Tuesday, February 5, 2008

How About a Book?

I was looking at the blog and I had an idea - why don't you write an instructional textbook on painting? --Dan
You should consider compiling an instructional book! --Tom

Have you ever thought about putting your adventure and art lessons into a book form? –Michael

I swear on my life, if you wrote a book on painting, color and picture making it would be the biggest thing since the Loomis books (and possibly Harry Potter). –Victor

Thanks guys. You are very kind. Good questions. You deserve a thoughtful answer, so I’ll devote this post to the idea.

As most of you know, I’m just doing this blog for the fun of it. I fit the writing into spare moments each evening, after my “day job” of writing and illustrating stories. I do it simply to learn new things about art by means of writing about them. Presumably you read it for the same reason. Together we put in a little time each day with the hope of picking up a new thought to put into practice. In this way we become each others' students.

I love how-to books. Being mostly self-taught, I owe much of my education to them. But I have always felt that there’s a gap in what’s available.

  • There are lots of books now about plein-air painting, and there are books on how to draw dragons or dinosaurs, but there isn’t much that connects observation with imagination, or that gives you practical methods for painting a realistic image of a scene that doesn’t exist.
  • There are books with bold techniques served up like recipes, but not many that really explore the thinking behind picturemaking, or that offer tips on research, maquettes, models, and sketches behind the final execution.
  • And how-to art books generally don’t touch on the amazing discoveries in the science of visual perception from the last 30 years or so. As we’ve seen already, a lot of the art school assumptions we have about things like “eye pathways” and “primary colors” turn out to be antiquated dogma.
What do you think a Gurney Journey book should include? Plein-air painting? Color? Lighting? Dinosaurs? Step-by-Steps? Fantasy? Dinotopia? Perspective? Pencil sketching? Caricature and animation? Art History? Lettering? Book Design? Materials? Art school reports? Goofiness? Half of the blog posts are just cotton-candy stuff, like Gallery Flambeau, or Gurning or the Kaaterskill Creek Disaster. GOOD GRIEF! It’s all over the place!

Should the material be broken up, as Tom suggested, into a series of separate books? Maybe a single book shouldn’t try to encompass everything. Books have to be comprehensive and focused, right? If you weed out all the goofiness and road tour stuff, is there enough material yet for a book?

Blogs and books are so different. Blog posts can wander like a beagle following its nose through the tall grass. And as my wife points out, reading a blog is free. If you’re not interested in a post, you can scroll down or click off.

If it does turn out that Gurney Journey becomes a book, then perhaps the blog can serve as an Athenian idea laboratory. I really love the amazing feedback that you are all bringing to the experience. As all bloggers know, writers benefit from being more accountable to real live readers. I can tell you that your input has taken me down avenues I never would have traveled alone, and given me the nerve to go backstage and do interviews.

One of the things that inspired me to do this blog in the first place was a Wired article from a year or two ago called "Radical Transparency." The idea of radical transparency is to let blog readers completely into the thought process of your business. The article itself was rough-drafted as a blog, and the readers played an important role in questioning assertions and pointing out resources or second opinions before the article found its way to print.

So I guess it’s possible that Gurney Journey could evolve into a book. But I’m not in any rush, and I want to keep my day job. But I do have a large and growing backlog of topics yet to cover on Gurney Journey, and it’s better to compile a book from too much rather than too little. For now I want to build up more material in the freewheeling climate of daily posts.

The blog has has led to at least two real gigs. ImagineFX magazine recently asked me to write 25 tips for painting dinosaurs. And Illo magazine is just about to publish an in-depth interview feature that goes behind the scenes. I’m really excited because I love both magazines. I’ll let you know when they hit the stands.

Tomorrow: Two Values


Erik Bongers said...

Well...I kind of expected this response :)
Blog -> Book = Problematic.

