01/01/2011. Contributed by Geoff Willmetts
pub: Ilex. 192 page large square-shape illustrated hardback. Price: GBP 20.00 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-905814-52-7.
check out website: www.ilex-press.com
The first question I went back to Ilex with was what happened to ‘Fantasy Art Now 1’. Remember the book, ‘Pocket Fantasy Art’, I reviewed last month?? That’s the concise version of it, so buying this one will complete your set. Having got that out the way, what about this book?
In many respects, the art is a lot darker this time. Not necessarily more evil just a darker palate, often relying on the earth colours. The page selections accompanying this review were chosen with a bit more emphasis on colour because of the rigours of small reproduction. There are some colour paintings balancing the book out but when you read instead of doing the flick test to see if anything takes your eye in the shop, you remember the darker pictures.
The book is divided into eight chapters covering the subjects of warriors, ladies, beasts, faeries, landscapes, battles, magic and other assorted folk. The art is culled from sixty-nine artists, who have a directory at the back to the book if you want to seek out more of their work which is always a good thing. A lot of it was used in the role-playing game industry and books, but there’s also a selection of unsolicited material showing what these artists do when they are let loose to do what they want. The paintings are often done through computer graphics, but there’s also a measure of some done in oils and occasionally even in pencil. Each piece tells you not only which artist and some comment from them, but also the medium they used. As before, if I have to be critical of this, it would be useful to know what the original dimensions were set at, even for computer, just so any budding artists out there know what scale they were using. One artist did point out that he painted wall-size and get caught on the detail which does go to show that size isn’t everything but how you deal with the dimensions you give yourself. A couple of the artists did indicate how long they took to do their computer painting which goes to show how many hours they must spend on such work which is actually comparable to doing it in oils or acrylics without the drying time or light to take into consideration.
This is an effortless book to read through and admire the paintings. Indeed, I had to hold myself back on occasions from reading the chapters too quickly to allow the art to sink in. If you love fantasy art, you’re going to want this one in your collection.
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