FairyArt: Painting Magical Fairies and Their Worlds by David Adams

9/10 This is a book that can be for anyone.

With fantasy movies on fairy tales being so in vogue at the moment, it would be mad to overlook a book like this which shows the reader how to draw and paint fairies and their environments. There are many how-to books on the market as well, from ones on fantasy art techniques in general to manga dreamscapes and enchanting fairies.

For any budding artist it is essential to first seek out the sort of paints you need for creating your works of art. Pencils and erasers, and paints and brushes are the first things you will use the most when you get started, and David gives a list of these items, and although it is a long list, depending on how experienced you are you will only need to use what you feel comfortable with as the ones listed are quite expensive. As if you are younger it would not be advisable to buy either Windsor & Newton or Liquitex as they are more for the professional artist.

As far as most of us are concerned fairies are a part of our fantasy world, and through the years artists have been inspired to create some amazing works of art based on myth, sprites and fairies. Here David sketches and paints fairies in their natural habitat; fairies in a woodland setting, ones near lakes, while others are rendered near mountains. One of the things that will strike the reader are the pencil sketches David has throughout the book. In chapters on Fairy Features and Hands and Feet on pages 42 - 43, his depiction of eyes, ears and lips are amazing and realistic.

The point of the book, at least according to the author is to make your paintings as limitless as possible as your imagination can be let wild as much as you want it to, in colour or black and white. And while you think you can draw to a certain degree, you can try and "hone your skills," as you develop an understanding of the ways of drawing pictures and paintings. In chapter 1 Basic Drawing and Painting Techniques, he covers all the artist needs with tools and colour theory, and it gives us one important lesson to learn from, practise, practise, and practise. In time no matter what drawing level you are at the moment, you will get better. By using this book you will be challenging yourself as an artist to draw then paint in a fantasy setting. If you think about the dreams you have had, you could basically take your inspiration from that. Take for example, an Arthurian dream where you see a huge weapon was wielded, a cross between a sword and a lance. You could use the detailing on the sword part to make the fantasy elements come alive, while the rest you would use to give the lance part weight as a weapon you would realistically use. That is what it means to draw fantasy art, and working with fairies is no different as you want to convince others who see your work to think it looks realistic.

Nature is where you would traditionally find fairies, so an outing to your nearest forest or park would give you plenty of sketch material on trees, flowers, animals, insects, glades, valleys, waterfalls and even fruiting berries (remember Cicely Mary Barker and John Howe's art from Lord of the Rings.) These artists like David all sketched from nature and fused them with fantasy elements later in their paintings.

For the colour theory chapter, David has used colour wheels "provided by my good friend Ana Lucia Heringer, colour theorist, singer, painter and author." The three most basic colours you will come across are red, blue and green as these are what make all the others, and the two are known as primary and secondary colours. Even though he only touches the subject of colour, it will be interesting to know there are other books that cover the subject in more detail from Impact books.

David's later chapters concentrate on the different backgrounds the fairies can be put in whether it is sitting, flying, kneeling, perching, or laying, and the decision is how to draw the scenes and poses and paint them in a way that will amaze your friends and family, and possibly a potential buyer if you are good enough. This is a book that can be for anyone, and gives several chapters on how to compose settings that will look realistic with fantasy elements. David Adams's book show how it is done and his artwork is surprising to see as he has got the look of the fairies right down to the detailing on their wings and backgrounds.

Fairy Art's author David Adams is a self-taught professional artist and teacher who was born and raised in Japan and has won many awards for his paintings.

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