Review Round-Up: Watercolors, Lines, Mindfulness, and Cats

Books Entertainment Reviews

These upcoming titles are different in their subject matter but similar in their approach; they are all about making art for the sheer joy of it.

Painting Cats: Curious, Mindful, and Free-Spirited Watercolors by Terry Runyan

Creativity is unpredictable in the same way that cats are. It thrives in an open environment. It accompanies us as we move forward. It requires little preparation other than showing up, being present, playing, and making marks. Our kitty friends are eager to lend a paw or keep your paper warm while they wait.

–Terry Runyan

Terry Runyan defines herself as a cat lover and creative enthusiast, and her books are a true joy.

This one has cats all over it and many clever ways to show you that painting with watercolors can be messy, unpredictable, and fun. I love the fact that she can just paint cats for the love of it, and I especially love the new way she has discovered to make them appear fuzzier than ever (and how she achieves mastery in painting cat eyes).

This would be an excellent gift for any struggling artist who is too set on perfection. We can throw our perfectionist mindset out of the window and have fun instead.

She has an accompanying class (if you want to know what the fuzz is about) over on Skillshare.

Painting Cats is available on September 12th, 2023.

Publisher: Leaping Hare Press
Pages: Paperback + Flaps 144 Pages
EAN/UPC: 9780711285347

Here’s another great book paired with a Skillshare class. This one’s also about watercolor.

Bold and Beautiful Watercolor Skies: Learn to Paint Stunning Clouds, Sunsets, Galaxies, and More — A Master Class for Beginners by Zaneena Nabeel

Enjoy the process without worrying about the outcome. You may need a few more tries to get the result you want. If you′re ever frustrated or upset because you did not get the result you wanted, take a break. Accept failure as part of the process and learn from it without giving up. With a little practice and patience, ANYONE can paint.

–Zaneena Nabeel

When I saw that Zaneena was publishing a book, I jumped at the chance to review it. She is one of Skillshare’s top teachers, and her daily prompts to paint have been a source of learning and joy for me these past few years. First, because it seemed impossible that you could make such beautiful scenery in watercolor without being a pro, and second, because her classes promised only to take 15 minutes of your time each day.

15 minutes?! Totally true, and yet, her small-scale paintings are fun and engaging and make you save up on watercolor paper. They can be painted on scraps, on your sketchbook, or on the back of postcards—whatever you have on hand. Once you get the habit going, something deceptively simple and joyful begins to happen. After all those minutes were well spent, I grew to regard them as my daily artistic workout.

The book is organized into clear, step-by-step instructions and you’ll simply love the color combinations, especially Lavender and Payne’s gray or Orange and Hot Pink and Yellow. You start understanding the skies immediately and may find yourself watching the sunset with a whole new mindset.

Did I mention it is for beginners? You just have to be willing to try.

Bold and Beautiful Watercolor Skies is available on October 10th, 2023.

Publisher: Quarry Books
Pages: 152 Pages
ISBN: 9780760382943
BISAC Categories: Arts, Crafts & Hobbies

The Art of the Line in Drawing: A Step-by-Step Guide to Creating Simple, Expressive Drawings by Frédéric Forest

The idea of this one is not to teach you how to draw like me, but to share with you the pure pleasure of drawing and of each aspect that surrounds this skill. Always draw and paint for yourself first. Keep it fun. Never give up. Never stop.

–Frédéric Forest

French artist Frédéric Forest is internationally renowned for his expressive and minimal artwork. A self-taught artist, this book shows you his method for drawing with different lines using various types of markers.

I have to say, his style is deceptively simple, capturing the essence of the subject from reference photos and real-life alike, usually just by thickening lines in some places and perhaps adding a color or two. Mostly, though, I think it’s because he knows when to stop.

Forest is almost Zen-like in his use of lines, and since the line is one of the elements of art, this can be a very useful book to have around for your art students or your curious artist at home. Sometimes the idea of the object is more interesting than a profusely hyperrealist portrait of it. Art is free-flowing and can be practiced every day.

The Art of the Line in Drawing is available on September 19th, 2023.

Publisher: Quarry Books
Pages: 128 Pages
ISBN: 9780760384640
BISAC Categories: Arts, Crafts & Hobbies


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