Actually I've already been thinking about this since I first posted the suggestion for a book on the "Color : warm cool" topic way back in December !
(I probably wasn't even the first)

Rather that tell what I believe should be in the book, a more general consideration:

My father believes that The Art of Painting degraded when the teaching system of 'mentorship' was replaced with a school system.
(I'm not sure 'mentorship' is the right word : I mean the system of 'master painters' and their 'apprentices')

Though I think this view is way to simplistic, I do think my father has a point. There's so much 'little' information that you never can learn in schools and that you either have to learn through experience (the hard way) or hear from a fellow artist (the coincidental way) or...through mentorship.

What I'm trying to say is : a new book on painting might try to focus on exactly those little experiences that are not taught in schools and are not found in more typical books on art.

Wouldn't we all wish that Jan Van Eyck had written a book on his technique?
Or Rubens on how his studio (working with a lot of assistants) was managed and how the work was delegated?

On the dinotopia site there are a couple of step-by-step pictures of some paintings.
I've been going over and over them again to try and grasp 'the process'.

So, of course James Gurney's way of working/thinking isn't the only one I'm interested in. I so often wonder when standing in front of a painting : "How did he do that ?"
(Hmm...although I said not to, I'going to make a suggestion for content after all)
If a book with only "The Peculiar and Strange Ways of Working of Jamus Gurneus" sounds too scary, what about a book containing "the way of working" of a couple of classical working artists ?
Now, all of these artists would have to be very experienced and thus very old and bearded or bald.

But I can see that a book remains problematic. I just hate to have to print out the whole blog...

Erik Bongers said...

Hey, I just read something on The Net.
You know what the intermediate level between apprentice and master was called ?
A journeyman.

Roca said...

Erik is on the right track...this kind of direct connection with artist and audience cannot be reproduced in book form. However, I've learned so much from your notes that I never learned in art school, it would be great to have a reference dedicated to your process, maybe with little dialog boxes scattered about with contextual knowledge about color, shape, etc. Another thing art school failed at is bridging the gap between "knowing how to paint" and "becoming a professional painter," such as how to approach a commission or publish a book. It would just be a shame if the blog were to just disappear from the 'net one day as many do when their authors tire of them.

Christine Walker said...

I discovered your blog not long ago . I also returned to taking art classes at about the same time and I read Gurney Journey in conjunction with that. I would read it anyway, but the two just happened to coincide and its been wonderful to have them both available. I'd like to see a series of books each with a supplemental cd or dvd. I think that would help to encompass more learning styles( auditory, visual, etc.) and I personally just like it.

Elizabeth O. Dulemba said...

Since starting to follow your blog, I have felt very strongly that I was reading a "How to" book and that it would one day become a "real" book. (I know I'd buy it!) You may believe it wanders, but my perception has been that it is highly focused and highly educational.

Unknown said...

I'd buy a how-to book you wrote even if it covered the exact same information as the blog. A book is usually organized in a specific way that empasizes certain information where a blog is more free form or fluid.

The thing I would be relly interested in is your thoughts on observation and fantasy. I recently did a post called concrete and fantasy which was inspired by Uri Schulevitz and Tony DiTerlizzi talking about the importance of creating a believable world bsed on observation when dealing with fantasy. I actually went through your blog looking for more insights but couldn't find anything. I found examples of you practicing this but not your theories on it.
I think I disagree with Erik and Meredith, I believe a book can bring you quite close to another artists thoughts. The Art Spirit by Henri has in some ways been more educational than many of the painting classes I took.
As far as the blog/book relationship, perhaps the blog can direct you toward what people are most interested in reading about.

Murat Kayi said...


your words...:
"that connects observation with imagination, or that gives you practical methods for painting a realistic image of a scene that doesn’t exist."

...put it in a nutshell for me. I have been practising drawing/painting for two years and do heavily rely on reference and mastercopies for every study.

But whenever I try to make a step away from the copying over to creating from imagination it's been like a block in the road. I would love a bit of insight on how to build on reference and still create from imagination.

And, needless to say, anything else you have to say about your way of painting would be a treasure.

A series does make sense to me. I think it's better to take your time and explore things in depth rather than try and put everything in just one book.

Erik Bongers said...

