[VIDEO] James Gurney Fantasy in The Wild Review

Fantasy in the Wild is the latest video tutorial by Illustrator and author James Gurney. This article is a brief review, starting with the content, then the format, and finally the pros and cons of this new instructional video.


Fantasy the Wild is video tutorial that is over 1 hour in length. The most surprising thing about the video is that there are 2 full demonstrations. The first is of a fantasy/surreal painting with a car and the second is a concept painting of an imagined robot.

fantasy in the wild part 1

fantasy in the wild part 2

Both demonstrations have a detailed, step by step breakdown of his process fully narrated by the artist.


In a lot of ways Fantasy in the Wild feels more like a TV drama or a documentary film then an ordinary painting lesson. That’s because James Gurney is more than an ordinary art teacher, he is a storyteller. The very first opening scene, James pulls you into his world as you follow our artist/hero on his journey.

fantasy in the wild intro scene

One of gurneys strengths is his compelling presentation style and this video continues in that tradition.


My favorite part about the video is the concept of painting concept art on location. It’s very refreshing to see an illustration tutorial that is shot outdoors, on location AND using traditional media. This is nice break from the usual computer screen recordings that are commonly found online.

fantasy in the wild sample 1

Other things I liked:

  • Excellent, high level information on the illustration process and painting techniques
  • Clean and concise editing, no ‘fluff’ or ‘filler’ content
  • The painting process and design process is clearly explained each step of the way


This video is so well made and the material is so well presented, I don’t really have any criticism. However, as a content producer myself, my only concern is that beginners may find the material difficult to follow along. So I would not recommend this tutorial to a anyone who is new or inexperienced in drawing and painting. But if you’re a fan of Gurney’s blog or have his previous tutorials then you probably already know that some drawing and painting experience is needed to get the most out of his lessons.

The other comment I have is not really a negative, but more of a personal reaction.  As a pro concept artist, I felt like a lazy slacker after watching this video. Seeing the amount of planning and preparation that goes into Gurney’s illustrations is both intimidating and inspiring. Gurney leaves no detail to chance and puts hours of research, drawing, sketching, erasing, un-doing and re-doing into every square inch of his canvas.  I have admired his work for a long time but now I know there is no surprise why he has achieved so much success in his work and career.

fantasy in the wild mech sketch

Despite my personal reaction, I think it is invaluable for students and up and coming artists to see how one of the world best illustrators works and to see the level of professionalism required to be successful.


Because of his wonderful presentation style and professional editing and production, this tutorial is fun to watch and makes learning fun. I would highly recommend Fantasy in the Wild to any serious art student who wants to improve their design and illustration skills. I would also recommend this video to professionals and seasoned veterans who want more story, narrative and greater levels of quality in their work.

Click here to get your copy of Fantasy in The Wild…

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