This is one of the most basic painting books I have ever come across and I mean that as the highest praise I can give it. Very few beginners’ guides start as far back in the learning process as this does, nor do they hold your hand quite as firmly and lead you so confidently through the fundamental processes and techniques. There has always been a debate about whether it’s really possible to learn painting from books and I’m not about to come down on either side, but I really do think that this book weighs the scales pretty heavily in favour of the printed word.
Mark (Mary is the writer and they make a good team) covers a lot of ground and gets most things out of the way in only two or three pages, keeping the explanations simple and including plenty of step-by-step and example illustrations. He never loses sight of the fact that he’s showing you not how to paint, but how to start to paint and resists all temptations to over-elaborate.
The included DVD is an extract (about a third) of its commercial cousin, but still manages to cover colour mixing, basic washes and negative shapes.