Sunday, November 3, 2013

Dracopedia: The Great Dragons (William O'Connor)

Dracopedia: The Great Dragons
William O'Connor
Nonfiction, Art
****+ (Good/Great)

DESCRIPTION: Since prehistory, the great dragons of the world have inspired fear and awe in humans. Today's populations may be threatened by poaching, pollution, and habitat destruction, but they still endure among us. From the white Icelandic dragons to the critically endangered gray Ligurians of the Mediterranean, from the misty coasts of the Pacific Northwest to the polluted lakes and rivers of mainland China, conservationists struggle to ensure that the world's great dragons will be with us for generations to come. Famed artist William O'Connor and his intrepid assistant, Conseil, set out on a trek around the world to observe and sketch all eight surviving species in their natural habitats.

REVIEW: Much like the first Dracopedia, O'Connor blends a vivid imagination with artistic skills, creating eight wonderfully realized species of dragon while offering artistic instruction. He focuses on digital media, with many tips on using Photoshop and related software for maximum effect - and how to avoid the sterile, "plastic" look of digital art; his final images look like true traditional paintings, demonstrating the versatility and power of modern media in the hands of an experienced artist. The art instruction often takes a back seat to O'Connor's invented dragons, though, and his accompanying art walkthroughs gloss over several steps. This is not a book for rank beginners, in other words, but for artists with some basic knowledge and skill to work with. Nevertheless, I enjoyed it. Even non-artistic dracophiles should be able to appreciate this book.

You Might Also Enjoy:
The Explorer's Guide to Drawing Fantasy Creatures (Emily Fiegenschuh) - My Review
Dracopedia (William O'Connor) - My Review
DragonArt (J. "NeonDragon" Peffer) - My Review

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