Book Review: Art Fundamentals


Art Fundamentals looks at the elements that contribute to a successful piece of art.

The fundamentals covered in the book includes light and colour, composition, perspective and depth, and anatomy.

It's written by several guest artists, among them Gilles Beloeil (Assassin's Creed), Andrei Riabovitchev (Harry Potter films), Roberto F. Castro and Matt Smith. The artists provide their own examples and commentary.

There are whole books written specifically for each of those subjects mentioned earlier. Having four in a book, I felt that the depth of coverage is sacrificed at times. So do not expect in-depth complete coverage on each subject. Think of this as a book of tips rather than a detailed practice-along instructional book.

The chapter on light and colour has 27 pages only. It's brief considering it's a huge subject - James Gurney wrote over 200 pages on the same subject in his book Color and Light. Here Gilles Beloeil uses his Assassin's Creed concept art as examples and talks about the fundamentals of lighting.

The next chapter on composition deals with the indispensable golden ratio. There are many useful composition diagrams and example paintings that highlight the importance of strong composition. The concepts are easy to grasp and the subject is sufficiently covered.

Next is perspective and depth. There are basics of 1,2 & 3-point perspectives, and vanishing points of course. What's missing are the rational behind using the different point perspectives and the placement of viewpoint positions. Coverage of depth is too brief. I would definitely recommend a dedicated book on learning perspective instead.

The chapter on anatomy has 76 pages. Emphasis is on muscle form of the body and there are many beautiful detailed illustrations of muscles of the torso, arms and leg. Other parts like head, nose, ears, expressions are briefly covered. There's mention of posing but not much.

The last two chapters are sizable galleries with accompanying commentary discussing each image. The first of the two talks about the paintings with attention to the art fundamentals covered in the book. The last chapter has contributing artists talk about their own artworks, specifically the concept behind. The work featured are contemporary paintings.

This book has useful tips and insights. But because of the limited space, each subject somewhat feels incomplete. Personally, I prefer books dedicated to single subject or aspect of drawing.

I'll recommend this book to beginners, probably as a supplement to what you've already learned.

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This book's a review copy from 3DTotal Publishing.

Art Fundamentals: Color, Light, Composition, Anatomy, Perspective, and Depth is available at 3dtotal.com | Amazon (US | CA | UK | DE | FR | IT | ES | JP | CN) and Book Depository

Art Fundamentals

Art Fundamentals

Art Fundamentals

Art Fundamentals

Art Fundamentals

Art Fundamentals

Art Fundamentals

Art Fundamentals

Art Fundamentals

Art Fundamentals

Art Fundamentals

Art Fundamentals

Art Fundamentals

Art Fundamentals

Art Fundamentals

Art Fundamentals

Art Fundamentals

Art Fundamentals

Art Fundamentals

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