This is, if nothing else, a very general title and the subtitle, “A Comprehensive Approach To Mastering The Medium” is about as ambitious as it gets.
It’s quite a claim to live up to. So, does it achieve its lofty ambitions? The initial impression is good. It’s a solid, hefty hardback and weighs more than its (generous) general dimensions would have you think, so it’s printed on good paper. The quality of the illustrations is first-class and I can’t spot one dud, which is what we’ve come to expect from Watson Guptill. From the point of view of the UK reader, the author’s style is one we’re comfortable with. Tom Hoffmann works mainly with washes and broad brushstrokes and his colours are more muted than some US artists treat us to, but without being completely in the New England school. That doesn’t mean he’s afraid of colour, though, and he also has great fun with light. There are two ways of doing this – by working from the shadows or into them and Tom is in the former camp.
As with virtually all Watson Guptill books, there’s a lot of text here and this is definitely a book to read rather than just to look at. It’s best to start with the words rather than to study the pictures and then look for the explanations. Inwards rather than outwards, if you will.
Tom describes this as “a book about becoming fluent in watercolor” and I think that’s a fair summary of what we have.
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