Thursday, March 18, 2010


One of my favorite places to visit is the library, as it has become an unending source of inspiration and education in my art endeavors. On my most recent trip, I found 2 good books that I thought I would share.

I have always been a fan of dragons (as if my header wasn't a give away!), and am constantly on the lookout for a good book on how to draw them. I have managed to find a few, but have never been impressed. However, Draw Dragons and Other Fantasy Beasts by Gary Spencer Millidge and James McKay has proved to be a keeper. Very easy to follow along and they start you at the beginning with some basic art concepts. They then go into how to draw the creatures using basic shapes. This is not like one of the "Learn to Draw" books though. They show how to use contour lines on the shapes to give them form , and using those same contour lines to suggest the direction the animal will be facing. They also break the animals body parts down into sections to discuss the possible variety and ways of drawing each.

Other points they hit upon are action lines, posing, environments, and coloring the finished drawings. Lastly they give examples on how to draw many of the well-known mythical creatures like the centaur and the griffon.

I could go on, but it really is a great book for both beginner and professional.

Another book I picked up was Color Theory by José Maria Parramón. I haven't gotten too deep into this book yet, but I have already learned quite a bit that I didn't know before, like how mixing black and white with your colors to make them darker or lighter isn't the best idea sometimes (makes'em muddy or washed out). And how it is possible to get most if not all of your colors from the three basic colors (blue, red and yellow), but that the chemical make up of of the three basics, cannot give you the exact shade of the chemical composition of, say, yellow ochre. May be a bit too much info for some, but interesting none-the-less.

I have found many other great books that have been a valuable asset, too many to list, along with many wonderful kids books that I draw inspiration from as I flip thru the illustrations. Never underestimate the value of your local library. Visit as often as you can.


Jennifer said...

Art books are so addicting! There's always something to learn, even from the most basic. Have fun. :-)

Shirley said...

Thanks for the intro to these books, Tom! Way to go...I am still collecting art books and how-to books. My library is growing and there's always so much to learn. Thanks for this! And by the way, your Brave post below is wonderful - you did a great job! I remember the Warner Bros. cartoon of that bulldog..and yours hits the mark. Always good to see your visit. have a great weekend!

Tom Barrett said...

So true, Jennifer!

Always glad to share great finds, Shirley.