This is another of the bind-ups and re-workings that Search Press are making something of a speciality of at the moment. I think that needs to be said, if only to alert buyers to the fact that it is not all new material. And, as ever, the job has been done so well that you might, at first glance, think that it is.
This is based on two previous volumes, Watercolour Tips & Techniques: Painting Water from 2003 and 2014’s Joe Dowden’s Complete Guide to Painting Water in Watercolour. Only a cynic would question why the latter needs any augmentation, so I will. The simple fact of it is: simplicity. The Complete Guide was encyclopaedic in its content and something for the more experienced practitioner. The Tips & Techniques title is perhaps beginning to look a little dated and was rather more elementary. There’s clear space for something in between and, while water is not a subject that books exactly ignore, if you have Joe Dowden on hand, why not make use of him?
Bind-ups often suffer from being exactly that. Every book has its own introductory material and ways in, as well as idiosyncrasies and shoving multiple titles together leads to repetition and ungainly jumps. What you need to do is extract the best, or most suitable, bits from each one and then re-originate so that the new work is genuinely new and has a coherence of its own. If you can see the joins, it hasn’t worked.
Search Press have, as I’ve remarked, form on this and it’s very good form. This has a nice progression to it and works perfectly as an introductory course in painting water that won’t blind the beginner with science or, for that matter, leave the more experienced tutting with frustration. Those amongst you eyeing up your backlists, take note.
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