Build your own futurescapes

By Geoff Taylor
Barron’s Educational Series, Inc., $21.99, 128 pages

One of the reasons millions of people saw Avatar was because the computer graphics used made viewers feel they were right in the trees with the Na’vi. What does it take to become a science fiction artist with the skills to create whole new worlds? Author Geoff Taylor’s new guide book How to Draw and Paint Science Fiction Art will help you build “your own futurescapes and characters from scientific marvels to dark, dystopian visions.” The book begins with an examination of art basics. Traditional tools are compared to digital tools. Basic design vocabulary, ideas and elements are reviewed. The heart of the book is found in “Creating New Worlds.” Taylor stresses that illustrations set the tone for viewers and readers. Learning to draw an alien in a jungle requires consideration of lighting, color, space, rendering, silhouette and other design elements. Readers are guided through the process of creating people, objects, animals, creatures and environments. Examining the included illustrations serves as a great learning opportunity. The final gallery features the most fantastic art. Using your critical eye, find what is successful and have fun applying the techniques to your own work.

Reviewed by Elizabeth Franklin

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