Watercolor Basics - Let's Get StartedSome books on learning to watercolor assume you want a global world view of watercoloring. They cover a range of styles, they explore the history of watercoloring, and then give a few ideas of how to get started. This can be useful in some cases, but sometimes a student wants an actual class-style experience. They wanted to be guided from the beginning, as if a mentor was sitting down with them, and learn step by step what to do.
This is exactly what Jack Reid provides in "Watercolor Basics - Let's Get Started".
Jack doesn't cover the history of watercolors in Persia. He doesn't talk about twenty different styles that were used in the various centuries. Instead, he teaches from the beginning with his particular style and recommendations. He tells you exactly which brushes to get. He explains how to lay out your palette in his way. He says right out "The order in which I've set up this palette is quite controversial; it's not what a traditional watercolorist would do, but I don't care. I believe that in the lessons to come this palette setup will help you isolate and understand the nature of these colors and their groups."
This is what you're getting. You're getting Jack as your personal mentor - and he doesn't abandon you like many other books do. He goes step by step. TINY step by tiny step. He helps you set up your work area. He describes the paper to buy. You start with basic brush movements. You start with simple shapes. Then he builds you up with a LOT of example tasks to work on. He starts simple with one color. He'll have you do the same scene with first one color, then two, and so on, to see how the layers build up. He discusses composition and layout along the way.
He reminds you that this constant practice and attention is what is going to build up your skills. It's about being persistent and willing to keep trying.
Where other books leap right from "buy some paints" to "here, do this massive landscape", Jack takes you step by step.
There are a few minor issues with the book. In one example he wants you to paint along with him but he never provides a clear front-view photo of the image for you to know what it looks like and to draw it in. He'll say things like "everyone knows what a cedar tree looks like" when I think it's fair to say that's not quite true :). So there definitely is some of his personality in here. And that's fine. That's what you treasure with mentors.
Now I will say it's probably good to get some books in addition to this one. This is very much a "Jack Reid's Style" book. It's always nice to have different points of view. Still, in terms of actually learning and developing skills, this is great. It is step by step instruction with great examples.
Buy Watercolor Basics - Let's Get Started from Amazon.com
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