Hey guys,
I never said "Don't write a book (or multiple books)"
I just said I understand it's problematic !
(perhaps I said it too bluntly - a belgian tendency which is often interpreted as being negative by Americans. I've worked with them for more than 10 years, and I still didn't learn !)

But back to the 'problematics'.
There are a lot of wake-up-sweaty-in-the-middle-of-the-night questions for The Author to deal with.
Is a book that only 'fills in the gaps' solid enough?
On the other hand, what's the point in 'yet another book on painting'?
Is "...by James Gurney" reason enough?
He could just give us his list of references. After all, he stated in this very post that he learned a lot from what's on his own bookshelf.
And with all respect, but a handfull of fans jelling "Book ! Book !" isn't going to persuade a publisher.

But back to my main idea on this (which may not have been so clear).

I'd love to see some books by a number of established classical painters that simply deal with 'their' way of working.
Ansel Adams did that. He moved on to The Next Level, but we still have his work...and important for photographers, we still have his 'way of working and thinking'.
For painters, Van Eyck and Rubens would be on the top of my list, but I haven't seen them around lately, so James Gurney would be a great runner up !
Happy Super Tuesday.
Seek Peas, Vote Well !
(yes, the green round things)

Paolo Rivera said...

I can't say I'd buy 5, but I'd definitely buy 1 (and recommend my friends to do the same). There are many books out there on technique, mediums, and painting from life, but none seem to address the thought and footwork behind the creation of a believable fantastic scene (or even a believable quotidian one.)

Your posts on "shape-welding" and maquette building, among many others, were of particular interest because I don't think I've ever seen that in any book, despite their importance.

My two cents: write a book focused on composition as the ultimate goal. What I love about your work is the way all these separate ideas come together in a coherent whole— a single image that is at once beautiful and legible.

Carol H. said...

I would love to see a book by you and would definitely buy it! The thing I would really like to see is how you go about *beginning* a painting. So many books give one technique and color theory etc (although I would also like that to be included), but how you come up with the composition, the preparatory thoughts and sketches, how you organize your research materials, the props and reference materials you use (and how you use them) -- that's what I'd like to see. Things like your blog post about the rock as a reference for a mountain -- that's something I never would have thought of!

I would also love to see step-by-step demonstrations of your painting technique, maybe you could make the whole book be a painting of a dinosaur in a setting, and show us the whole process of how you go about doing that.

Anonymous said...

IF you decided to do a book and though it would be difficult to choose, I must say there is nothing out there to my knowledge that addresses: how to draw dragons or dinosaurs that connects observation with imagination, or that gives you practical methods for painting a realistic image of a scene that doesn’t exist. I would plunk down the ol'debit card for that one without hesitation. Coming in at a close second would be a book that explains techniques but also encourages problem solving and the thinking process that goes into the application of the medium(s). Whatever your decision, PLEASE keep this blog!

Brian said...

A how to book would be great. I agree with some of the other posts about the little details left out of art school. I read this blog first thing every morning and would definitely buy a book. I especially like to hear and see how you do things and the techniques you use. Also the mind set and the entire processes you go through. You already touched on the things that are missing in other art books and those things are sorely missed. You should do it!

Michael Damboldt said...

I would definitely buy any book you authored, Mr. Gurney.

As for the book idea in general, I happen to have several Graphic Design books written by some of the most famous people in the industry.

I don't try to copy what they've done point by point, but I do read it for the general idea of their thought process and where 'exactly' they broke the rules.

However I think we've all been there when standing in front of a major work of art, wanting to step back in time and just watch the master at work for even a short time.

But the wonderful things about books are the instant references contained within. I understand what people are saying about books replacing mentoring, however I think if they're combined and the books used as supplement, then everything is fine.

As for personal work, I would much prefer to reference a work of art in a book and look at the overview of technique for ideas on how I would want to execute a certain subject.

As for a Gurney Journey book (or the choice between the two), I would say keep the blog! I love the rabbit trails and goofiness. You never know where a rabbit trail might lead!

