BEA'S BOOK NOOK "I can't imagine a man really enjoying a book and reading it only once." C. S. Lewis “If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all.” ― Oscar Wilde

Monday, December 20, 2010

Review: DragonArt Evolution by J "Neon Dragon" Peffer

Book Blurb:  A dragon artist’s guide to better drawing

Magnificent and powerful creatures, these dragons be, with bone-crushing jaws and razor-sharp teeth, it’s difficult to tell whether you’re dealing with a hotheaded nature or a wise and benevolent beast. Therein lies the trouble with drawing them from life. Make your dragon portraits more authentic (while avoiding loss of life and limbs) with the help of this guide. A follow-up to the fiercely popular DragonArt, this book features ALL NEW dragons and EVEN MORE detailed dragon anatomy instruction. 

· 60+ step-by-step demonstrations cover a variety of dragons, including medieval, fairy and sea-dwelling varieties

· In-depth advice for drawing every part of the beast—eyes, ears, horns, wings, scale patterns, limbs and more

· Extra tips and tricks provided by your dragon guide, Dolosus

It’s everything you need to draw a variety of dragons—from enormous, ancient beasts with broken scales and fractured horns, to sleek, sinuous creatures with leathery skin and fancy frills. So steel your heart, prepare your trusty inking pen, and venture forth, brave artist … unleash the ferocious, extraordinary, original beasts that dwell within your fiery imaginings!

***NOTE: This review originally appeared at The Book Lovers Inc blog as a dual review. The review was actually two sided of myself, the school teacher and the book reviewer, working together. I have reproduced the review as it originally appeared. My review name at that blog is The Charmed Lover. ***

My/Our Thoughts:  
The book came with a flyer describing it as a tool for increasing creativity and quoted some studies concerning children's creativity. I teach (pre-school) so that jumped out at me. Perusing the book, I had two very distinct reactions: my teacher's voice was saying one thing and my reader's voice was saying something else so I decided to do this review using both voices.

Why did you decide to read DragonArt Evolution?

Bea The Teacher: My interest was immediately caught by the publisher's claim that the book could help counter loss of chidlren's creativity due to the amount of time they spend watching tv. That topic is a hot button at my own school so I was curious to see how, or if, the book met the publishers claims. Additionally, I'm of the school of thought that it's the process, not the product, that matters.

The Charmed Lover: I have always loved dragons, they are one of my favorite mythological creatures but I can't draw worth a darn. Even my stick figures are sad little creatures. The teacher part of me knows that I shouldn't care so much about the result but I get  frustrated nonetheless. I hoped that I might be able to draw something resembling a dragon.

What were your expectations before you started the book?

Bea The Teacher: I worried that it would be a paint, or in this case, draw by the numbers book.

The Charmed Lover: I had the same worry and also worried that the illustrators pictures were so gorgeous that someone trying to draw their own dragon might feel intimidated.

When you started reading the book what was your first impression?

Bea The Teacher: I loved the illustrations! The colors, the details, everything was so gorgeous and the faces have such emotion to them.

The Charmed Lover: I felt the same. I spent a long time just looking at the final products and enjoying their loveliness.

Final Verdict? Does the book meet it's goal?

Bea The Teacher: Yes and no. I think it definitely meets the author's stated goal of helping the reader learn to draw dragons. Does it meet the publisher's goal? Well, that's harder to measure but I'm doubtful. I do think that the book will encourage the readers both to practice and to experiment. Peffer gives not only detailed steps for each dragon and illustration but she explains the reasons behind each step and the book has mini lessons on topics such as shading and perspective. If this is the readers first introduction to thinking about art that way, it might encourage them to keep experimenting and to seek out instruction.

I really like that Peffer continually encourages the reader to experiment and to draw their own dragons; her illustrations are both a goal and a starting point. She never makes the reader feel like their work is lesser if it doesn't look like her finished product.

It's definitely not a draw by the numbers sort of book so it may end up encouraging some creativity after all.

The Charmed Lover: I still can't draw a dragon, or a decent stick figure, but I liked this book. The author is very encouraging and frequently reassures the reader that the desired results take time and practice. She encourages the reader to make their own dragons, not just the ones that she has drawn in the book. She gives detailed instructions, complete with explanations, and offers mini art lessons on such topics as anatomy, the color wheel and even geography ie how a dragon's environment would affect it's build. The book is fun, never dry, humorous and a joy to look at even if you never try to draw.

Publisher: Impact

Release Date:  August 19, 2010

1 comment:

  1. Hey Bea,
    Pleased that you liked this, I had quite a bit of fun with it a while ago and like you, I may not be the best artist but I'm picking up tips all the time. That I think is the goal of Impact, theres a lot of how to books but some are a bit more advnaced.

    Great review.


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