Imaginative Realism: How to Paint What D...

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From the award-winning artist, learn to see and shape the world in a way you never before imagined.

An award-winning fantasy artist and the creator of
Dinotopia, James Gurney instructs and inspires in
Imaginative Realism: How to Paint What Doesn’t Exist. Renowned for his uncanny ability to incorporate amazing detail and imagination into stunningly realistic fantasy settings, James Gurney teaches budding artists and fans of fantasy art step-by-step the techniques that won him worldwide critical acclaim. This groundbreaking work examines the practical methods for creating believable pictures of imaginary subjects, such as dinosaurs, ancient Romans, alien creatures, and distant worlds.

Beginning with a survey of imaginative paintings from the Renaissance to the golden Age of American illustration, the book then goes on to explain not just techniques like sketching and composition, but also the fundamentals of believable world building including archaeology, architecture, anatomy for creatures and aliens, and fantastic engineering. It concludes with details and valuable advice on careers in fantasy illustration, including video game and film concept art and toy design.

More than an instruction book, this is the ultimate reference for fans of science fiction and fantasy illustration.

“Gurney’s
Imaginative Realism is a gold mine for artists who want to create images that sing with authority and delight the viewer with rich otherworldly visuals.” –Erik Tiemens, concept artist,
Star Wars: Episodes II and III


Imaginative Realism is an indispensable, flawless reference for vision makers in any discipline to create their own imaginative realms.” –Frank M. Costantino, ASAI, SI, FSAI, JARA, cofounder, American Society of Architectural Illustrators


From the Publisher

Title banner

Title banner

Image of Imaginative Realism open, next to paint set

Image of Imaginative Realism open, next to paint set

Explore painting realistic imaginative images for fantasy, sci-fi, and more

For those interested in recreating history, visualizing extinct wildlife, or simply telling a story with a picture
Filled with plenty of examples to accompany the text
Covers painting foundations such as sketching, architecture, and composition, as well as specific subjects including dinosaurs, creatures, and aliens

Sample painting from Imaginative Realism 1

Sample painting from Imaginative Realism 1

Sample painting from Imaginative Realism 2

Sample painting from Imaginative Realism 2

Sample painting from Imaginative Realism 3

Sample painting from Imaginative Realism 3

Shiver Me Timbers, 1987. Oil on board, 17 × 11 in. Cover for On Stranger Tides by Tim Powers.

Roman Biplane, 1988. Oil on canvas, detail. Paperback cover for Cry Republic by Kirk Mitchell.

Canal Rescue, 2005. Oil on board, 13 × 14 in. Published in Dinotopia: Journey to Chandara.

Explore more from James Gurney
A carefully crafted and researched study on color and light in paintings. This art instruction book is the follow up to the acclaimed Imaginative Realism: How to Paint What Doesn’t Exist.
Before there was Jurassic Park, there was a fantastical world where humans and dinosaurs lived together in peace. Revisit this magical land in Dinotopia: Journey to Chandara.

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