Modern Watercolor Botanicals: A Creative Workshop in Watercolor, Gouache, & Ink

Paige Tate. Aug. 2023. 218p. ISBN 9781958803219. pap. $22.95. CRAFTS
Seattle-based urban gardener and designer/artist/illustrator Simon invites readers to partake in the joys of watercolor and gouache painting. The author adds a personal touch by sharing her own art journey that started on Instagram with her “plant lady” designs. In a warm, conversational tone, the book gives 15 step-by-step lessons for beginners and for more advanced artists. The first part of the book covers basics, such as creating washes, compound strokes, and color theory. The second part offers stand-alone botanical projects with instructions on how to add or reduce its complexity. Beginners are encouraged to choose affordable student grade materials and tools. Traceables allow beginners to skip the drawing elements and focus on painting techniques. Beginners are given step-by-step instructions for mixing colors for painting palm fronds, peonies, tropical leaves, wreaths, and wildflowers. Advanced students are encouraged to create their own color recipes. As the lessons advance, the book adds gouache and ink media, which give the botanicals opacity and depth. The entire book has an inviting tone, especially the “Why Art” sections interspersed throughout the lessons.
VERDICT A highly recommended title that offers an impressive array of watercolor, ink, and gouache techniques for beginner and advanced artists.
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