James Gurney, New York Times best-selling author and artist of the Dinotopia series, follows Imaginative Realism with his second art-instruction book, Color and Light: A Guide for the Realist Painter. A researched study on two of art's most fundamental themes, Color and Light bridges the gap between abstract theory and practical knowledge. Beginning with a survey of underappreciated masters who perfected the use of color and light, the book examines how light reveals form, the properties of color and pigments, and the wide variety of atmospheric effects. Gurney cuts though the confusing and contradictory dogma about color, testing it in the light of science and observation. A glossary, pigment index, and bibliography complete what will ultimately become an indispensible tool for any artist.
This book is the second in a series based on his blog, gurneyjourney.com. His first in the series, Imaginative Realism, was widely acclaimed in the fantastical art world, and was ranked the #1 Bestseller on the Amazon list for art instruction.
"James Gurney's new book, Color and Light, cleverly bridges the gap between artistic observation and scientific explanation. Not only does he eloquently describe all the effects of color and light an artist might encounter, but he thrills us with his striking paintings in the process." --Armand Cabrera, Artist
Dinotopia author and plein-air painter Gurney offers a practical, well-organized, and informative handbook for artists of all levels. (Chronogram Magazine)
This is a terrific book, highly recommended not only for young artists but anyone with an interest in traditional art technique. (Karen Haber, Locus)
About the Author
A "must have" book for the serious artist!
I just finished this book and am convinced that it is one that every serious artist needs is their library. It is outstanding! This is the book tha I needed to help me take my art to the "next level"!This is not a book on how to mix color, but rather is a book on how to properly use color and light in your paintings. All concepts are wonderfully illustrated by Gurney's own paintings, which include paintings from his Dinotopia books as well as his Fine Art paintings.His instruction on the use of gamut masks to select the range of colors to use in a painting is alone worth the price of the book to me. Also his method of mixing color strings of the colors to be used in a painting is going to be very useful to me. The assumption is that you will already know how to mix the colors, these recommendations tell you how to decide what colors need to be mixed.He goes over the effects of different lighting and helps the reader to understand how different sources will interact in not only the lighted areas but also in the shadows.There is much more in this book that is of great value to realist artists. Each concept is presented in a couple of pages and related concepts are grouped into chapters.An outstanding book! It is exactly what I needed.
This Book Has Redefined My Appreciation of Visual Art
Bear with me here... I have a background in music, I play guitar and know enough music theory that, while I'm not terribly good at it, I do feel like I can appreciate music in ways that others without a similar background cannot.I'm 75% of the way through this book, and I feel like this book is giving me an equivalent set of tools to appreciate visual art. It's amazing. My hobby is miniature figure painting, and I was in deep, and this book has made it that much better. The brilliant bit is that I look at the world around me a see stuff in new ways all the time. Some things you need to practice, but a lot of this book is just pointing things out that you can observe all the time in the world around you.So I'm very happy with this purchase. If you are or were an art major, maybe you don't need this book, but for us ignorant n00bs coming into an artistic hobby later in life, this book is great. The language is concise and to the point, with typically multiple excellent examples on every page spread. One has only to connect the words and the pictures and the concepts leap out.I haven't found anything I don't like about this book. I suppose I could say that sometimes he only dips into certain concepts just to explain the part of that concept that backs up what he's trying to show you in the book. Additive vs. subtractive color mixing, for example - he explains additive but there doesn't appear to be an equivalent explanation of subtractive, or why it is called subtractive. My brain just wants to know these things! But this isn't a flaw, this is just something to note and follow up on later, which makes the learning experience, in my opinion, that much richer.
Not A Good Instruction Book
Saw this book a while back but didn’t buy it because of the front cover.Was not impressed with a couple of hundred pages of various paintings with a few paragraphs accompanying each. The complicated mathematical equation was a bore. Don’t waste your money and time. I’m donating mine. In “Daily Painting” by Carol Marine, she held nothing back. It’s a genuine treasure of instructions.
I am so sorry that I waited to buy this book. I was turned off by the cover. "Why do I want to paint dinosaurs?" But this is one of the most helpful books I have found (and I have several) on the subject of color and light. James Gurney is truly a wonderful and enlightened teacher. His discussions of color mixing, lighting angles, triads, - just so many things that I have barely seen even mentioned in other art books. Even just applying a few of his recommendations has already given a new cohesiveness to my paintings. He also gives great explanations on why some things work well, often which I have discovered on my own by trial and error, now I know the reasoning behind them. For a $15 book, it will take a prominent place on my shelves. Well, actually, it won't be on my shelves, it will be opened in the studio.
