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CGAA Recomended Reading: James Gurney

Perhaps best known as the creator of the Dinotopia books, James Gurney is an American painter and illustrator in the fine-art tradition; he has also produced book covers, illustrations for National Geographic magazine, and postal stamps.  His work is characterised by highly realistic depictions of scenes that cannot be photographed, such as extinct creatures, historical events, and fictional subjects.

 In addition, he has written several excellent books on illustration techniques and art theory - Imaginative Realism & Color and Light, both of which are in the college library.

Imaginative Realism deals mainly with creating images from imagination, from basic perspective and colour theory to more advanced techniques such as maquette work, along with advice on collecting and using references in your work.

Color and Light is more concerned with the theory of painting, whether from life or imagination.  It goes into detail on subjects such as atmospheric perspective, subsurface scattering, and the various ways light behaves.

Both books are worth reading, not only for inspiration, but also as a grounding in composition, colour pallette, and other tips and tricks.

In addition, James Gurney runs an excellent blog,, which features a wide range of content, from videos of paintings being made to articles on art history.