Friday, July 17, 2015

Winged Fantasy (Brenda Lyons)

Winged Fantasy
Brenda Lyons
Nonfiction, Art
*** (Okay)

DESCRIPTION: Dragons, gryphons, phoenixes, pegasi... since antiquity, fabulous creatures have flown across the skies of our imagination. Here, artist Brenda Lyons offers tips on creating your own magical winged beasts and bringing them to life with watercolor paints.

REVIEW: I've seen Lyons's work online for some time, and have long been a fan of her gryphons, so I was thrilled to finally find her work in an art book. She excels at describing different wing structures, particularly the lay of feathers (always tricky), and her examples offer detailed painting instructions. It is, however, more of a painting book than a drawing book; her exercises start with detailed line drawings already on the paper, often with little hint as to how to replicate them for the artist trying to follow along. Lyons also skimps on anatomy, particularly bone structure (save the wings) and musculature (vaguely mentioned, but never discussed in detail or diagrammed.) These are pretty big gaps for a book trying to teach the art of constructing convincing fabulous beasts. Indeed, some of her critters looked a bit cartoonish, particularly around the faces, due to iffy underlying anatomy. What dropped this one to a flat Okay rating, though, was the "extras" - at several points, Lyons instructs me to go to a page on the Impact Books website for "additional information." This information, however, is only available if you enter your e-mail address. Do I really need more spam just for a little elaboration on her lessons? It's disappointing to see art books going the way of computer games and so much else in the world, where paying for content mostly only buys you the opportunity to pay for more content, even if the "payment" is just in more advertising being slung at you. Overall, this isn't a bad introduction to the subject, but I've seen more detailed books on fantasy creatures - including ones with more thorough instructions - on the shelves. (I still love her gryphons, though...)

You Might Also Enjoy:
The Explorer's Guide to Drawing Fantasy Creatures (Emily Fiegenschuh) - My Review
The Fantasy Illustrator's Technique Book (Gary A. Lippincott) - My Review
DragonArt (J. "NeonDragon" Peffer) - My Review

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