As if you couldn’t resist the promise of the title, this has the strapline “Guided lessons for beginners and experienced artists”. Wow, something for all the family!
It’s more than a little unfair to make fun of book titles – after all, they only want you to buy the thing and you can’t begrudge them that. This does, however, offer much and it’s only reasonable to ask at the outset: does it live up to its claims?
Well, there’s certainly plenty of variety and Leslie Frontz seems to have no particular preconceptions or prejudices of the kind that can dog all-encompassing guides. They often omit people, or water, or major just a little too much on flowers. Here, though, there’s no preponderance and, if you were wanting to get started with watercolour but were unsure of what your favourite subjects might be, this will allow you to practise everything and find out where your abilities lie. If you have some previous experience, it may still be worth revisiting old haunts from new perspectives.
There’s plenty of advice as you go along, from colour to composition, materials to perspective as well as the choice of surface and subject. You’ll have spotted from the spelling that this is an American book, but neither the style nor the subject matter should be a major stumbling block this side of the Atlantic. My only reservation is that some of the illustrations seem a little muddy. On occasions, this might be down to the use of tinted paper, but I think that some of it is simply poor reproduction, possibly from dodgy photographs. This is mainly a minor cavil though, and you’ll probably find that the author’s enthusiasm and clear explanations more than carry you through.
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