Digital Fantasy Painting Workshop by Martin McKenna

This volume contains 160 full colour pages featuring work by many of today’s leading fantasy artists. More than simply a showcase of talent, the book features digital paintings at various stages in their development, from the first pencil marks on paper to the final glorious image on the computer monitor. Martin McKenna has invited these artists to share their tricks of the trade with the average reader.

This is not a comprehensive guide to digital painting. Each artist is given only a handful of pages with which to teach us, so details are sketchy at best. What you get is a broad overview of the varied techniques employed. Some artists will start on paper, then scan their sketches in and paint over the top; some start by taking digital photographs of people, places, and things, which they then modify; still others feature 3D rendering in their work.

This book is an appetizer, and as such it works very well. What it will not do is turn a non-artist into an artist. There is no short-cut to beautiful paintings without a carefully honed skill at traditional drawing. The book’s purpose is to clue you into the possibilities. Many years ago I got my A-level Art qualification, and I’ve dabbled with Photoshop; and I left this book with a sense of optimism and excitement about being able to go further.

Bear in mind that these experts are working with nothing more than a PC equipped with a graphics tablet and a copy of Photoshop or Painter. If you have an interest in bringing your art skills to the digital plane, you would do well to read this book.