A book would be amazing because you have such an amazing grasp on lighting and composition, but please don't let it take place of the blog! :-)

Jamin LeFave said...

There is only so much that you can learn in school. My experience has been that art schools focus on teaching students how to draw and paint but as a copier and not as creator. This has been my biggest challenge in making the transition from student to artist. I remember Howard Pyle's biography mentioning that he felt much the same way about his art education.

I would love to see a book that addresses the elements of picture making, the connection between imagination and creation and the less mentioned principles as conducting research, finding/ creating prop and models, and the process from thumbnail to finish.

Tom Scholes said...

New idea! Get someone to help you compile and write the book. Problem solved!

I don't know myself what would be a good book, or a book that sells well. What I've been most interested in are the more foundational tidbits and your thoughts upon them. Looking forward to the IFX article and further blog posts :)

Daniel Potvin said...

Of course I would buy THE Gurney book. But I must admit that I like the granularity and connectivity of the blog. And I enjoy getting a daily dose of wisdom :-) Perhaps the only advantage of the book would be nice full page colour illustrations.

Victor said...

For me, the most enlightening areas that this blog has covered involve color and light and the nitty gritty of how one goes about creating a picture.

On the first subject, even just having a hard copy of the information that you've already written about in the blog with a little bit more in the way of elaboration and better pictures would be tremendously useful.

On the second subject, I think a book by you would be pretty earth-shattering (I'm really not exaggerating) for me and a lot of other aspiring illustrators because, to my knowledge, no book out there has really tackled the area in a thorough manner. Like you implied in your post, there are plenty of books (some on which are quite good) on figure drawing, drawing and painting from nature, perspective, composition, etc., but no one ever tells you how to combine all these elements together into a successful illustration from the imagination. It seems like the only books that even come close are those on comic book creation and although I love comic books, the parameters and goals of the medium are a bit different than those of traditional illustration and painting. I feel that this is one of the major weaknesses artistic training today, even among the ateliers of the resurrected academic art movement. Regarding the latter, it's great that more artists are once again picking up the methods and techniques that were developed (and then abandoned) over hundreds of years, but many students trained in this manner are still left lacking the skills to produce anything more complex or narrative than highly refined figure studies and still-lifes.

When I look at a painting like Ilya Repin's "Reply of the Cossacks" or your own "Dinosaur Parade", what's the most perplexing to me from the standpoint of an art student is not how it was painted, but how the individual elements of figures, architecture, props, etc. were brought together. It's difficult for me to convey how frustrated I am that although I can draw a a single object or a scene in front of me reasonably well and have a reasonable knowledge of perspective I don't know how to pull together separate elements and put them together despite being in a good illustration program at a university.

So if you've managed to stick with me, here are some of the things I'd like to see in a book on picture making by James Gurney:

-Once you have a basic idea for a picture, how do you gradually transform and finalize the idea via sketches? Maybe pickup right after your earliest thumbnails when you need to start dealing with the constraints of the real world (perspective, proportional sizes of characters vs. environment, etc.)?

-How do you break up the picture into manageable problems (figures studied individually or in groups? real architecture as reference or models? To what extent will you rely on photos vs. life?)?

-How do you pose and light characters and props for small studies or photo reference in order to integrate them into a larger composition?

-How do you deviate from reference or models and draw from imagination (e.g. modifying expressions or poses)?

-How do you maintain consistent perspective and lighting for all you picture elements (really important and unknown to me!)?

-A section on perspective as it relates to imaginative environments and picture making in general would be great. I recently read Mark Cotta Vaz and Craig Barron's book on the history of matte painting and I was blown away by the matte painting of Rome Peter Ellenshaw did "Spartacus". How the heck did he do that?

-How do you decide on and create the color and lighting scheme for the overall picture?

-How do you combine your individual studies into the larger whole?

-Good studio and professional practices: collecting props, reference, costumes, trick of the trade, etc.

-Include information on composition as needed (e.g. creating a pleasing and interesting overall effect)

-Don't spend too much time on technical things if they have been covered before. Rendering, figure drawing, and so forth.

