This is clearly a book the publisher expects you to keep by your side and probably get dirty in use. How do I know this? Well, they give you a plastic sleeve for the paperback cover and that’s an additional production expense and publishers HATE those.
OK, so we’ve deduced that it’s something you’ll be referring to as you paint, but does it live up to the implied claim of its title? Well, the subtitle limits its coverage to Landscapes, Flowers and Animals, but that’s still a wide scope. The basic layout is: problem on the left-hand page, solution on the right, so it does follow the by now conventional pattern of the made-up problem, a painting done deliberately badly to illustrate a particular point. I’ve always had reservations about those because I can’t help wondering whether anyone finds them recognisable. That said, if you’re going to say, “most beginners do it like this”, there’s no other way round it really. A score draw on that one, I think.
In terms of coverage, there’s a good balance of both detail and more general work, especially in the landscape section. When we get to flowers and animals, things are a bit more specific and get down to species quite quickly so that you might find your particular bugbear [not a species, ed] doesn’t get covered. If the book has a weakness, this is it. Nevertheless, Trudy is an old hand at the problem/solution approach and she does it well. On balance, I’d say you’ll get much more from this than you’ll miss, which is perhaps faint praise, but it’s very much one you’ll need to make up your own mind about.