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No Excuses Watercolor: Painting Techniques for Sketching and Journaling Paperback – June 16, 2015
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"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
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About three weeks ago, I got the ebook version of this book and Gina's "No Excuses Art Journaling," as well as Gina's two videos in a bundle from Interweave, and thoroughly enjoyed them. I even started collecting pictures from magazines as both books and videos recommended, but I just don't have the right types of magazines to get a lot of images I'd like to paint.
As much as I enjoyed the ebook version, for me, this book is best enjoyed in paper form. I didn't really appreciate everything that's in it until my paper copy arrived yesterday. All I can say is, "Wow!" I am looking forward to working through the exercises using my Koi 24-color travel watercolor kit and waterbrushes because those are my tools of choice. The entire book is useful and all the exercises look like they will be fun to do.
The best part of this book for me is the inspiration section. Each group of four pages includes a page of inspirational words, possible subjects, poetry, and quotes on the first lefthand page. There's an image (approximately 5 x 7) on the righthand page and a suggested color palette with color names in Gina's favorite paints. On the next pair of pages are an ink drawing of the photo subject on the left page and a watercolor version on the right page. The subjects include animals, birds, travel/landscape, and nature images. Your painting doesn't have to look exactly like Gina's, but if you get stuck or if you are trying to develop you interpretation skills, you can look at the inspiration photo and Gina's drawings and paintings to see what she did.
I have had trouble finding magazine pictures that I wanted to paint, so having these 13 carefully-selected images to work from, as well as Gina's interpretations, will give me lots of practice images that I can use to start developing my skills.
Gina's painting style really appeals to me because it lends itself to small images that can be completed in a short time, which is exactly what I want to learn to do.
This is a book that covers painting techniques for sketching and journaling. If you are looking for something really technical, this is not the book for you. If you want a book that teaches you techniques so that you can relax and enjoy playing with shapes and colors and won't take you hours and days to complete, this is a great book. It even encourages those who aren't comfortable with drawing to trace images to color, so you don't even have to have good drawing skills to enjoy using water colors.
Aside from that, the content of the book is fantastic. The writing style and step-by-step instruction are really great. I'm definitely a beginner at watercolor and my wife is more intermediate, and we are both finding this book very useful and fun. There is definitely a progression in difficulty within each successive project, which is really nice for both of us.
Overall, this is an awesome book for the content alone. I know it might be picky, but when you think you're getting one thing and then you receive something a little different, it can be a bit disappointing. The absolute ONLY complaint I have is with the cover art making it look like a spiral bound book - otherwise this would've been a resounding 5 star review.
This book is my first encounter with this artist/author; she's made an instant fan out of me!