Imaginitive Realism: How to Paint What Doesn’t Exist by James Gurney!

I’m super-stoked to have received an advance copy of Imaginative Realism: How to Paint What Doesn’t Exist by James Gurney.

One of my favorite types of books to collect are those dealing with the artistic process. Even though I am not an artist, I find these books to be quite valuable in recording how an artist thinks, approaches his art, and reveals his/her techniques. It serves as being beneficial for contemporary artists and students, and also a recording for future generations. There are a handful of books that I find are indispensable in these regards. A few of my favorites are: Forty Illustrators and How They Work by Ernest Watson (Watson-Guptill, 1946), Illustrating for the Saturday Evening Post by Ashley Halsey, Jr. (Arlington House, 1946), A Complete Guide to Drawing, Illustrating, Cartooning, and Painting by Gene Byrnes (Simon and Shuster, 1948), and the Famous Artist Schools Course books. The later features rare individual volumes by Norman Rockwell, Robert Fawcett, Jon Whitcomb, Al Parker, to name a few, then the actual course volumes that came in three or four ring-bound binder volume sets starting in 1954. This new book by James Gurney will fit nicely right alongside these books on the top master illustrators and artists.

What I enjoy about Gurney’s work is that he knows his fundamentals and knows how to paint a believable realistic figure in fantasy, historical, and real world situations. And, as is testament in Imaginative Realism, he has no trouble breaking down the process in a simple and easy to understand approach.

I’ve read about half of the book so far by bouncing around the pages. I flip open the book to a random page and start reading. It’s easy to jump into at any point and learn something new. The text is friendly, to the point, interesting, and helpful.

There’s a wide array of topics covered, including, setting up the studio, lighting equipment and drawing and painting materials, sketching, historical drawings, and how to draw people, dinosaurs, creatures and aliens, architecture and vehicles. Additional chapters include plein-air studies, composition, procedure, careers, and more. There is a large array of artwork to support the text. These paintings and drawings cover Gurney’s career, and give you a reference of his growth over the last few decades.

One thing I was totally blown away by was his sculptures and building of maquettes to study and plan compositions and lighting for use as reference for a painting.

James is one of the most successful contemporary illustrator artists. His work spans book covers, movie design work, toy design, theme park design, as well as his highly popular Dinotopia books. He has done us all a service by sharing his techniques, experiences and knowledge.

The book is a deal at $24.99 for a full-color 224 page 8.5 x 11” softcover. It is published by Andrews, McMeel Publishing. You can purchase signed copies directly from the author/artist at his Dinotopia website by clicking here.

You can learn more about Jim at his Gurney Journey blog by clicking here. Be sure to check out his Special Delivery and hilarious Unicycle Painter posts.


John Fleskes
Flesk Publications

Spectrum 16 Coming Soon!

Arnie Fenner has just posted a feature and review on our three Flesk summer releases on his Spectrum Fantastic Art website. You can find it, along with other interesting and entertaining news items posted by Arnie by clicking here.

And, the new Spectrum 16 edited by Cathy and Arnie Fenner (Underwood Books) is almost here! It has been announced for a November 1, 2009 release date. This is THE annual collection to get. It showcases the best contemporary fantastic artists. There’s a sneak peak on the Spectrum website here. I’ll make an announcement once it hits the stores. Once available, you can pick up your copy from Bud’s Art Books by clicking here.


John Fleskes
Flesk Publications

Al Williamson’s Flash Gordon Book Review on Newsarama!

Michael C. Lorah has written a book review on our Al Williamson’s Flash Gordon book on the Newsarama website. He states,

“Williamson’s artwork, highlighted by excellent use of blacks, bold illustrations, and superb ability to create the illusion of movement, has rarely looked better than in this impressive and caringly assembled compilation.”

You can read the entire review by clicking here, then scrolling down just past the halfway point.


John Fleskes
Flesk Publications

The Latest Flesk News – September 2009! The Process Behind the New Stout Books!

Here’s an update on the latest news here at Flesk.

I sent off the two new William Stout books to the printer last week. They are Dinosaur Discoveries and New Dinosaur Discoveries A-Z. I will be reviewing the first set of wet proofs later this week, and will go from there. My goal is to have them out in December.

I’m very happy with how both books came out. Randy Dahlk, who designed our Prehistoric Life Murals, Al Williamson’s Flash Gordon, and the Mark Schultz Various Drawings books, designed these two new Stout books as well. He did a terrific job!

The kids A-Z version is something that everyone can enjoy. Stout fans can pick up this book to share their passion for his work with their children.

The birth of these two books is the result of a brainstorming session between Bill Stout and myself. We started by tossing back and forth ideas we had for books. I sent Bill nine ideas, and he came back with another fifteen, giving us two-dozen projects to consider! It’s fun working with highly creative people.