-I'd also love to see more about your personal experiences and influences interspersed throughout.

Anyways, I've probably rambled on long enough, but the prospect of acquiring the kind of knowledge I've been searching for got me really excited!

Jamin LeFave said...

After having some time to let my ideas stew a bit, I wanted to add to my previous comments. First let me say that I love the format of the blog and that it allows for convince and freedom as a reader.

But I also think that the book format has some advantages over the blog format. The advantages being order, continuity, as well as allowing for depth. It is easier to read the printed page when there is a large amount of text. A chapter format would allow for an in depth approach to certain topics.

At least two example of a topics that in my opinion would benefit from the chapter format would be color schemes and perspective. The idea of using cut out shapes and a color wheel in creating color schemes is a novelty and I would like to know the logic behind creating the shapes. The other example would be the process behind creating perspective with vanishing points that extend off the painting. The tip that you mention is a great idea. I would like to know how to create one myself. The other advantage of the book format would be in having specific assignments based on the topic discussed in the chapter.

These are just some thoughts I have. At times it is easy for me to lose sight of the fact that this blog is the product of your time, and effort. So I just wanted to thank you for sharing what you have learned over the years.

Unknown said...

....please no assignments....

Michael Damboldt said...


Nathan Fowkes said...

I vote for an emphasis on visual storytelling. How you design your pictures to best represent story moments.

C. Bontrager said...

Its funny, i have thought about printing out your daily blogs and compiling them in some kinda binder, if you made a book it would be wonderful!

Your research and approach on art techniques and instruction is very valuable but i wouldn't leave out some of you own personal stories and experiences that you have thoughtfully put down in this blog. There is a lot of interest in your industry- i have purchased books on how to break into illustration ect- but they seem somewhat dated and very impersonal. As far as the buisness side of things, your inspirations, your personal epiphanies, these all make very interesting reading for me. There is nothing wrong with a little "cotton candy" every now and than ^__^

Michael Dooney said...

You may not realize it but you are already writing a book;) I'm sure I'm not the only one who has printed out various posts...the recent color masking for example to refer to while painting. I love "how to" art books particularly from the 40's-50's but the beauty of this blog is that it touches on lots of divergent points and the reader can pick and choose what interests them. another thing you might want to consider is the burgeoning tutorial dvd market. Most of the ones available are by digital artists but there are lot by traditional painters as well.

Dan Gurney said...

I am impressed by how many thoughtful and worthy responses have been offered by your readers.
Right there is a big advantage of blogging.

The first thing I'd like to say is that I hope you keep blogging. I enjoy it all--the whole feast--including the sweets.

Are there two books here?

1. A compilation of your technical skills (color, perspective) in a how-to format;

2. A book that discusses the process by which you develop imaginary worlds and then capture them on canvas so convincingly.


But the most memorable posts for me have been the cotton candy ones, (I have a sweet tooth) the ones that tell of the odd little details of your life that surround your art. You mentioned Gallery Flambeau, Gurning, and the Katerskill Creek Disaster, but there were others Dead Air, the story about "On the Road to Better Health" and many others.

What art schools can't really teach is the "inside" life of being an artist. I would think telling your story autobiographically could be immensely inspiring to a number of youngsters out there wondering what to do with their lives.

Anonymous said...

I cannot begin to tell you how to lay out a book for teaching art techniques.
What I can tell you is that the subject matter and the pace that you communicate with us in terms of your posts is perfect. You throw an obscure artist reference at us and then the next day you show us how to set up a paint table. These are far more useful and fun lessons then any art school as i'm sure you know. I spent weeks in school on Kandinsky's 'Point and Line to Plane' and I am pretty sure it made me maniacal. Your information is more fun and easier to absorb. You communicate like you are one of us.
Hope this helps.

Anonymous said...

just want to say two things

1. james didnt you already write a book with thomas kinkade about drawing..... http://www.amazon.com/Artists-Guide-Sketching-James-Gurney/dp/0823003329

i think you forgot to mention this?

