It used to be that if you wanted some art instruction outside of art school you were pretty much limited to some Andrew Loomis or John Gnagey books, but now it seems like there are an infinite number of classes, books, workshops, and other educational opportunities available for artists these days. Of course, not everybody can afford to attend a workshop, either in person or online, but most anyone can find a few bucks to spend for a how-to video. Plus there’s something to be said for setting your own schedule, going at your own pace, and repeating as many times as you need.
Some of the best tutorial resources are available from James Gurney. No surprise. If you follow Jim’s blog—Gurney Journey—you already know that he regularly offers a daily treasure trove of tips, insights, observations, and historical perspective that are invaluable all on their own. But his how-to videos are the next-step-beyond that all artists of all levels can benefit from.
He’s just released Fantasy in the Wild and you can get a small taste by viewing his promo video that leads off this post; like his two previous releases (Gouache in the Wild and Watercolor in the Wild), it’s informative, entertaining, and, above all useful. Watching Jim formulate his plans, tackle problems, and ultimately produce wonderful works en plein air is inspiring, while the joy—and innate curiosity—he takes in simply being an artist encourages others to join in and pick up a brush.
And if you want to learn how to paint dinosaurs from one of the world’s preeminent paleo artists, you definitely shouldn’t miss Jim’s Tyrannosaurs: Behind the Art with James Gurney. As Iain McCaig says, “It’s a humbling experience to watch any true Master perform. In James Gurney’s case, he’s so beguiling and unpretentious that it is nothing short of magic. One moment, a blank page, the next—presto! A living, breathing, feathered Tyrannosaur!”