Drawing and Painting Fantasy Figures Review


Drawing and Painting Fantasy Figures: From the Imagination to the Page

Here’s my quick review of Drawing and Painting Fantasy Figures by Finlay Cowan. I wrote this review a couple of months ago and forgot to post it. Don’t buy this book unless you have no idea that wizards are in the fantasy genre, or if you want to learn how to draw badly. I don’t have any personal grudges against Finlay Cowan (he has good ideas and his design work is nice but he definitely isn’t known for his draughtsmanship) but wow, this book is bad (Although it’s not so bad that it should be burned–it’s just a bad art book in my opinion). Most of the drawings seem amateurish (or maybe all of the twelve-year-olds that I see draw are trying to copy his style), and unless somebody can draw well, I don’t think they should teach anyone else how to draw. The 3d modeled images in this book are terrible. However, I have to remind myself that this book was published in 2003 (so the 3d modeling obviously won’t hold up to the 2013 3d standards).

I have to give Finlay Cowan kudos for including so many topics in one book (perspective, anatomy, painting, storyboarding etc.), but the reader would be better off if they learned perspective, anatomy, painting, and storyboarding from other books dedicated to those subjects.

One of the only things I found interesting in this book were the designs that Finlay Cowan drew for Pink Floyd album art (seen below).


Image from Amazon.com

If you really want this book, you can buy the book here. I don’t understand how, but at the time of writing this review, Drawing and Painting Fantasy Figures has an average 3.8 rating (out of 5 stars) on Amazon. Maybe the reviewers are much younger than me. Maybe they can’t draw very well or haven’t read very many art books. Whatever the case, some people enjoyed this book so you might too (though I hope you have higher standards for art books than those reviewers on Amazon).

9 thoughts on “Drawing and Painting Fantasy Figures Review

  1. So, what book do you suggest rather than this?
    I am reading “Drawing with the Right Side of the Brain” by Betty Edwards, but I want a book with a not so realistic approach/style. But this book is amazing.

    1. Hey Evandro,

      “Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain” is a great book too.

      As for the book suggestion: are you looking for a book that focuses on one topic such as anatomy, or perspective, or are you looking for an art book that covers a bit of everything?

      Are you looking for a book about painting, or drawing?

      Are you looking for a general drawing book or a book that focuses specifically on fantasy art?

      Once you answer those questions then I think I can help you with some suggestions.

      Thanks for commenting!

      1. Well, I am looking for a book that focus more in anatomy, and I’am lookning for drawing and paiting, specially on fantasy art.

        Some thing like this is the DVD “Chaos and Evolution” by David Revoy (Deevad). I only watch the video of model sheet. I tried to do some thing but I am very bad at drawing anatomy and poses.

        1. I suggest you check out a couple of the Andrew Loomis books that are now reprinted. Try his book “Figure Drawing For All It’s Worth”. You can find it on Amazon.

          Michael Hampton also has a good figure drawing book

          I think you should get very comfortable with drawing anatomy and perspective before tackling painting. If you can draw well, the learning curve for painting will be much better.

          Neither of those books focus on fantasy art but they show you a great deal about drawing the figure and other things. Once you can do that, it’s just a matter of throwing a goofy costume on a character, or changing the anatomy into a big ogre-like creature, etc.

          Let me know if that helps!

  2. This is such a strange review to read, considering it’s the only artbook that I still consistently reference for my drawing. Ah well, I guess tastes would differ.

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