Tuesday, March 27, 2012
Wednesday, March 21, 2012
James Gurney - Color and Light, A Guide for the Realist Painter, 224 pages
The amount of pages and the beautiful edition allows the author to introduce us into the history of realistic painting, the text often accompained by full page reproduction of the best classic painters (Velazquez, Vermeer, and why not, the ones taking some distance from real-life subjects, like Mucha or Hirèmy-Hirschl). This section is a quick read but really complete; I appreciated a lot the page mentioning magazine illustrators like Walter Everett or Norman Rockwell.
After the quick history resume, there comes the theory, and it's where the author gives his best at showing a deep knowledge of the medium. This is also where he starts using mroe and more his paintings as examples. James Gurney most famous works are the beautiful and inspired illustrations in the Dinotopia book series, about an imaginary society where humans and dinosaurs co-habited in an utopian island. Needless to say, his approach to these illustrations is extremely realistic, and the sense of wonder raises from seeing these perfectly drawns dinosaurs walking along with humans in a strongly believable 19th century city.
The chapter about Light is very extensive covering baically any kind of lighting "technique" I can think of: from the more standard frontal lighting or three-quarter lighting to the more "tricky" edge lighting and contre-jour. A wonderful example from the light from below chapter:
Dècollage Nocturne, 2009. Oil on board, 20x24As the artist explains how he had to make a small model of the flying machine you see above, to study and experiment with real light-sources.
Sources of Light is indeed a very important part of the book, and really my very favorite one: how window light is different form candlelight or firelight? And indoor electric light frm streetlights at night?
The second half of the book is about Color. This is where things get really not suitable for newbies! The color-wheel, RGB and CMYK color systems, Chroma and Value are only one of the few things you will suddenly learn in this chapter. Everything is well explained but having some good basis would help a lot making the reading smoother :) One of my favorite chapter is the one about the Green Problem. No, not dealing with Hulk there, but green is really a tricky color to use and handle carefully. The suggestions there are very useful and hope I can apply them soon in my pics!
So yes, the book deals with very direct problems sometimes, like coloring hair or faces, or drawing effects like motion blur, specular reflections and so on. It's a very extensive part so I won't stop here naming everything mentioned there, just lessay you'll definetly know a lot more about colors after reading this second half of the book.
In short: the book is strongly suggested if you feel you already have good coloring technique basis. In that case is a wonderful compendium. BUT, if you don't feel so secure about your coloring skill, you would like to check this book for the wondeful illustrations contained there, and to learn more of course, as it contains amazing reference material for your future works :)
Sunday, March 11, 2012
Hope you like!