James Gurney

James Gurney: Fantasy in the Wild


Video Length: 1 Hour 11 Minutes
Gift This Course

Spectrum Grand Master James Gurney takes his easel to the streets in this unique project to create two imaginative paintings entirely on location. 

In the first, he transforms a townscape with magical lighting.  In the second, he invents a dramatic scenario with a giant robot in a fast-food urbanscape.  Gurney documents each image all the way from the first sketch to the final painting, using a practical but entertaining "driver's seat" perspective.  You will learn to sketch thumbnails and comprehensives, build a flexible maquette from construction foam, get maximum inspiration from the location, recognize when an ideal isn't working and how to fix it, create a viewing grid for an accurate line drawing and imply a backstory with selective details.

We'll take the easel to the streets to paint two imaginative scenes entirely outdoors.

The robot painting takes me to several locations, including a construction site and a fast-food streetscape. I spend some time doing gouache studies of the excavators to understand the mechanics.

The video thoroughly documents two imaginative paintings all the way from the first sketches to the final paintings, using a practical and entertaining “driver’s seat” perspective.


You’ll learn how to:

• Sketch thumbnails and comprehensives.
• Build a flexible maquette from construction foam.
• Get maximum inspiration from the location.
• Recognize when an idea isn’t working and how to fix it.
• Create a viewing grid for an accurate line drawing.
• Imply a backstory with selective details.
• Use casein paint for fast-drying opaque rendering.

John-Paul Balmet, Concept Artist at Lucasfilm describes it as a “fascinating look into a master illustrator's creative and technical process.”


James received a nice review of Fantasy in the Wild on Brad Teare's blog: https://bradteare.blogspot.com/2016/01/266-review-of-james-gurneys-fantasy-in.html

He also received a great write up by Star Wars concept artist Iain McCaig:
James Gurney takes you on a minds-eye view through the daily challenge of all concept artists—the magic trick of making imagination visible and believable. In his latest DVD, Fantasy in the Wild, he sets himself one of the hardest of design tasks—augmenting reality with fantastical elements, while never once breaking the viewer’s suspension of disbelief. This is SO much easier said than done—I know, I’ve been doing it professionally for over 25 years—and yet James Gurney leaps into it with abandon, sharing his explorations, reference gathering and model-making, false starts and moments of inspiration, and even his interaction with his audience (including the police!) in his fearless search for The Right Solution. It’s an odyssey not to be missed by a modern Master of Art and Illustration, as he sets off on his faithful unicycle in search of Fantasy In The Wild.”

James has also written his newest article in International Artist (issue 108 -- April/May). It's called "On-the-Spot Surrealism" and it's all about painting concept art on location, featuring the two paintings in the new video.