Search Press have pretty much perfected the art of the short art book. They’re not alone in producing competitively-priced 48 and 64 page paperbacks, but they avoid the cardinal traps of being either too trivial or too ambitious.
A bit like the time-limited painting, the short book concentrates the mind (or at least, it should). There’s no room for grand gestures or tours of fantastic writing. Say what you have to say, leave plenty of room for the illustrations and get on with it. The result isn’t going to be a definitive work that will have the professional artist absorbed for hours, but what you can produce is a straightforward beginner’s guide to single topics which, when they appear as a chapter in a larger work, often get lost.
Wet-in-Wet is, of course, the king of watercolour techniques, the one that no other medium can emulate and, as such, much larger books can be, indeed have been, devoted to it. However, for the beginner wanting to get a grip on the basics, this little book (originally published in 1995) will do just nicely.
Although he has a tendency to be formulaic in his technique, Bryan Thatcher nevertheless gives you reproducible results. Follow his demonstrations and you will, yourself, produce paintings which do what you want them to do. Go on doing that and you won’t progress, but the purpose of this book is to set you on the road and it does that very successfully. By their very nature, Bryan’s paintings are distillations which represent typical, rather than necessarily real, scenes.
In the short space he has, Bryan manages to cover landscapes, skies, people, trees and boats and to paint demonstrations which do adequate justice to the wet-in-wet technique and show how it’s done and how it’s used.
Year published: 2006 (originally published 1995)
List price: £7.99