Archive for category Author: Claudia Nice

Discover Your World in Pen, Ink & Watercolor || Claudia Nice

After some excursions into the wider world, Claudia returns here to her roots. Best known for her work with small details and hidden corners, she takes the same approach with slightly larger subjects. Sure, there’s some weathered timber, but there are also buildings, seashores and even street corners.

The book is loosely grouped into headings like Nostalgic Buildings, Wild Wanderings and Out in the Weather. Nice general headings that don’t act as a straitjacket. Within them, Claudia paints what takes her fancy, so that you get reflections and highlights in water, wild berries in winter, a sunset and even “how to paint a flat wash”. The last isn’t a subject, it’s even, in its context, a surprise, but that’s the point. This is a book you could read from cover to cover, but which is much better dipped into for the gems it throws at you. Discover Painting Night Lights (a townscape) or Funny Fat Frogs (when else would you suddenly decide to paint a frog?) Stumble on a short section on Populating the Scene – as good a guide to putting people into a composition as you’ll find.

This is a book of ideas. Some of them are discoveries, so are short technical guides, but all of them are delightful and you find yourself sharing Claudia’s joy at finding them. I’ve always admired her work and I think that, here, she’s at the top of her game.

Leave a comment

Creating Textured Landscapes || Claudia Nice

In the wake of Claudia Nice’s latest book, on trees, comes this paperback reprint of one of her earlier works. Actually, it came as something of a surprise to discover that it’s taken four years for this to happen, but it’s also fair to assume that this is because sales of the hardback were holding up

Regular readers of Claudia’s books (and she justifiably has a very strong following) will know what to expect and won’t be disappointed. New readers could start with any of her texture books, but this is as good a place as any. What you get is pages of beautifully executed examples of texture in just about every subject and setting – from how to capture the sparkle of sunlight on moving water to giving a three-dimensional effect to weathered timber. Most of the text is hand-written which, while it doesn’t add anything tangible to what’s being said, does engender a personal and somehow homely touch. One of Claudia’s more recent books (on drawing techniques) eschewed her trademark style in favour of type throughout and it came as something of a shock!

Given what Claudia does, as well as what’s expected of her, it’s entirely understandable that this has the title it does. However, if it was by anyone else, I can’t help feeling it might be called “Bringing Landscape to Life”. I don’t mean the existing title is misleading, but my suggestion is a closer representation of what you get. Anyway, if that’s what you were looking for, you’ve found it.

Leave a comment

Drawing & Painting Trees in the Landscape || Claudia Nice

Books on trees are relatively few and far between and one that deals with them not as individual subjects but as part of a landscape where they are, nevertheless, something more than just a blob of colour in the background, is pretty much unique. When you add to that Claudia Nice’s way with colours and textures, you know you’re already onto a winner and this high level of expectation isn’t going to be disappointed.

Although the cover promises “more than 70 species of tree”, this isn’t really the point as it’s the shapes and colours that matter, as well as how trees appear in each of the four seasons, a neat summary of which you get on the very first page. The book begins with the technical stuff, introducing ways of working with pen and pencil before progressing to the colours of foliage and the texture of trunks. Further chapters concentrate on evergreens, deciduous hardwoods, flowering trees, and the colours of autumn and winter.

There’s a wide variety of styles here, and this is very much a book for the general painter who just wants to get the landscape right without worrying too much about the intimate details.

Leave a comment

How to See, How to Draw || Claudia Nice

Most of Claudia Nice’s previous books have taken the form of pages of drawings with elegantly hand-written captions that make them as much a work of art as of instruction. This is not to say that they haven’t been filled with useful hints and tips, but rather to emphasise that this one is a change of direction and one which offers more conventional instruction.

This can be no bad thing, because Claudia has a great deal to say and using type rather than calligraphy gives her more room to say it. The approach also means that you get short (usually only two or three stage) demonstrations that show how a drawing is built up, neatly complementing the text.

This is nothing less than a first class primer in monochrome pencil drawing, with a huge variety of subject matter but without complicating things with showmanship. Given the beauty of Claudia’s previous books, this is a big contrast, showing that she not only understands the fundamentals of drawing, but also of teaching.

If you’re starting out, of the many books on drawing technique, I’d recommend this as one of the best. If you already paint, but feel let down by your drawing skills, you can start brushing up here. I’ve often commented on what I see as unnecessary spiral binding, but this is one book where you really do want (need) the pages to lie flat.

Leave a comment

Creating Textured Landscapes with Pen, Ink and Watercolour || Claudia Nice

It says a lot for this book that, as soon as I saw who the author was, my first reaction was, “oh, jolly good, not before time”.

There isn’t, it has to be said, a huge difference between Claudia’s various books; her style really hasn’t changed much and that subtitle “with pen, ink and watercolor” could apply to all of them. And yet there’s a freshness to every one that some authors struggle to maintain even to the end of their first effort and her popularity makes it clear that Claudia speaks to a great many readers who take something from every leaf, branch, rock and mountain.

If you’re familiar with Claudia’s work, the chances are that all I need to tell you is that this is her latest book; you’ll have skipped to the “buy it” link already. If not, then I’ll explain what her stock in trade is: the little details of landscape – those subjects I mentioned above and how you can use them to bring a larger scene alive. The layout of this new book won’t be unfamiliar: lots of little details, exquisitely handwritten text and some whole page set-piece paintings that provide the broader context.

What does strike about this book, though, is the quality. The production is definitely a step up, the colours are brighter and sharper and I’d say the artwork is better too. One of the things that sometimes let Claudia down was the set-pieces, which could be just a little bit flat. Here they’re not and, if you’re thinking, do I need another book by Claudia Nice?, come down on the side of yes for these improvements alone.

North Light 2007

Leave a comment

  • Archives

  • Categories