Sci-Fi & Fantasy Oil Painting Techniques by Patrick J. Jones (book review).

October 10, 2014 | By | Reply More

When I first saw the book cover promotion for ‘Sci-Fi & Fantasy Oil Painting Techniques’ on-line, until it arrived I thought Boris Vallejo was involved with the book beyond the introduction. However, the book is actually by Patrick J. Jones, a good artist in his own right, but don’t be confused with how things look when you see the cover as he demonstrates and explains as he does his oil paintings. His hero, Boris Vallejo, has done a similar book and I wish more pro-artists do so, even if it’s just for prosperity. For those who have aspirations, having insights into how these SF/fantasy work, not to mention the problems, can always teach a lot but I hope not to copy. If you’re artistically inclined, the more artists you can look at, the more you’re likely to soak up and develop your own style.



Although I’m principally an acrylic artist, I do look at what is done in other mediums to see what I can learn and can apply similarly. Interestingly, Jones also works here digitally with Painter and also with water-based oil paints, although where the distinction between them and acrylics bears some investigating on my part. What he points out about turpentine and linseed oil should also be a sharp reminder that if you do paint in oils, make sure your room is well-ventilated and away from heat which is probably why I prefer acrylics.


Jones’ concerns with solvent pollution bothered me a lot. As he lives in Australia, I did wonder if there was simply too much heat which raised the evaporation level. He says after one painting that he worked in an air-conditioned room but I do think that can cause part of the problem because a dry room will circulate fumes as well. I would be more inclined to drop the temperature more to confine the spirits or ensure there’s a bucker of water to keep the air humid.

As to Jones commenting that he couldn’t blend acrylics as he could with oils. I think it depends on the manufacturer. Any acrylic that doesn’t blend well with water isn’t going to make for a good wash which is why I preferred Liquidtex to Reeves.


Something that got mentioned only once in the examples was that although he specifies how many days it took to complete some paintings, he also is working on several at the same time. If you don’t think that way, it can give an impression that an artist does a couple hours work a day. Did I say that Jones also teaches art down under now?


I should also point out that Jones isn’t afraid to admit to mistakes and showing the effects of missing linseed oil with water-based oil paints is a definite no-no to learn from here.

Looking objectively at Jones’ art I can understand why he prefers to work in oils, There’s certain elements that compared to the old masters with darker hues and texture, I use a brighter colour choice depending on subject matter but I can see what he is getting at.

Understanding how to block in colour before going into the end part of painting is something that is pretty standard these days and often used to be overlooked in the old artbooks. Seeing it done as an acrylic base before switching to oils less so now. I should point out that you can’t do it the other way around as Jones points out oil and acrylic doesn’t mix that way.


This book is an impressive read and loaded with all kinds of tips. If your medium is oil even more so and I learnt some things along the way which is always a good sign. When I find a suitable subject, I might even try Jones’ darker palate so something must have rubbed off.

GF Willmetts

October 2014

(pub: Korero Press. 191 page illustrated softcover. Price: £19.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-0-9576649-3-7)

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Category: Books, Fantasy, Illustration, Scifi

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About UncleGeoff

Geoff Willmetts has been editor at SFCrowsnest for some 21 plus years now, showing a versatility and knowledge in not only Science Fiction, but also the sciences and arts, all of which has been displayed here through editorials, reviews, articles and stories. With the latter, he has been running a short story series under the title of ‘Psi-Kicks’
If you want to contribute to SFCrowsnest, read the guidelines and show him what you can do. If it isn’t usable, he spends as much time telling you what the problems is as he would with material he accepts. This is largely how he got called an Uncle, as in Dutch Uncle. He’s not actually Dutch but hails from the west country in the UK.

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