Tuesday, February 20, 2007


I like to draw.

I don't consider myself good at it; I rate myself a struggling hack at best. But it's fun so I keep doing it.

Being that it's a hobby that I get into pretty good, I have a few requisite materials and a few books on the subject, not to mention lots of bookmarked or saved on-line tutorials. It's the books I like the best, because they're more instantly portable.

For no good reason, then, I'd like to talk about the different books I have and give brief capsule reviews of them. Why? Because it's my blog, turkeys!

Human Anatomy Made Amazingly Easy Chris Hart

My man Chris Hart has cranked out a buncha buncha these art instruction books, and I own this one.

It rocks.

No, I'm serious. Flat out, you get it home and it jumps out of the bag and it jumps on your coffee table and starts riffin' hot licks and your cat jumps up on the dish cabinet and the neighbor girls all start swooning and The Fonz leaves town. It really does make anatomy easier to understand -- and to render. Worth the price of admission.

Drawing & Painting Fantasy Figures Finlay Cowan

Dude knows his stuff, and it shows. This book has been fairly useful, covering a variety of topics and media with a comfortable amount of depth and plenty of urging to go do the stuff yourself. It has a good section on drawing geometric patterns, a cool trick for rendering chains, some useful advice for faces and lots of nice examples. If it has any real downfall, it's that he makes it look easy.

How to Draw Fantasy Females: Create Sexy Cyberpunks, Seductive Supergirls, and Raunchy All-Action Heroines Chris Patmore

This title is a misnomer, actually, and I'm quite disappointed by the book as a whole. Outside of an interesting essay on creating strong female characters and some tips for rounding out background and personality and so on, there's not much real how-to in this book -- it's effectively a gallery of other artsists' hawt chixxors, with a few bits of how-to stuck on as a seeming afterthought, as if it suddenly occured to the editors that "Hey, it's going to say 'How To Draw...' on the cover!" Look through it at the bookstore, crib the notes and put it back. Mine's going to Half-Price Books next time I go up there.

Action! Cartooning Ben Caldwell

Now...I used to overlook this book at the shops. I don't know why. One day, though, I decided to pick it up and look it over. I copped a squat at the local Barnes & Noble, cracked it open, and peeped the innards.

I got a black eye out of the deal, because this mofo freaking pops with advice, tutorials, ideas, encouragement, practice poses and fun. I owned it within days, and I've been doodling wth its assistance for a few weeks now. (Witness the bee girl up top.) I showed it (and its companion below) to Anjiko-Z and she was like "Whoa!" I cannot reccomend this book highly enough, kids. It's got the goods. Even if the style ain't your cuppa, you could do a lot worse than to have this in your library.

Plus -- at ten bucks, you can buy it and its sequel instead of "Draw You Up Some Sexy Cyberpunks Ha Ha Ha Just Kidding It's An Art Galley" .

Yes, it has a sequel. It's called

Fantasy! Cartooning Ben Caldwell

More of the same but with a fantasy bend. It covers FRPG-style stuff, a bit of horror, even some historical stuff and Harry Potter knock-off action pretty nicely, and although it does reiterate some of the stuff in Action!, it stands solidly on its own -- it gets down with monsters, dragons, inanimate objects, a bit of scenery and heraldry. It is by no meand exhaustive in its coverage, but it's a good, solid and encouraging starting point. It's got me drawing Conan throwing punches all day long. Thumbs up, me hearties.

Dragonart J "NeonDragon" Peffer

I actually haven't done anything out of this one yet, but I've read it and it's good stuff. I suck at dragons, so hopefully J here can teach me some of her kung fu. The book is a hoot to read, actually, because the author's chatty, goofy style is infectious and chipper. She's the type you want to have in your game group, or along with your wild bunch when you go out for chinese. Updates as they occur to me.

Ok. Post over! Go home now!