Art Book Reviews: Fantasy, Pencil Realism, Colour Pencil Painting

I covered the Library Barcode. The Author’s name just happened to be there.
“Fantasy Cartooning” By Ben Caldwell


 Interesting typography, has a fantasy theme, appears interesting….give it a go.

  • Great for beginners. Who want to draw exactly like the artist does. So if you want to draw like the artist, this is the book for you.
  • I found the roles interesting and more apparent of all the stereotypical roles in fantasy stories. At least I got something from this book.
  • A lot of cookie-cutter/generic/generalised people designs for the hero/heroine which is not the artist’s fault but the sad truth *sometimes* if you want characters to have appeal. You know, incredibly skinny waists, exaggerated manly muscles, bosoms and bottoms–you don’t need me to describe it, we’ve all seen it everywhere in our lives.
  • I appreciate that there are some big/large/old/variety of people in there but they are also of the generic sort because this is a beginners fantasy cartoon book; just an observation, not a criticism. Usually they are the villains/supporting roles because generally people are lazy to look beyond the appearance.
  • This book goes over “how to draw” steps with mostly each category [hero, villain, etc], a bit about props and what typical fantasy stuff is needed and encourages you to deviate from the norm. Again, great for beginners to start off their ideas.
USEFULNESS RATING TO ME: 1/10 [because there’s nothing new to me here]
“The Big Book of Realistic Drawing Secrets” By Carrie Stuart Parks & Rick Parks


I liked how “DRAWING SECRETS” is emphasised. Oooo secrets. I’d like to know! Also because realism [ie EXACT realism with pencil] isn’t my strength. And it’s a big book. It’s also sweet that a married couple made this together.
  • Learned A LOT about the tools used to do traditional pencil art and it convinced me to get a Drawing board [I got someone to do a DIY one by buying a piece of wood off Bunnings Warehouse, strained my arms sanding the thing, used book laminator to cover it and somehow a makeshift stand was made. But that’s another story] so I didn’t have to strain/injure my back drawing/reading stuff
  • using tracing paper under your drawing hand to prevent smudges
  • techniques with erasers/acetate, and loads of other things…but I guess I’d live without electric erasers, paper stumps, expensive papers they use; cheaper alternatives are fine–just don’t smudge with your fingers
  • got some practice out of drawing eyes, noses and ears
  • measuring what you see onto paper
  • facial proportions and lighting was touched upon
  • you’re required to have good photos to use as reference photos….which I don’t have a good camera/photos and so I didn’t get to actually do a realism piece yet with just pencil…I’ll have to find someone to draw don’t I– without hitting copyright issues.
  • I’ve attempted realism before many years ago…and they never look exactly/recognisable as the original person…it looks a like a realistic person but just not THAT person I’m drawing!!
“Painting Light with Coloured Pencil” By Cecile Baird 


 Sweet illustration of a rose/flower and….”PAINTING with coloured pencils?? My first colouring utensils can do this? How??” I was asking.
  • I learned what burnishing is and how to layer properly!
  • They used expensive prismacolour pencils to do the beautiful still life paintings they did…so I didn’t try any of the exercises–which was the majority of the book. *ashamed*
  • Learned how it was possible to do wonderful, photo realistic art with coloured pencils!! But I haven’t practice/tried yet. I’ve only got Crayola pencils.
USEFULNESS RATING TO ME: 5/10 [It could be more if I actually did the exercises]

I reviewed three books in one go. More to come.