I picked this book up on a visit to the Barber Institute last year. I’d just finished the Sketchbook Skool urban sketching course and the title and the scratchy illustration on the cover stood out. They say don’t judge a book by its cover but I’m really pleased I did with this book.
Having now read the book I have to say that the title is a bit misleading in the sense that it under sells the book. Rather than just covering concepts and techniques about urban sketching this book is a great resource of stories, general information and tips. I learnt so much about watercolour that I really wasn’t expecting and even though I read the entire book I think its one I’ll be going back to again and again.
Not only do you get a potted history of watercolour paint you also get useful insight into how it’s made which really helps to start understanding how the medium behaviours as well as an explanation of colour accompanied with beautiful sketches.
What I also love is he doesn’t stop at explaining the origins of colour in terms of paint, he also gets into semiotics and the meaning of colour and has some really helpful advice on all things related to watercolour from what equipment you should use (explanations on different paper types, brushes, etc) to quite technical information on harmonies, how colours contrast, etc.
His writing style makes this a really easy read with emotive statements like “Painting attempts to create illusion, while drawing mainly explains”.
What really strikes me about his drawing, aside from this sketchy, dynamic style which I love, is how he manages to create such depth with such a tiny amount of paint. I did a few initial sketches trying to copy his style which is a lot more difficult than it looks….
but I can’t recommend this book enough – definitely worth splashing out.