Creative Workshop – Watercolor & Acrylic || Mark Mehaffey

There’s quite a good book hiding between these covers, but you have to look hard to find it. I don’t know whose idea it was to put the illustrations at crazy angles, or to use a paintbox of dazzling colours as backgrounds (several on each page), but they do a good job of making the paintings themselves virtually invisible. I’m struggling to review the book because my eyes hurt and I have a headache.

I’m the first to praise good design and I think that book design is something that often gets overlooked, but this is the very worst example of the craft (a word I hesitate to use in this context) that I have ever seen. It takes the attention away from the author’s work instead of complementing it and drawing the reader’s attention to significant points and sections. It looks as though someone has been let loose with a layout program and no instruction or experience. It’s bad enough that it was done, but worse that anyone actually passed it for publication. And, as for the fonts…

The strapline on the back exhorts us to “overcome ‘creative block’ and break out of your norm”, which is a good starting point and leads to some good ideas that are well executed and are pretty much guaranteed to get you thinking. Mark Mehaffey works confidently in both his media and with a variety of subjects, producing both realistic and abstract results. His text is concise but informative and, overall, he succeeds in his aim of making you think about what to paint and how to paint it. The content is excellent and I’d recommend it wholeheartedly. If only I could look at the book for more than a few seconds at a time.

Click the picture to view on Amazon

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