step in the process. For people new to sigil magic, I'd suggest people start at the known authors; Spare, Carroll, Hawkins and possibly Hine.

 

I think this book would be a good resource for someone who already has a working knowledge of sigil magic and is looking to expand on the artistic possibilities. Her information on art materials was excellent and it's clear she knows her stuff on that. This would be a good supplement for visual appeal and some alternative approaches, plus some I've read about elsewhere like motion sigils get more attention here than in the earliest sources.

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review 2020-03-27 16:09
Draw 62 Animals and Make Them Cute
Draw 62 Animals and Make Them Cute - Heegyum Kim

by Heegyum Kim

 

This was a cute drawing book with very simple drawings of a wide variety of animals. The initial drawings of the animals are shown in 5-6 steps and those are fairly clear and easy to follow.

 

Each animal is followed by a 'make it cute' page and that's where it could have used a lot more instruction. The drawings were undeniably cute, but how to put the animals in different positions while keeping perspective wasn't addressed at all.

 

Probably best for someone with a natural artistic perspective eye, though someone just learning to draw could follow the basic designs easily enough.

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review 2020-03-24 15:55
Cartooning Animation 1
Animation 1: Learn to Animate Cartoons Step by Step (Cartooning, Book 1) - Preston J. Blair

by Preston Blair

 

This is a short book, just 46 pages, but a lot of practical information is packed in. It covers how to make expressions and depict movement as well as getting feature ratios into traditional cartooning perspective.

 

A few familiar characters show up among the drawings as well as some basic animal character shapes and variations. Altogether a very good resource for the beginning cartoonist.

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