Welcome to Sketch Round-Up! This will be a place for a couple of artists to trade ideas and share them with anyone who might find that interesting.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Round-up Review: Fantasy Genesis by Chuck Lukacs

I like art books. A lot. I have nearly two hundred of them in my personal collection. It's always a benefit to look at the techniques used by others to create their work, because there's always a gem or two to pick out of the illustrations and text to use in developing your own personal style. But not all 'How to' art books are created equal. Some are more helpful than others with providing insight into striking that crucial little spark that will ignite your creativity and encourage you to create truly amazing things. What follows is my review on one of the better books out there, Fantasy Genesis by Chuck Lukacs. If you’re looking for a way to break through your artist’s block, this is your chisel.

Now let me tell you how it works. First of all, you’ll need some dice. Paper and Pencil Role-Player gamers rejoice! You’ve probably already got what you need on hand: A d20, a d8, 2d6, and a d4.

With the dice shown above and a Game Sheet – like the one shown below –

You’ll select a series of word concepts for an illustration and write them on the sheet for reference. The dice are rolled to select broad categories, then other rolls are made to select specific details within each category. These details then become the outline for your project. See what I mean by simple? It's also very, very helpful. Rolling dice to create a concept both adds an element of randomness to the mix and removes what can be a major hang up in the creative process - thinking about what subject you want to create. How many times have you picked up your sketchbook because you're just itching to draw something and put it right back down again because nothing comes to mind? That hurdle is removed immediately with this method.

Speaking of removing hurdles, Chuck takes it a step further with his tips and hints on how to render the elements you put together on your Game Sheet. I'll admit that I'm not all that great at rendering animals, so the sections on Animal Legs, Teeth and Tusks, and Paws and Claws are a tremendous help for me. They are detailed fundamentals explained in a simple manner that can be put to use for drawing just about any type of animal - mundane or fantastic alike. And those aren't the only helpful hints this book has to offer. Buildings, machinery, plants, emotions and actions are all covered with the same attention to detail. Even if you have plenty of experience with drawing various fantasy subjects, you’ll find something to put to use. I've lost count of how many things have 'clicked' for me after reading the demonstration for a given subject.

Fantasy Genesis is a book that’s not only good for concept generation. Chuck has generously sprinkled examples of his art throughout so there’s plenty to study and learn from. This is an outstanding book and I can’t recommend it enough.

By the way, here’s an example of my own work, created after using this amazing method: a Mantis/Lizard kind of...thing.  Creating him was fun and I'm really pleased with the result.

See what I mean? Nothing but win and win.

Get a copy of this book. You'll be glad you did. You can find it at Powell's Books, on Amazon, at the North Light Shop, or Barnes and Noble. And be sure to stop by the Chuck Lukacs Web Site to see the amazing things that other artists have created, plus even more of Chuck's great work.

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