I’m not usually a big one for art books. I loved the “How to draw…” animals books when I was in middle school. Put together a bunch of circles or lines and look, a pig! But since then, I’ve found there are few books out there than teach you a technique within your own style, and more that make your drawing or craft look exactly the same as everyone else’s.
This book… is not one of those books.
Mark and I were browsing the aisles of our local Michaels a while back when we spotted this book: Fantasy Genesis: A Creativity Game for Fantasy Artists by Chuck Lukacs. If ever there was a book made for an artistic gaming geek, this is it. This is not your “How to Draw Vampires” or whatever. No, pull out your many sided dice, my fellow roleplaying gamers! With this book, we’re going to use them to make art!
Now, I admit after buying this book because it amused me it just sat around for a while. But then along came an idea that was going to require drawing a monster. I love drawing people. I’d never drawn a monster I liked just from the top of my head. So, out came this book.
There are several sets of tables in the book for creating a creature, a device/vehicle, or a humanoid. Each table and subtable gives you sets of things to mix and match into your own creation. It is, at it’s heart, a creativity prompt. And also just lots of fun if you’re like me and like rolling on random tables in your roleplaying game books just to see what amusing combinations that come up. You’ll end up with a pretty good list of things to mix and match, and from there you choose what you want to use. The book gives some guidelines on how to go about combining things, but it really does come down to what things you think will work together in the end.
There are a lot of beautiful examples in this book, and some good guidelines to some basic techniques, but this book alone is not going to create amazing fantasy creations for you. But if you already have some skill at drawing and want a creative kick start, a new creature, or just want to have a fun challenge combining dice rolling with your art? This book is a lot of fun and I love the results.
I’ll share my freshwater fish/parrot/burning coals creature in progress tomorrow.