kittyocean: I give this book a 7 out of 10! (7)
[personal profile] kittyocean
Two weeks no review... first because of work, second because of a power-blackout...
When I typed this review it was 21:30h / 9:30 PM, there was a power-blackout and a thunderstorm passing by. There was not much light, so if you see any strange typos, it's probably because of that (plus I missed it while going through this review again).

Title: Fantasy-Figuren (Tekenen stap-voor-stap) (English: Fantasy-Figures, drawing step-by-step)
Original title: Draw Medieval Fantasies
Author: Damon J. Reinagle
Language: Dutch
Series: Tekenen stap-voor-stap (Drawing step-by-step)
Reviews for other books in this series (up till now): None yet, but I own quite a bunch!
Format: Paperback
Pages: 64
Publisher: Librero
Year published: original 1995, my edition 2000 (Dutch print)
ISBN number: 905764102X
Topic of the book: Drawing medieval Fantasy figures
Reason for reading: It was recommended to me by a friend during High School
Recommended: Yes

Back cover text:

I won't put the text down this time, because it's a lot XD. It mentions what you will learn, written in a small font, plus adding that more than 1.5 million copies of this book were sold in the United States of America.



Comments on the back cover text:

The font is small, so I never really read it. The back cover text also reminds me of an educational project. “You will learn this and that and with the help of this and that you will also learn this and that.” It reminds me of things I had to write for college (which I was pretty good at but totally disliked doing). In case you don't know it: I am a graduated elementary school teacher , but I decided to look for other challenges so I'm not a teacher at the moment.

So, for an educational book I would applaud the fact the 'what-will-you-learn' is easily written, kept short and covers most of what you will learn. I just doubt anyone will ever read it, plus it doesn't really motivate me. Also, the font is too small.

First paragraph/page:

This is a big wall of text I won't copy.

Comments on the first paragraph:

The first paragraph mentions which things we will learn first and what we will learn after that. What caught my attention is that it mentions that if you skip the basic lessons and start with the hard lessons right away, you might get frustrated... and that is no fun. (← author's words, not mine!... though I can relate to them...)

It's interesting this book tells you to start with the beginning. No other book I read thus far mentions that. It's such a logical thing to do... but so many people don't do it. They just look at a pretty picture and then go for it. And when things fail, they say it's a bad book or that they can never draw just as pretty!

…Ironically enough, I also start somewhere in the book and hardly ever at the beginning. But that's just me. I never look at manuals either. I recommend starting with step 1 and reading manuals! It saves you a lot of frustration!

Back to the book, this little line of 'start with the basic lessons first otherwise the harder lessons could be frustrating' really made me curious about the rest....

Review:

Content:

The lessons are short, so I won't review them by chapter. Overall, you start with basic shapes, then go to stick figures and add some flesh. The lessons are consequent: the same techniques are used for all the creatures they suggest.

This artist uses a 'clock' to help you decide where the lines should go. Things aren't 45 degrees tilted or 90 degrees tilted, but things are from 1 o'clock to 7 o'clock or 9 o'clock to 3 o'clock. It's easier to understand than degrees, especially if you have no degrees-circle-tool (math-thing) with you.

The text is quite a lot and one step mentions various things you have to do. The lessons aren't really varied, it's mainly dragons, knights and horses. There's also a section about perspective and how that works (illustrated with castles).

Writing style:

The text is easy to understand, but it's a lot. A lot of visual artists are visually-minded, meaning they learn more from seeing the steps, instead of having to read about them. I truly dislike How-to-draw books that have a lot of text in them.

Art:

The art is nice. It's not amazing, but the steps in the book really work. I've used this book in the past to draw a dragon and that dragon looked a lot like the one in the book. Anatomy is often not mentioned, so you have to figure that out by yourself. The characters sometimes look a bit stiff and it's not easy to find out how to put the characters into different poses.

Conclusion:

It's not the best book around, but it is one I have used more than once. The steps are easy to follow and you have a pretty high success rate. However, you can't use this book as your 'I'll-learn-it-all-from-this-one'. You really need a book about anatomy alongside this one, or your characters have a chance to remain inflexible and stiff.

Rereadability:

I've used it more than once, so I guess that makes it re-readable. I still have a few soldiers I have to design for my books, so maybe I can use this one. It does have an elaborate list of parts of a harness.

And look what I drew!


Sea Dragon by *kittyocean on deviantART


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