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Posted on September 4, 2014 in Product Reviews by Katie Oskin
One of the things that I love most in this world are books. Whether big or small, short or tall, it matters not. I love books and I tend to read and devour them very quickly. With this love for real books, comes a love for polymer clay books. I must have 100 polymer clay books, likely almost every book ever written! This being said, finding a polymer book that stands out from the crowd can often be daunting. This book Fantasy Creatures in Clay by Emily Coleman is a different type of a book. It is not a project book or a tutorial book. Rather, this book is detail driven.
There are few books that do a good job portraying realistic fantasy creatures. Some of my favorite include Fairies, Gnomes & Trolls by Maureen Carlson and FaeMaker by Dawn Schiller. This book in no way compares, as there are no real projects in Fantasy Creatures in Clay. So if you are looking for a book that’s includes a “let’s make a gryphon” tutorial, this is not your book. It contains detailed elements of the process, but nothing more. No full projects.
I saw this book back in June on Amazon and actually ordered mine as a pre-release as I was so excited. It’s available there now with free shipping (if you have prime) for just $15.40! (CLICK to purchase now) All the major basics of creating a design are covered in the book: from armature, to wings, to finishing details. The forms & details that are used to create these beasts are dramatic, over the top, and yet realistic. Please understand when buying this book, you are not buying a book filled with different tutorials on how to make any specific creature. Rather, the aim of this book is show you how to go about doing it, from beginning to end. It is up to the reader to come up with a figure, design it, add wings, horns, & other details.
You will see from the content that this is not a “tutorial-esque” book, but rather a “here’s how to make your own.”
If you are looking for a book that says, “First make a ball of clay, then roll it into a teardrop” you will be disappointed. There are more individualized instructions on wings, horns, bodies, & making the wire mesh form, but it is up to you to come up with the ideas to make your own. You will learn how to make feet (paws), create scales, realistic eyes, fur, & some other crucial details. Again, you must come up with your own creature. This being said it’s a great starting point.
Perhaps my biggest disappointment in this book is that it wasn’t filled with direct tutorials. I expected details on how to sculpt the creatures on the front & back covers. This does not cover anything like that. I was disappointed as the description on Amazon does not lead you to believe this is the case. I suppose after rereading this and having the book in hand, it says exactly what I have said … I just expected more. Direct from Amazon:
Explore the world of clay and learn to create the dramatically beautiful forms of some of the most fearsome and awe-inspiring creatures your imagination can conjure. Ranging from ferocious dragons to regal griffins to magnificent underwater beasts–they’re all here!
Inside you will learn simple techniques for creating realistic individual parts of fantasy creatures. Wings, horns and bodies–everything is covered here. Then you will discover innovative ways for assembling those parts to form characters straight from your imagination! From start to finish, you’ll learn everything from brainstorming creature ideas to making the armature and building the body with clay to baking and mounting the creature onto a base. Everything you need to know to build your very own mythological menagerie!
So immerse yourself in these easy-to-learn demonstrations and practice the skills necessary to create realistic wings, paws, scales, fur, facial expressions, poses and so much more!
The second disappointment came when I received the book & read it. Inside the book on many pages gives a web address for “amazing bonus features.” I expected a gallery of work, addition design details, maybe an idea gallery … something. Alas, what I got was a “subscribe to Impact Books” to get your bonus materials (Which ironically is for the “Artist’s Network” Newsletter.). So, eager to get my materials, I did. The next page containing my materials was 3 wallpapers for my computer. That’s. It. So … even though that was a disappointment, it wasn’t one that I was promised upon buying the book, nor that the screen you enter your email on leads you to believe. (Needless to say I’m already unsubscribed.)
This is a great book if you already have sculpting ability & a full, creative imagination. If you are looking for a “ready made creature” to make from this book, you aren’t going to get it. I wish more details was given into coming up with design aspects (there are only 4 short pages devoted to this with little text & lots of graphics). However, the details on wing construction, armature construction, & painting details are thorough, even for an intermediate. This book is not for a beginner, it is for someone who is experienced in claying & sculpting.
You can read my Amazon review here.
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