Help my son draw space rockets and dragons
December 30, 2017 10:50 AM   Subscribe

My almost-11yo son is super into learning drawing techniques from books. He’s got a bunch of manga related books but is looking for recommendations for books about drawing fantasy or SF...stuff. Looking for personal recommendations...both parents are trained as librarians with Internet access and a robust library network at our disposal so assume that we can identify many books in this area! We just don’t have a good way to identify the good ones!
posted by chesty_a_arthur to Media & Arts (6 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
If he's reading the books I think he's reading (which are basically step-by-step line-art tutorials) I'd strongly recommend something like Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain in addition to genre-specific stuff. That book has a bunch of exercises about learning capture what you see rather than what your brain thinks you see. Thinking about the 3d form of things and how light falls on them is a good basis for then creating and stylizing things in a believable way.

It's not a book, but there's a lot of concept artists who post to CGSociety, and in general a search for "concept art" should get you interesting places. Actually I bet you could search for concept-art tutorial books and get somewhere interesting too!
posted by Alterscape at 12:54 PM on December 30, 2017 [1 favorite]

Any of the DragonArt books by Jessica Peffer should do for the dragon part.
posted by Calzephyr at 3:19 PM on December 30, 2017 [1 favorite]

Get him SCAD so he can draw spaceships
posted by Mistress at 3:45 PM on December 30, 2017 [1 favorite]

When I was in mid elementary school I absolutely adored a sci-fi/fantasy themed public broadcast kids' art show called The Secret City hosted by a character named Commander Mark. He taught 3D drawing techniques with lessons that involved drawing space ships, dragons, and fantastical buildings.

And I have to thank you, because when I went to look up the title of the show's drawing instruction book I stumbled across a website outlining the show's history and what "Commander Mark" is doing now. I had no idea The Secret City was the brain-child of the host Mark Kistler, that he was only 19 when it started, that he went on to win an Emmy in 2010 for his drawing instruction show Mark Kistler's Imagination Station, or that he was still active publishing books and YouTube videos, visiting schools, hosting summer camps, going to conventions and offering online drawing lessons. It makes me all kinds of happy to know that someone who was such a memorable part of my childhood is still out there teaching yet another generation of kids.
posted by Secret Sparrow at 6:42 PM on December 30, 2017 [3 favorites]

Christopher Hart is another name to check out, too.

Seriously though - if you have easy access to the library, especially one with a district of libraries it is attached to, what you do is you scout Amazon, make a list of everything that looks appealing, and start requesting a couple a week. Take advantage of interlibrary loans and worldcat access. Only buy the ones he really loves.

(... we're at 50+ drawing books at this point. But then, my kids are now 15, 17, 19, and 22, and have gotten one heck of a lot of use out of them. I'm the only one who CAN'T draw. Sigh.)
posted by stormyteal at 12:14 AM on December 31, 2017

Lee J. Ames of "Draw 50" fame has an outer space book. We used to watch Secret City too on PBS - loved it!
posted by Calzephyr at 8:58 AM on December 31, 2017

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