Beginner’s Watercolour || Nicola Hodgson, Richard Taylor & Albany Wiseman

OK, I cheated there. The list of authors comes from the acknowledgements at the back of the book, which is otherwise anonymous. The publisher wants you to concentrate on the content, not who it’s by.

And that’s completely right. This is subtitled “simple projects for artists” and it’s just that. Collins & Brown was an imprint that was Hoovered up under the Anova/Pavilion umbrella and isn’t, to my knowledge, publishing new material any more. This is a scissors and paste job, as far as I’m aware – I can’t see either Richard Taylor or Albany Wiseman lending their names anonymously, though they did have books published by C&B many moons ago. I haven’t heard of Nicola Hodgson, and her name doesn’t appear in the picture credits, so I reckon she’s the editor who pulled all this together.

I hope I’m right in all this Sherlockery because she’s done one of the best jobs of its kind I’ve ever seen. The book is seamless and Richard and Albany’s styles complement each other perfectly, with no sense of jarring jumps from one to the other. The text looks all new and written to go with the demonstrations, rather than being scissored from the original books. Paste-ups are getting so good* that it’s becoming increasingly hard to see the joins, but this has the look and feel of a new book put together by someone with a clear vision and it does a superb job of being what it says it is.

I’d honestly recommend this to almost anyone. It’s an interesting idea, being neither over-simple nor too advanced. It’s not one of those cobbled-together “introduction to painting” books that I despair of because no artist, even a beginner, would ever buy them for themselves. It’s a series of projects, just as it says, clearly explained, laid out and illustrated. You’re bound to find something here that’ll interest and inform you. I’d even venture to suggest that, even if you have the original books (I still think I’m right about that), you’d find something new.

Well done all round.

* Actually, when did that happen? The technique’s been around since the dawn of time, but the sudden quality jump is recent, too recent just to be down to the advent of digital layouts. Someone’s had a lightbulb flick on somewhere and it’s sparked all the others.

Click the picture to view on Amazon

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