Book review: Dreams of Magic by Michele-Lee Phelan

17 08 2010

Dreams of Magic by Michele-Lee Phelan

Yesterday I got Dreams of Magic, I was really excited since the postal service took forever!
The book can be purchased through Amazon or Michele’s website. If you purchase them through her site though, you get it signed and she included two of her wonderful oracle cards on mine!! So thrilled! 😀 The book runs a bit on the expensive side, but it is with good reason. The quality is incredible! I don’t think I’ve bought any book like this since I was a child and my mother payed for books 🙂 This is a hardcover book with pages of incredible print quality, vivid colors and great definition. Almost like having a small collection of Michele’s prints at home.

This is not a “how to” book, it is an art book. There are almost 60 full color plates showing Michele’s works from the Oracle deck, the Tarot deck, and also other personal works and some of her loved older ones, as “Night she cometh”. The book is also a display of the artist’s poems and spiritual path, which is completed toward the end with a series of questions and answers about her spiritual life and the role art plays in her life. She closes the book with a walk through of “the Gift” in which she explains her technique.

If you are in search of a book that will teach you to paint like Michele-Lee Phelan, you will be disappointed, this is not that kind of book. This is a high quality art book showcasing the artist’s best works and her poetry.  It is pricey because of that same fact. The one big drawback I found with it is that since it was shipped from Australia by boat it took over 3 months to arrive to me, which made me a little nervous. At the time it was the only way that Michele had to ship her books, I am hoping that she has other methods available to her now!

Book review: Dreamscapes: Myth and Magic by Stephanie Pui Mun Law

4 08 2010

Myth and Magic by Stephanie Pui Mun Law

In this book Stephanie Pui Mun Law shares her knowledge and mastery in creating wonderful watercolor images. She covers the basics in art and specifically in watercolors, and then offers a series of practical hands on walk throughs using several of her wonderful images as templates.

The thing I find the most interesting about this book is the way Stephanie designed it. Instead of grouping all the instructional part at the beginning and then showing the step by steps, she has used a very dynamic approach in which she basically submerges you in the practical aspects of watercolors almost immediately. Each chapter is based on a special character (the sun, the moon, the witch…) and in each chapter she talks about character design, one or two important basic concepts (as light or skin colors), has one or two myths and proceeds to one or two walk throughs. As the chapters progress she covers more difficult concepts, making the learning gradual and interesting.

I can say that I would highly recommend this book. It is absolutely wonderful and very entertaining, full of interesting tips for using watercolors. If you purchase it through her website the book will be autographed and come with a print of the cover image!

Book Review: Tattoo, from idea to ink. By Joy Surles.

8 07 2010

From time to time I design tattoos, an activity that  I enjoy greatly, but I have never done any study on that topic, so I decided to buy some books on it.  I found Tattoo, from Idea to Ink, “Tattoo, from Idea to Ink, is an indispensable resource for tattoo artists and enthusiasts alike.” Or so the review reads. Truth is that it is not a resource for artists. It is a lovely book with beautiful images from different master tattooists from around the US mainly, but there is little about the designing.

Even when the book claims constantly that they focus on the process of the tattoo from its conception, they basically just ask the artists how they approach the design getting a generic “I use a lot of reference” as an answer each time. It is a good reference if you are planning to get tattoos, since the book covers hygiene, safety, and what you should look for in a tattoo artist.

I did like a lot the interviews the author includes in each chapter, and the extensive collection of images she shows. But unfortunately the book is not what it claims to be and it is mostly aimed to tattoo collectors.

Is there any tattoo book you could recommend me? I am in the search right now.

Book Review: Draw and Paint Fantasy Females by Tom Fleming.

18 06 2010

Tom Fleming has worked as a comic artist for years, and he has recently started to explore fine arts with stunning results!

Draw and Paint Fantasy Females by Tom Fleming.

I had the luck of getting to talk to him at Pittsburgh’s Comicon, and I so wanted to buy one of his wonderful canvases! But I cannot afford it yet, and I did not want to leave without something of his, not only because I wanted something his, but also because I wanted to support somehow this great and humble artist. So I had to settle for the economic version of support and bought his new book: Draw and Paint Fantasy Females.

The book covers the basics of doing sexy fantasy females. It goes through basics of anatomy, body and face construction, expressions, pencil and watercolor techniques. It is a basic book, if you are already doing this it probably will not open your eyes to anything unexpected, if you are wanting to get started this is an easy read with understandable directions. The anatomy section is a little brief, but then, this is a very general book, not an anatomy book. There is no mention to composition either, which I find it can either make a piece succeed or ruin it.

I enjoyed very much the tutorials section, Tom walks you through a few pieces that he has done in the past and shows the techniques he uses. Some of them are a little unorthodox and I love it! I really enjoyed taking a look into his personal technique  like the use of white opaque watercolors.

I recommend this book for beginners and for those that would like to have a glimpse into this artist’s techniques. Also you cannot miss some of the photos in the book that show this fit strong armed man posing as a fantasy girl to get references of poses! 😀