I’ve seen art materials catalogues and, of course, the “what you need” sections without which no art instruction book would be complete. What I haven’t seen, however, is anything quite like this. Yes, there was the Ralph Meyer guide, but he was an analytical chemist and The Artist’s Handbook of Materials and Techniques is substantial, exhaustive and, frankly, a bit exhausting.
From an art materials supplier, you’d expect something a bit like an augmented catalogue, but this avoids that route (and pitfall). The information isn’t routinely brand-specific and is very thorough, including properties, uses and hazards (the table relating to solvents is a potential life-saver). Paints, brushes, papers, canvases, printing materials and frames all get a look-in and there are also some useful reviews and feature articles. You’ll be pointed at Jackson’s website, of course, but the branding is quite subtle and certainly not intrusive. The whole thing has a defiantly independent feel to it, which is one of the reasons it’s here.
The best bit? It’s free. You can view it online or order a printed copy here https://www.jacksonsart.com/catalogues/materials-guide-issue-1 and you should. Even if it was priced, I’d say “buy it”.