10 must-have books for sci-fi and fantasy artists

06. The Art of Greg Spalenka

Spalenka cover

Legendary illustrator Greg Spalenka's career has spanned over four decades. Producing concept film art, polaroid photographs and illustrating boxing heroes, there is nothing he hasn't tried his hand at and mastered.

This book spans his entire career up until his skillful leap into digital. Highlights include his beautiful Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader illustrations.

spalenka spread

07. Sci-Fi and Fantasy Oil Painting techniques

oil painting techniques

Patrick Jones' techniques are packed with useful tips for both traditional and digital artists. Jones was inspired by the likes of Boris Vallejo and Frank Frazetta, leaving native Ireland for London to pursue an artistic career.

Despite his solid background in traditional art (and oil, of course) Jones has also developed a taste for digital mediums, citing Corel's Painter as his favourite software. His understanding of both forms makes this book hugely beneficial to all fantasy painters.

oil painting open book

08. Spectrum 20 The Best in Contemporary Fantastical Art


The 20th anniversary edition of the world's best sci-fi and fantasy art compendium marked it's creators last, and they made sure to go out with a bang.

One of our favourites, Brom, is finally given their Grand Master Award, and after being featured in every issue it's long overdue.

This essential purchase features all forms of fantastical art, from comics to editorial and even unpublished works. On every page awaits a new character to get to know and story to be told.

spectrum20 spread

09. The Art of Ian Miller

ian miller

A long over-due retrospective of Miller's unique body of work. The British illustrator has bestowed his gothic and often grotesque themed work onto HP Lovecraft bookcovers and Games Workshop publications as well as injecting his signature style to film concept art.

A true master of the macabre, the book compiles everything from his most disturbing work to fantastical Tolkein-esque characters and unsettling illustrations reminiscent of Gustav Doré's etchings.

ian miler book spread

10. Guillermo del Toro: Cabinet of Curiosities

Guillermo cabinet of curiosities

The Mexican director proves he is as good an artist as storyteller, in this auto-biographical making-of mash-up.

Full of notes, doodles, storyboards, sketches, collections and "obsessions", Del Toro proves he is a true visionary, injecting the supernatural into almost all of his materpieces.

He also includes a tour of his lust-worthy LA mansion, a museum of oddities full of film memorobilia and original props. A fascinating insight into Del Toro's larger-than-life imagination.

guillermo del toro spread

Words: Alice Pattillo

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