When I first started writing about art books some thirty years ago, Zoltan Szabo was one of the big names and it actually comes as something of a surprise to discover that this first appeared in 1997, as I’d have said it was older. Pretty much Zoltan Szabo’s last book, this fact emphasises just how long his career was and that he was as popular at the end of it as he was at the beginning.
Szabo’s experience came from teaching workshops and he was always much more concerned with the needs of his students than of promoting himself. What appears here (published in the US as Zoltan Szabo’s 70 Favorite Watercolour Techniques, which pretty much tells you what it is) arises from the questions, concerns and problems that he encountered in more than 40 years’ teaching.
Because of its pedigree, the content of the book is timeless and it’s only needed some very minor design tweaking to make it look as fresh now as it did 14 years ago. There’s advice on technical matters such as transparent, opaque, staining and non-staining colours as well as practical – a whole chapter on reflections for example – and compositional matters. It’s all laid out beautifully clearly by an author who’s on top of his material and remains one of the best guides to watercolour technique there is.