Sunday, October 18, 2009

18th October 2009 - Who's made a mark this week?

James Gurney has made his mark in the illustration world and currently is a top listed author on Amazon. I'm very pleased this week to feature his new book Imaginative Realism: How to Paint What Doesn't Exist.

I'm maybe a little bit late but that's because I was away when it arrived on his blog - see Special Delivery!

Front cover of the Imaginative Realism

I asked James how the book has been received to date by the buying public and this is what he told me - many congratulations James!
I'm happy to report that, according to U.S. Amazon, Imaginative Realism is the #1 bestselling art instruction book. We're thrilled. Jeanette and I have been visiting a lot of art schools on the west coast of the U.S., and what's struck us is how most of the art students are interested in fantasy and science fiction, more so than ever before, and they seem to be looking for books that address working from the imagination.
I have news for James. According to what I saw on Amazon it's actually...........

Popular in these categories: (What's this?)

#1 in Books > Arts & Photography > Schools, Periods & Styles > Realism
#1 in Books > Arts & Photography > Schools, Periods & Styles > Neoclassical
#1 in Books > Arts & Photography > Painting
Here are some of photos that James sent me of what was involved in producing the front cover of the book (I love the little zipper on his hat - it's the details which make it believable!). Now - how many of us make maquettes of what we want to paint? And paint the maquettes before we paint the painting? It certainly gave me pause for thought about some figurative work I have in my head - although not quite as fantastical and imaginative as the work James excels at.

James Gurney - in the process of producing the front cover of Imaginative Realism

I also know his blog Gurney Journey is one of the most helpful I know for providing information which is helpful to all artists - whether or not you're interested in fantasy art. Just as an example, check out his very many posts about composition. Which means you don't have to be interested in fantasy art to buy his book. You can read an example on his blog Eye Tracking and Composition, Part 3

If you want to know what the book covers right click on the contents page on the right and open it in a new tab and you'll see a much bigger version.

If you'd like to meet James you can check out the dates of his future guest appearances on his blog - see the left hand column. If you're a big fan of James, live in the USA and would like a personally signed copy of his new book you can have one if you order from his website. If you live in the UK like me then we have to wait to get a copy until after 29th October when it publishes in the UK. I'll be doing a review on Making A Mark reviews...... - meanwhile if you've already got a copy - like Nicole Caulfield - why not write your own review?

Postscript - James Gurney is the only blogger I know with his very own wikipedia entry!

Art Blogs

I've only been back at my desk and in front of my computer since Wednesday (blame the cats who needed a drop off/pick up service from their extended holiday away from London!) so this week 'who's made a mark this week?' is shorter than usual.

Drawing and sketching

Sketches of English tourists and spanish food in Paris!
copyright Katherine Tyrrell

Art Business and Marketing

  • On Making a Mark reviews..... I highlighted the fact that - as from 1st December 2009 - there are New Federal rules for product reviews/endorsements by bloggers
  • Marion Boddy Evans over at wrote about Crunching the Artistic Numbers
  • Art Biz Blog has two useful articles on
  • Tony Moffitt's blog - with free information for those wanting to sell their art - is no more - and I've removed it from my blogroll. I'm very puzzled by the way it all came to an end - with all the blog posts removed and what was IMO a poorly worded post saying the blog is now dead. However all the information is now available on a new site where you can access it if you pay for it. It's upset some people. There's certainly nothing wrong with trying to make some money but I'm not sure this approach is the best way. Plus I absolutely disgree with the notion that people don't value information simply because it's free! That's certainly not the feedback I get from very many of the readers of this blog and I guess others may well think likewise. For others providing FREE information about how to sell art - as well as some paid services - please refer to the Art Career, Art Business & the Art Economy section of the blogroll on the right. For others providing free information about making art check out the very many blogs which get mentioned in this post each Sunday and have a place in my blogroll.

