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Sometimes when starting out on a new creative project it can be hard to find the inspiration to get you started. David Bellamy's Guide to Watercolour Painting covers a whole variety of subjects to paint and might give you ideas for more. Ranging through still life, figures, landscape, flowers and buildings, you are sure to find something that takes your interest. The step-by-step chapters are spaced out in between other more technical pages, so as you learn new techniques you can put them into practice and re-create a watercolor from the very beginning to the finished product. The example watercolors by author David Bellamy are delightfully eye catching and capture the essence of nature, which is a common favorite inspiration for watercolor painters.
The initial chapters cover an introduction to watercolor painting, materials and basic techniques such as color washes and blending. Then there is a step-by-step guide to creating a simple scene to get you started. After this chapter, the student is introduced to the techniques of using tone, color and composition. After an introduction to still life, there is a step-by-step practical guide to creating your own. Next flowers, plants and hedgerows, which each bring their own technical challenges. Following each introduction of a new subject there is a how-to guide. The last one is coastal scenery which is quite a challenge because of the changeable nature of the elements there. You are encouraged to learn by copying the paintings in the book, so that you will have techniques to take away and use for your own creations.
The whole book is in full color which encourages the visual learning process and maintains effective teaching consistency. If you were learning to play snooker you wouldn't do it by watching black and white TV! The layout and print of the text is clear and appealing to the eye. The step-by-step sections each follow the same visual principles, so the reader gains familiarity with the process the more they do. A small box insert lists the materials you will need for each project, including the exact paint colors, type of paper and brush sizes to produce the desired results. You will be expected to have some drawing ability, as this is not covered in great depth in this book, but rather concentrates on watercolor technique. However, you will learn that very little line drawing is needed because watercolor painting describes images with color and tone rather than with lines. Each step-by-step guide has about fifteen steps.
Compared to the other products in this category, which include sophisticated multimedia packages covering all sorts of painting media and techniques, designed to keep you going for a longer period, this book only covers the one topic. However, in terms of value for money it will do very well for the complete beginner or painter who wants to branch out into watercolor, so will be a small investment for starting out a fun relaxing hobby.
David Bellamy's Complete Guide to Watercolour can be used as a complete course, with a basic prerequisite of some sketching ability. The gentle structured approach is a great way to learn and build your confidence while moving on to harder techniques and new subjects in small steps. The paintings given as examples to study are inspiring and challenging. Satisfaction will be gained by moving through the chapters at your own pace and practising new techniques by creating something new each time. This beginner's guide is a great combination of technique and inspiration and earns a well-deserved place at no.6 in the top ten Teach Yourself Painting products.
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