One idea was a book filled with his pen and ink dinosaur drawings that were colored in using watercolor. I love this particular method by Bill. When I suggested this, Bill let me know he already had an A-Z dinosaur book partially done that he had started with Byron Preiss as publisher. With Byron’s passing in 2005, the book had been shelved. I immediately wanted to publish this. Stout, plus dinosaurs, equals a cool book!

After further discussion with Bill, then Aaron Silverman and Gabriel Wilmoth at my distributors offices, SCB Distributors, to gain their insight into how they think the book will be received in the marketplace, and further discussion with Randy Dahlk (whose opinion I highly value), the single A-Z book turned into a big 144-page dinosaur book, and a 64-page A-Z kids companion book.

When I was at SCB, Aaron pointed out that having “A-Z” in the title would automatically label the book as an ages 4-5 kid’s book (which Randy was telling me from the beginning, which is why I was asking Aaron for his feedback), when in fact it wasn’t originally. After some discussion, Gabriel said “two books” just as I was thinking the same thing, and I said “Ya!” I called Bill right away, and he liked the idea of two books, too.

We took the A-Z off of the title of the original book, and then made a fresh edition for kids with a simpler and larger font text, and a fun smaller hardbound format. Books really can take on different shapes and sizes and it is not uncommon for the content to adjust and change during these brainstorming sessions. It was happy to have a good group of guys, all of whom I value their opinion, help shape these books into the final form. We’re all happy with these two versions. Again, I’ll have these out in December.

In the meantime, I am working on two books that are getting close to completion. The first book is Harvey Dunn: Illustrator and Painter of the Pioneer West by Walt Reed. This is the definitive book on this powerful painter, illustrator, and teacher! Hardbound with jacket $49.95, 304 pages with 73 black and white and 294 color plates. 12.5 x 9.75 x 1 in. This will be available in spring 2010.

The other book I am working on is James Bama Sketchbook: A Seventy Year Journey, Traveling from the Far East to the Old West. This full color paperbound $24.95, 8.5 x 11, 144 pages will be available in spring 2010 as well.


John Fleskes
Flesk Publications

Illustration Magazine #27 Now Available from the Illustrated Press!

The new issue of Illustration Magazine, number 27, is now available from Dan Zimmer and the Illustrated Press. Featured articles include a comprehensive overview on Rudolph Belarski, Norman Lindsay, and the second part of the article on The American Academy of Art. Also, check out our Flesk ad on page 37! You can order copies of the magazine at the Illustration Magazine website by clicking here. It’s only $15.00 at 112 pages and perfect-bound. A great deal!


John Fleskes
Flesk Publications

New Dinosaur Discoveries A-Z by William Stout! Coming from Flesk December 2009!

New Dinosaur Discoveries A-Z written and illustrated by William Stout. Coming December 2009 from Flesk!

William Stout captures the spirit of twenty-six new dinosaur discoveries in this highly visual kid-friendly edition. Cool dino facts accompany each colorful drawing. The exciting traits of these fantastic creatures are presented in a simple and easy to read layout. Learn what their names mean, what they ate, where they were discovered, and how big they were. Run through the alphabet from A is for Amargasaurus to Z is for Zuniceratops. From the small to the gigantic, and the incredible, to the bizarre, join in this fun adventure of exploring dinosaurs and their world.

ISBN: 978-1-933865-23-2
6 x 8.5 in., 64-page hardbound, $14.95

Announcing “Dinosaur Discoveries” by William Stout! Coming from Flesk December 2009!

Stout Dinosaur Discoveries
trade paperbound edition cover

An enlightening introduction to the modern world of dinosaurs! Coming December 2009 from Flesk!

The first of its kind, Dinosaur Discoveries features a multitude of never before seen specimens. Sixty new dinosaurs, found or described during the past twenty years, are covered in this fun and intriguing new collection. Many recent discoveries regarding the appearance of dinosaurs have been made because of the careful attention now being paid to dinosaur skin impressions, which are portrayed through Stout’s unparalleled depictions and commentary. Several dinosaurs in this book are covered in feathers, while others sport previously unknown body decorations.

Each dinosaur is rendered in its natural environment by paleoartist and author, William Stout. Illustrations are accompanied by exciting new dinosaur facts which define each species’ name, family, and diet. Also given are the eras when each dinosaur lived, the location and time of discovery, plus other descriptive traits.

Authoritative knowledge, gleaned from many of the world’s leading paleontologists, combined with William Stout’s natural storytelling ability brings the world of dinosaurs to you in a fun and enlightening journey. So join in the adventure of exploring dinosaurs and their world.

This collection is intended for all ages, and serves to satisfy the most enthusiastic dinosaur fans.

ISBN: 978-1-933865-22-5
144-page 8.5 x 11 in. paperbound $24.95
ISBN: 978-1-933865-21-8
145-page, 8.5 x 11 in. hardbound $39.95
limited and signed to 500 copies

 deluxe hardbound edition cover