Art Economy

In the past year, according to Art Market Research, contemporary art prices have dropped by 63%.
  • The Guardian has an article this week about When the bottom fell out of the art market. I found its messages hopeful in part - definitely worth a read.
  • In the meantime, a year ago Damien Hirst had a very successful multimillion pound auction the day after Lehman Brothers went bust. This year the recently published Art power list has relegated Damien Hirst from the top of the art world’s power list to a modest 48th.

Art Competitions and Art Societies

Art Education / Workshops / Tips and techniques

Art exhibitions and fairs

This week we may have witnessed one of the pivotal moments in the history of art. Not only has Damien Hirst, arguably the richest and most powerful artist in history, received the critical pasting of his life, but there's a sense that our whole perception of what art is, or should be, may have subtly – or not so subtly – shifted. (Daily Telegraph)

The results of Hirst's experiment with actual artistry aren't encouraging. Twenty-five canvases installed in two galleries rearrange his morbid fetishes, wearily shuffling a pack of greasy, dog-eared cards. (The Guardian)
  • David Hockney has an exhibition opening in New York and the New York Times has an article about him and landscape paintings of East Yorkshire - see New York Times - Hockney’s Long Road Home. Hockney is exhibiting 28 recent landscape paintings of Yorkshire at PaceWildenstein in a two-venue exhibition. This is Hockney’s first exhibition of new paintings in New York in over 12 years. The show features including 14 new works that have never before been exhibited, as well as 14 from the recent exhibition in Germany. David Hockney: Recent Paintings opens at 32 East 57th Street on October 23 and at 534 West 25th Street on October 29, and will be on view through December 24, 2009. The public is invited to attend an opening reception on Thursday, October 29 from 6-8 p.m. at 534 West 25th Street.
  • Frieze Art Fair finishes today and is open to the public whereas Zoo continues until the 19th. I'm afraid I tend to associate Frieze as being about a 'see-and-be-seen' mentality and all that is less than wonderful and exploitative about the contemporary art scene in London.
everyone is cruising at the fair – for the art, the gossip, a glimpse of the celebs and the super-rich.


Opinion Poll

I posted the results yesterday for the September poll in MAM Poll (September) Results: Preferred style of art. I was intrigued by the result. What did you think?

Websites, webware and blogging

  • Very few artists have ever been able to support themselves purely from their art. Many also favour teaching as a way of generating income and the digital age has caused a number to review how they deliver their tuition. I'm currently keeping an eye on the debates about how you get people to pay for online content - which is largely focusing on news but has messages which are relevant for those selling instructional content. My old consultancy firm KPMG has done a survey which reports that Consumers still favour traditional media - but for how long?
  • Twitter has been misbehaving - see Twitter - Be careful. However on a more positive note Twitter cracks down on spam through the introduction of a spam button.
  • Thank you to Matt Cutts for alerting me to the blog associated with a new O'Reilly book. Reputation Wednesday is an ongoing series of essays about reputation-related matters. Some techie stuff about systems which will be of interest to a limited number of readers.

and finally......

Another book - or rather two books. I got my hands on a personally signed copy of two new books by Maggie Stiefvater - who many of you will remember from when she was being an artist by day so she could be an author once a week. Shiver was released in the UK at the beginning of the week and is already #7 in the Amazon charts for her genre. I've also got a copy of Ballad: A Gathering of Faerie which gets published here on 1st November and is the follow up to Lament: The Faerie Queen's Deception.

Plus the best bit for me was that, after five years of corresponding online, I finally got to meet up this week with Maggie and her husband Ed in the middle of her incredibly frenetic book tour of the UK associated with the book launch.

The moral of this story? If you want to write an book - of the art instruction or any other variety - make sure you have a very popular blog and are are prepared to engage in lots of marketing activity in all sorts of places! The achievements of both James and Maggie are both examples of what can be achieved if you do!

Making a Mark reviews......

1 comment:

  1. It's so good to have the Sunday posts back again. I look forward to them the way I used to look forward to the Sunday New York Times when I lived in NYC. My bookshelf thanks you too (though maybe not my wallet) as I picked up the James Gurney book today and it has a wealth of information including the answers to a couple of questions that have been bugging me for a long time.


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