Sunday, October 18, 2009

Marking a Mark

Thanks to Katherine Tyrell for the nice post about Imaginative Realism on her blog Making a Mark.

For those of you who are art blog aficionados, Making a Mark is a wellspring of information about the art world, with information about competitions, art marketing, resources, and valuable links.


Erik Bongers said...

This is a perfect post to share my first experiences with the book.
Being a devoted reader of this blog - I've read it about daily since almost the beginning of the blog - I already knew most of the concepts of this book. Nevertheless, it's a joy to finally be able to hold these concepts in my hands, physically, as a book. And it will not take too many years for it to turn dogeared, to get stained with paint, waterstains and charcoal fingerprints. You see, I have a tendency to always have the same books lying around my workspaces. Sure, I frequently put all the books back onto the shelves, but somehow, within days, some books always seem to pop up on my desk and drawing table again. And it's always the same books. They only reason I can find for this, as they do not serve as direct reference material, is that they 'surround me with inspiration'.
Thanks to this book I can now 'surround myself' with James Gurney's work, world, ideas and methods.

Erik Bongers said...

Secondly, this book is a nice compilation of some of his work that has either never been published before or only as a book cover or only as a small thumb on this blog or even only as a much smaller size. Example of the latter is the full page rendering of the "Palace in the Clouds" that was originally shown at about half the size in the first Dinotopia book.

Erik Bongers said...

Thirdly, more than just some tips on imaginative realism, this book is testimony of a very developed and over the years finetuned methodology. While in artistic circles it is bon ton to favour intuition over tuition, to believe rather than to question, to romanticise rather than to analize, James Gurney took another approach to art. Being and archeaologist himself, he examines the process of art creation slowly and carefully, layer by layer. A methodological approach that he has shared with us on this blog and now, in his book. To pick out one example: the way he worked together with scientist to unveal the truth about how a viewer 'scans' a painting.

Erik Bongers said...

So, Erik, no criticism at all? Have you gone all soft?
Of course not!
There is one serious irritation I have with this book.
The double-page spreads.
I hate that. Already the spine of the book is showing signs of serious physical abuse from my attempts to flatten the pages on these darned spreads.

Having said that, I do love that I'm able to see the finest details of some paintings now (including a curved scratch, dent or hair in the left side of the sky of the Shandara vista). Very dim, but noticable.

Erik Bongers said...

And to finish today's spam, some questions.

What's with the sky on the Giganotosaurus painting?
This book's version has no clouds, while all other versions I've seen have some featherlike sirrus clouds.

What's with the sun on the Chandara vista? It's present in the color sketch as well as the line drawing. But it's in an imposible location. An unnoticed mistake or a distracting moon?

Eugen Caitaz said...

Your work is Awesome!!! I like this skeletons by diferenly animals!!! Sometomes i make this things too. But I have a question for you- "you make all this from Papier mache or not?". :)
Enter in my blog's world!!!

James Gurney said...

Erik, Thank you for all those thoughtful responses, questions, and critiques. I value them all, as I do your always surprising and interesting comments about the blog itself.

You are very observant! For the Giganotosaurus, I accidently sent in a transparency that was shot of the painting in an earlier state, before I added the clouds and the flock of pterosausrs. The disk in the sky in the Chandara sketch is supposed to be a moon rising as the sun is setting behind us.

About the spreads: some of the images are long horizontals, and I wanted to reproduce them as large as possible. So working across the gutter was the only way to really see the detail.

One thing I insisted on is that the publisher use folded and stitched signatures rather than a glued in binding--the way most books are done these days. The back of the binding may get a small crease in it, but the pages should hold together.

About being analytical--it is my gift or my curse. Someone recommended to me a book on writing where the basic message was "Don't Think." It is funny because on my wall I have the word "Think." Yet when I'm actually painting I become completely intuitive. What is intuition? It is merely rationalism made automatic.

bzyglowi said...

I also wanted to leave a comment about the book, which I got a few days ago. I knew it was going to be good, because it was inspired by the blog and the blog is fantastic, but I didn't know it was going to be this amazing.

First of all, the book itself is just beautiful. The print quality is amazing, with excellent colors, and the layout of the pages keeps interest but isn't too cluttered. It's a joy to read. In fact, for the first half hour or so, I didn't even read any of the articles, just flipped through and looked at all the pictures.

Second, the wealth of information in the book is just fantastic. It seems to cover nearly everything you could really want to know. It doesn't surprise me at all that it's listed as the top instructional book on Amazon. After I got the book, I promptly took it to class so I could show all my friends (most of them going into some form of illustration themselves) and my teacher.

I really am a little bit in love with this book. Thank you so much for putting it together.

Erik Bongers said...

Thanks for the replies.
Glad you insisted on the pages being stiched rather than glued (and keep the price down).
Page spreads in combination with glued pages should be forbidden by law.
I agree with the definition of intuition.

Unknown said...

I showed Josefien, our daughter, the little green creature on the cover, and first she uttered that it was a naughty strange animal. But when I showed her that the little green fellow was actually painting (just as I and Josefien had been doing the day before), she concluded that it had to be a nice guy :-).

Yes, I'm trying to give our daughter a good eductation!