Met and even exceeded my expectations
This is not a regular color theory book that only talks about the very basics. I actually -and finally- learned something new to me in a color theory book. In fact, it exceeded my expectations. It treats subjects like reverse atmospheric perspective, water reflections, gamuts and color triads, color in shadows, multiple light sources, how to apply color temperature better in paintings, and much more that I can't recall right now.
Awesome reference book, many great points throughout
This is an excellent book on color and light. It is more of a reference book than a "how-to," probably better for more experienced illustrators who just need some brushing up, or advanced amateurs who could benefit from some deeper thoughts about how lighting works. May be a little less useful to beginners who are not well-versed in art lingo, but maybe this would be a good way to learn it! I personally would have been fascinated by this when I was a child learning to make art. I find the use of the many, many, many dinosaur illustrations to be charming, and I appreciate that the author used a lot of his own (excellent) work in the book. Overall highly recommended.
Not an easy read but packed full of interesting ideas and information.
I had already bought and enjoyed James Gurney's previous book and was looking forward to reading this one. I was initially disconcerted by how much harder going this one was. I had read " Imaginative Realism" in one sitting but had to digest this one in chunks over several days. I was a bit disappointed that he only devoted 17 pages to paint and pigments which I felt could have been given more space and attention. Especially since some colours are better suited to oils than other media and the advice to just try them out to discover their properties seemed less than helpful. (Although I was rather pleased that one of the limited palettes he recommended was one I am currently exploring.)This said, there are a lot of interesting topics that are not usually covered separately in most books. The chapters on light sources were something I found inspirational, to the extent that I found myself looking closely at the qualities of reflected light in the cityscape I have been working on.There are sections in the book I am unsure about. The idea of gamut mapping to choose colours is an idea I find overly technical and unsympathetic and am unlikely to adopt. But generally I was delighted to find many things in this book that I had learnt by observation and to find out the scientific basis for them. It would have saved me a lot of trial and error over the decades if I had owned this book at college.There are also a good few interesting techniques to try out that are new to me. Although I tend to premix some gouache greys before starting to paint I haven't tried premixing most of the colours for a piece before I begin. Or pre painted skies to base plein air pieces on, come to that.This is an interesting book that I think any painter will derive some benefit from. You may not agree with everything the author advocates but it will definitely make you think. Unfortunately it is not a book for the complete beginner, unless they are willing to glean what they can and then put it away for later. But if you are already a painter it will not only confirm what you have already learnt but also give you a lot of new ideas. Definitely worth buying.
Colour and light explained.
An amazing insight into the world of James Gurney. Based on his wide ranging experience in the art and film world he explains the complex nature of the reaction of colours to different types of light source in a series of short explanations that are covered in two pages.In fact the entire presentation within the book is based on compact two page explanations of each aspect he deals with giving a written explanation and illustrated with associated paintings and diagrams.His approach is a revelation and provides a fascinating record of his thoughts and achievements in the normal and fantasy worlds that he is famous for (eg Dinotropia).I found this to be a fascinating and informative read and would recommend it to anyone interested in art and/or fantasy art.
A very highly regarded book
James Gurney's Color and light is an essential read for new and seasoned artists alike and pretty much *always* the first book suggested by professionals when asked what books to buy. There is good reason behind this too, as the well designed and critically informative book has an incredible amount of useful information, enough it can quickly overwhelm you. Coming back to it can often still teach you a new thing or two and for its price it is nearly invaluable to an artist.The book itself is nice and big (just under A4 sized) and done in a glossy paper that lets the numerous paintings within shine. There is reams of passion not only in the paintings provided by Gurney himself but also in his writing, which shows even on more mundane topics like 'pigment'. It is a very good price especially considering this quality.I really don't know how I could gush about this book any more so if you have a serious interest in pursuing art pick this book up and use the information inside to your advantage.
I saw this book on a YouTube review. It is excellent as a book on colour and light which features different conditions of light sources in different instances. James Gurney does a wonderful job of breaking down how these light sources have an impact on these surroundings.It looks at how many light sources there are and how the sources interact with each other. The book focuses on shadows, tints, pigments, monochromatic themes, triads, accents and more. This may be my new go-to reference for colour, light and shadow.I highly recomment this book for any serious artist.
Amazing book from a master of his craft
Even aspects I understood make more sense after reading this book. Might be a bit overwhelming for the beginner artist but will stay with me as an excellent reference book to go back over. A detailed look into the many aspects of light value and effects of colour. The use of both theory and real examples helps it all make more sense. Wish I had this years ago!