I bought Digital Painting Techniques: Volume 1 a couple of weeks ago after reading the 5 star reviews on Amazon. With a RRP of around £30 books in this series are not cheap but even a cursory glance at the overall quality of the book will give you a clue why.
What this book isn’t; A step by step how to draw or how to use Photoshop. You will need at least some skill in both these areas as neither is covered in more than a passing comment. What this book is; A step by step guide to how different artists achieve different effects with hundreds of rich progression photos.
The book is broken into several different sections starting with a section containing several different methods to create your own set of Photoshop brushes which it promises will be “fun”. I didn’t believe it, I tried it, I was wrong! If you follow the instructions in this book soon you’ll be making brushes left right and centre for all your drawing needs.
It then moves on to Speed painting, Matte Painting (Which is perhaps a little complicated for a novice but very thorough all the same), Creatures (Including a large section on how to design your own plausible fantasy creatures), Humans (Including the dreaded hair!), Environments (Including a large section devoted to showing how you can make the same scene look very different by changing the location or weather), Sci-Fi & Fantasy and finishing with 3 projects for you to follow and a gallery of art by the contributing artists.
In addition to the book, many of the tutorials have online resources such as source photos or brushes that you can download in order to help you practice the different processes.
This is definitely a 5 star book that does exactly what it sets out to do and is worth every penny. (The second book and the new guide to Photoshop being released soon has already made it onto my Christmas wish list!)