2. who cares about a book on painting i want a book on how to make my own cool tron glasses! like you have!! HAHA!!!

but seriously if you did a solid book on painting begining to end i would buy it....as long as you did the author photograph with your tron glasses!!!!!!!11

Joann Loos said...

Thanks for your blog! I only discovered it recently, but I read it religiously now. I find it amazinly helpful. Even tho your blog is based in painting, I think it's reach is more than that.

I'm coming from a completely different view. I make jewelry with beads. The areas I'm most interested in are color theory and techniques to enhance creativity. I'd buy any book you wrote just to get those sections.

ZD said...

I don't think you have to cut out the silly stuff from the book. I could be like an autobiography/instruction book. I think it would be really cool if you posted instructions on how to build the gallery flambeau, but you probably don't want kids playing around with that.

Nobody paints dinosaurs with the amount of personality yours have. If you're capable of explaining the thought process behind your art in detail, it would be a great contribution to the art world if you would do so.

James Gurney said...

I am overwhelmed with all of your comments, which every editor of how-to art books should print out and study! You spoke so eloquently on the larger themes of what makes an instructional book useful, and about pros and cons of blogging vs. print. Forgive me if I can't respond to everyone, but I've read all your comments a few times over and they've provided lively topics around the coffeepot.

Victor, Jamin, Nathan and others: you raised some great topics for future posts!

Don't worry, no matter what, I don't plan to quit blogging. And since you asked, I promise to keep in the cotton candy, beagle trails, uber-dork Tron Goggles, and granularity.

gail said...

I have become a faithful reader of your blog too James. I would buy your "How To" book in a minute, but I feel that the blog experience has even more to offer than a book can. In this case the input, feedback, and reactions from the readers (not to mention your feedback to your readers feedback) makes me feel more like I'm back in art school, than reading a book.

I'm looking forward to your article in "Illo" magazine! So glad they started up again. I have the two issues from 2005 and have missed getting those "illustration only" mags in my mailbox!

Paul McCall said...

Please include some business advice on working in the illustration/publishing field. I went through a state university art program focusing on illustration in the seventies and there were no business courses included. Learning how to make presentation books, leave-behinds, how to contact potential clients, how to deal with art or creative directors, contracts, deadlines, etc. would be of immense value.
I also suggest, should you take on this gargantuan task, you keep your blog readers up to date on the process, perhaps selecting a few to act as an advisory council (oo-oo-pickme!-pickme!) and send them email packets to avoid dropping any of that wonderful minutia we love on the blog.

Ben Foster said...

I think the gaps you point out in what's available to the market are definitely the start of what a Gurney how-to book should include. A few other thoughts:
+Composition-- particularly the process you go through to arrive at a composition (thinking of an expanded version of what Keith Parkinson did in his intro to "Knightsbridge", but with the Gurney process. ;) )
+Color and the properties of light-- Your observations on the properties of lighting, color and atmosphere have been hugely helpful. Too many of the books I've looked at on color theory are based solely on theoretical concepts, and very few really talk about the application of color in terms of realistic, illustrative practices.
+References and where to draw your line-- Too many artists are turned off by the idea of using reference, and too many others are tied severely to it (I'm much more the latter.) Some analysis of the lengths you go to in order to get reference (maquettes, photo shoots, tear sheets/reference files) and where you stop yourself from using it-- when to make the deviation in drawing for a better read, expression, etc. when to use those "theoretical" color theories to shift the mood of a piece without destroying its realism, etc.

There's plenty of great books on perspective, anatomy, etc. I think many of the "how-to" books out there are rather formulaic, but even given that gap in the market I don't think a book limited to "how to draw dinos" would make the most of the obvious depth of insight and knowledge of the artistic process that you could offer (or it would incorporate all those things and be lost in the marketing.) There's very few instructional books that focus on illustration, especially from a "fantasy" perspective (or at least, "realism from your head") and those that do are less concerned with teaching theory and technique with practical applications than they are elaborate portfolios or simple snapshots of someones process (which rarely give insight into the thought behind it).

