Archive for category Author: Emma Block

Watercolor Life || Emma Block

What’s not to like about “40 Joy-Filled Lessons to Spark Your Creativity”? The answer, I’m pleased to say, is absolutely nothing. Apologies for the double negative, I’ll give you a moment to unravel it.

This is, as you might have guessed, a project-based book aimed squarely at the raw beginner. While there’s not exactly a shortage of these at the moment, this certainly fits the mould of subtle colours, a funky typeface for the headings and plenty of white space to make the pages less intimidating. It offers a good variety of subjects and background information.

The book opens with a simple introduction to techniques that is concise without being over-simplified and actually manages to explain colour mixing, use and theory as well as I’ve seen. In this context, the skill lies in stating the obvious without, um, stating the obvious. Thus, we have the different types of brush, along with their uses and merits, explained in straightforward terms.

The projects themselves are broadly undemanding and follow a standard format which works from outline to colour mixing and application seamlessly and without fuss in half a dozen pages. It wouldn’t be unfair to say that you won’t be producing great works of art here, but if you want simple lessons in colour, form, perspective, tone and so on, you have to forego something.

Organisation is neat, too, with main headings concentrating on the techniques being covered – wet-in-wet, the use of masking fluid, brushstrokes, etc. Within these, Emma covers still lifes, plants, trees, buildings, landscapes, people and decorative work. It’s all very simple but, at this level, that’s what you want.

As I said, in this part of the market, you’re fairly spoiled for choice, but you won’t do much better than this as a solid introduction and foundation to watercolour.

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Get Started With Gouache || Emma Block

This is, let’s be clear, a very basic book. If you’ve never picked up a brush before, it will absolutely help you get some simple images down on paper, introducing you to basic techniques of application and working with colour. For someone looking for something as elementary as this, gouache is a good choice of medium. It requires little equipment and, being opaque, is very forgiving. You can move on to watercolour, oils or acrylic if you decide painting is for you and as your skills and confidence develop.

There’s really not a lot more to say. The instructions are simple, the projects short, the subjects excellently varied and the colour palettes not over-taxing. The results are bright and attractive and come quickly. If you’re looking for somewhere to start, you could do one heck of a lot worse than this.

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