Magritte is a surrealist artists. These are the artists who explore dreams. Often times, they use symbolism as a design language. Think as visual codes to infer meaning upon their audiences. For example, in the self portrait below, the fruit is symbolic of knowledge from the garden of Eden, and the fact it is hiding Magritte's face is symbolic of the shame Adam and Eve felt after eating of that fruit.
Like dreams often seem to blend reality with the mysterious fog of the nonsensical, surrealism often questions our perception of reality. Reality like ogres and onions is layered. Paintings like the one below play with questioning that reality. True that is not a pipe, but what is it?
Surrealists are often playful and have inspired many forms of media.
Robert Gonsalez is an artist inspired by Magritte who is a commercial Surrealist. His work is found in books, magazines, and many forms of advertisements.
Frank Frazetta is a master illustrator who helped popularize Sci/Fi and Fantasy Art. One of his most popular character designs that has been repeated in countless movies, book covers, and video games is his Death Dealer.
Underneath his wonderful paintings were amazing drawings as a solid foundation.
A fundamental understanding of good anatomy so that he could make the fantastical believable, and the impossible feel real.
As he inspired Hollywood, he was also inspired by it. Directors such as Alfred Hitchcock who hid the creatures in his films till the big reveal knew that there was nothing scarier than theatre of the mind.
Even with a limited color palette, Frazetta had power through composition, value, and gesture. Look at this monochromatic piece of Icarus.
All fantasy work has to have a basis in reality. There has to be a logic to why it works. That logic acts as a set up for why the fantastical is visually digestible to the eyes and mind.
What an expert use of contrast and framing of the environment to make the action the focal point and accentuate the stars of the show... the warrior and snake.
There are many kinds of perspective. Not so ironically a great place to start is one point perspective.
One Point Perspective
When we look the towards the horizon line (where the earth meets the sky) our focus continues to a point that effects the objects we see. By understanding this we can create depth or the illusion of distance.
The easiest example to see this demonstrated is by looking at a train track. When you see what you know are two parallel lines converge because of distance .
Comic book artists use perspective drawing to create story. This view is obviously from something flying in the sky,.,, bird, plane, superman?
Two Point Perspective
In two point perspective, there is one horizon lines, but two vanishing points. Each vanishing point remains on the horizon line, yet they can move closer or farther apart. It helps to define the corner or angle first and then draw your lines back to the vanishing points.