I fear this comment has ventured into rambling. Thank you for this incredible blog. I was linked to it under the promise of "best blog on the web" and I'm at a loss to disagree. I've spent the last 2 days reading from the first post to the last, and I feel like I really need to do it again to absorb all the information you've put forth. Any artist should find a wealth of information on here, and be fairly entertained with all the sweet stuff.

If you ever figure out how to do the whole mentoring thing, let me be the first to sign up. (actually, I see you have ConceptArt.org linked in your sidebar-- they've got a whole forum dedicated to mentoring threads. Maybe that's an option? Of course, I think you'd be overwhelmed with the responses of people wanting to study with you....)

Gannon said...

Mr. Gurney,

Perhaps this has already occurred to you, but I think you are a pioneer of a new form of education that is based on an open-source model. Blogs and internet technologies make this possible because communication is practically free.

I'm not sure if you're familiar with Seth Godin's work, but he is considered the marketing guru and writes about this topic a bit. In a nutshell, he advocates giving information away for free in order to be able to sell it. For instance, "Small is the New Big" is a book he published that is made up mainly of his blog posts. Because his blog is so useful, people bought the book, even though many of them read the same information on his blog. Seth basically states that the book is just the souvenir. I'm not sure if that is exactly how I would characterize it, but from a pragmatic perspective, it works.

From this view I would say that you don't need to create any new content if you don't want to. Latecomers to your blog, like myself, would benefit from a textbook for this open class that you've been teaching.

Whatever you decide to do publishing-wise, your students await.


Anonymous said...

Yes, I love this place. so much amazing information. And the best part is you are so consistent in keeping it daily that I know there are going to be new posts that I don't even have to wait very long for. oh and the fact that you respond to our comments. don't you wish you could have talked to Norman Rockwell like this when you were younger.

I agree with ben foster about the book containing the gaps you already pointed out. oh and sign me up for the mentoring program : D

Maggie Stiefvater said...

I think a book would be wonderful! A how-to book would be a waste, in my opinion -- because the beauty in your blog is not that you are teaching others to be miniature Gurneys, but rather that you are equipping us with the tools to become better whoever we ares.

So my votes for theory, and the fun tidbits like setting up scenes for imaginary places -- like the wonderful rock post, that was great!

Anonymous said...

I will buy it for sure!! I thank you daily for your blog--Judy

Anonymous said...

You have asked what your readers would like a potential book to be about. So here is what has interested me the most on your blog so far:

1) I love to draw and paint by observing what is around me (mostly objects and animals), but I also love to draw from imagination. My question often is: If I want to make things appear real that don't (yet) exist, what techniques are there to help me achieve that? One example was your post about creating the elf alien: http://gurneyjourney.blogspot.com/2008/01/3-d-elf-alien.html

2) I would very much enjoy a book about color, because you touch on subjects, I have not read in this manner in any book on color theory I have come across so far. The idea of choosing your palette with the help of masking the color wheel and how to mix your colors accordingly is highly helpful. Also how to create a fascinating sketch with two values (http://gurneyjourney.blogspot.com/2008/02/two-values.html) or your question if moonlight is actually blue (http://gurneyjourney.blogspot.com/2008/01/is-moonlight-blue.html) were full of practical information.

3) My third favorite are your posts about lighting. The Golden Hour (http://gurneyjourney.blogspot.com/2008/01/golden-hour.html) and overcast light (http://gurneyjourney.blogspot.com/2008/01/overcast-light-part-1.html) are examples of this category. You could also combine this with a talk about the science of visual perception and how we perceive light.

Maybe this information helps you a little to sort out what kind of book your readers might enjoy reading.

Thank you so much for the wisdom and humor you share on your blog!

Stephen James. said...

The way I see it nothing is more personal than an artists sketchbook. It's about their personal spir of the moment thoughts. If you comment on your drawings all the better.

Of course you could still always take my advice and republish the artist guide to sketching.

Keep up the good work.