BOOK REVIEW: Everyday Watercolor by Jenna Rainey

Watercolor is such a tricky medium to work with, but also so rewording. It takes a while to figure it out and a right instruction is invaluable. The new book by illustrator Jenna Rainey  –Everyday Watercolor is an excellent starter or a refresh course for anyone who wants to paint with watercolor.

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The book is literally meant to be used every day, with lessons for 31 days of the month. It provides material for a consistent practice, introducing new skill every single day. Each activity builds on the previous one. The book starts with introduction and continues on to week 1 – Technique, where we learn how to handle watercolor , select colors and getting a feel of the brush. Week 2 is Form, Perspective and Light, followed by Complex Shapes in section 3. Value, volume and depth as well as application are discussed in Sections 4 and 5. Each day has an exercise that includes detailed steps and palettes for the proposed work. The book is very easy to follow and gradual buildup of skills helps with confidence.

I absolutely recommend this book to anyone who always wanted to try watercolor, but was afraid to do it. I definitely recommend it as a fun daily practice or a refresher course too. 5 stars.

I received this book via in exchange for a fair and unbiased review.

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BOOK REVIEW: Doodletopia Fairies by Christopher Hart

We adore fairies in this household. And we adore art. Kids love books that teach them how to draw and Doodletopia Fairies by Christopher Hart came into our house just in time. I have heard of Doodletopia books before, but haven’t had a chance to look into others before.

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The book is full of cute fairy characters  and there are 8 sections on each little feature: Heads and Faces, Fairy Bodies, Magical Clothing and Accessories, Wings and Poses, Fairy Personality, Magical Powers, Musical Instruments and Fairy Dwellings. Each section contains very clear and easy to understand directions on how to draw this or that feature and then an exercise is offered to help develop your own characters.  Readers are eased into each new lesson with the skill they have acquired on previous pages. Initially I thought of this book as a kids’ book, but as an illustrator I found I can learn from it as well. We will make it a family activity book, I say.

Overall Impression: Enjoyed looking through this book quite a bit, children are very excited about learning more about drawing fairies and elves with this book. Instructions are straightforward and easy to follow, exercises are fun and helpful. 5 stars.

I received this book via Blogging for Books in exchange for a fair and unbiased review.

BOOK REVIEW: The Drawing Lesson by Mark Crilley

I enjoyed Mark Crilley‘s previous work The Realism Challenge and found his lessons clear and straightforward. I was excited to see his new work and in such an interesting format- a graphic novel called The Drawing Lesson. My children were especially excited for this one, as they are huge fans of graphic novels and they love to draw. As a self-taught artist I can appreciate the advice about the basics.

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The book focuses on the importance of a mentor in the life of an aspiring artist. The story is about a boy named David who encounters a woman artist in the park. David admires Becky’s art and begs her to teach him. Each chapter introduces a concept and gives the idea for practice. Both characters are funny (my kids laughed so much at poor Becky being annoyed by eager to learn David). And as David’s drawing progresses, so does his friendship with Becky. The final chapter and Epilogue were quite touching. Each chapter gives very basic but at the same time very useful advice about how to get this or that part of the drawing right. There are 11 chapters, my kids were done reading it in one sitting and grabbed their sketchbooks right away.

Overall impression: I think this book is a great tool for introducing the basics to the young people as well as adults that want to learn how to draw but don’t know where to start. Some aspects of the story (introducing yourself to a stranger just because they draw well and especially barging into their houses) irked me a bit, but didn’t bother my kids at all. They paid all the attention to the advice about drawing. My children enjoyed the format of the graphic novel very much. 5 stars.

I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for a fair and unbiased review.

BOOK REVIEW: The Watercolor Course You’ve Always Wanted by Leslie Frontz

My own artistic journey is only beginning and many things seem difficult or confusing. There isn’t always time or funds available for formal painting lessons. That’s when one truly appreciates the book like “The Watercolor Course You’ve Always Wanted”. The author, Leslie Frontz, is an artist with forty years of experience and numerous teaching credentials.

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Let’s take a closer look at the book. As most of the books of the kind it starts with the description of materials needed to have a successful journey towards mastering watercolors. I was pleasantly surprised my the relatively small list  of necessities. The techniques of preparing a surface for painting are clearly explained. From then on each chapter carefully but straightforwardly lays out various elements of creating a watercolor painting — working with shapes, value, how the  colors work together, how to create a desired texture and how to express the mood and atmosphere on the paper. Each chapter has step-by-step demonstrations. I especially liked that paintings on demonstrations are created from the photographs, as it is how I am painting now. Numerous artworks are included to illustrate each point brought up in the book.

Overall impression: This book proved to be a valuable source for me. It clears up many questions that I had. I appreciate the fact that while each chapter is comprehensive, the material is presented in a way that doesn’t overwhelm the beginner like me. Five stars.

I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for a fair an unbiased review.

Week’s Roundup: September 14-September 20,2015

Another busy week for us.

Picture of the week:

Hand in hand, deep in conversation, two gnomes walked through the forest

Hand in hand, deep in conversation, two gnomes walked through the forest

What were we up to this week:

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Week’s Roundup: June 7-June 14, 2015

Another week went by, and suddenly it’s half of June gone just like that.

Photo of the week:

Despite my protests they managed to sneak a book each to the table

Despite my protests they managed to sneak a book each to the table 😀

What were we up to this week?

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Week’s Roundup: April 20-April 26, 2015

Whew, what a week, once again. I will probably write these words over and over all the way until the end of May…

Picture of the week:

How glad I was to see it was raining today, something about the rain is always soothing and being indoors on a wet day when there are no places to be is refreshing

How glad I was to see it was raining today, something about the rain is always soothing and being indoors on a wet day when there are no places to be, no people to meet and we can just be warm and cozy in our pjs, read and play and bake…

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