Step-by-Step Guide to Painting Realistic Watercolors

Step-by-Step Guide to Painting Realistic Watercolors by Dawn McLeod Heim is large format, full color and absolutely perfect for the beginner who is starting with watercolors. Out of all the books I've used, this is one of the best. Here's why.

Step-by-Step Guide to Painting Realistic Watercolors First, where so many other books gloss over the basics or dive into challenging projects, Heim really does take it step by step. The equipment area might be a bit sparse compared with other books, but she does cover the basics. She tells you the colors to start with, the brushes you want, and gives you information on palettes and paper. Yes, other books really delve into this area, but she gets you going.

She does an awesome job of explaining the basics. She actually tells you how to load your brush with paint! Most books don't even touch on this subject. She talks about how to judge moistness of paper. These are things most books assume you just "know". She explains how to mix colors and how to create a smooth wash. She covers making "soft" edges and other basic techniques.

Then, the examples! Other books say "OK here's a complicated landscape, step 1, make the entire background". Not here! She gives you an actual outline to trace so you know you're starting just the way you should. She tells you every single thing you need. Then, step by step, with LARGE images and explicit instructions, she tells you what to do. She tells you exactly what colors to use for the step. She gives advice about things that might go wrong.

Then at the end of the process she shows a giant image of the final version and goes piece by piece over things that you might have done differently. She explains how to change those issues. It is wonderful!

Yes, certainly, Heim has a style and her examples are all in her style. You get a stained glass iris, a glass of wine, a bowl of strawberries, and so on. They're mostly still life except for some ducklings, and they're asleep, so they're pretty still. THey're mostly white and light. But, still, if you like this style, the examples are stunning. And even if you don't particularly adore this style, this is still so well done that you might try an image or two to get a handle on the techniques and then apply them to your own style.

Well recommended. She should do a whole series of books, tackling a variety of styles, so that watercolor painters from all interest areas can benefit from her clear technique.

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