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July Art Book ARC Reviews

Contemporary Color Theory: Watercolor Flowers by Manushree Mishra, Brilliant Inks by Anna Sokolova, and Embroidery Made Easy: Beautiful Birds by Beth Hoyes

Contemporary Color Theory: Watercolor Flowers by Manushree Mishra

Publication Date: July 5, 2022


Explore the basics of color theory and color mixing, and then apply your new skills to create your own beautiful floral watercolor paintings, step by colorful step.

Color theory and color mixing are essential topics for all artists to know, and Contemporary Color Theory: Watercolor Flowers covers both in an easy-to-follow way with simple, actionable steps that any artist can do. Learn how to:
Mix paint colors
Avoid “dirty” mixes (those that look too brown, for example)
Create your own color wheel
Create neutral colors and pastels
Mix vintage colors
And much more
This book is ideal for all skill levels and ages, and while it focuses on watercolor, the same tips and techniques can be applied to other media as well, including acrylic, oil, and gouache.

Once you’re familiar with color theory and feel comfortable creating your own color mixes, dive into the step-by-step painting projects. Each project is done in the style seen on the author’s popular Instagram account (@thewhimsicalcreative) and features beautiful, romantic florals painted in watercolor. Learn how to paint floral wreaths, bouquets, and different types of leaves and plants.

Contemporary Color Theory: Watercolor Flowerscombines the essential topics of color theory and color mixing with watercolor painting projects for a comprehensive book that’s perfect for beginning and aspiring artists.

My Review:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

This has a LOT of great information on color theory and color mixing. Not just your standard primary/secondary/tertiary colors, but how to create a variety of color palettes and mix exactly the colors you want. A lot of the information was new to me and I will definitely refer back to it. I also found the example color palettes and pieces using those palettes very useful and eye-opening.

There are also instructions for creating various leaves and petals with different brushstrokes and angles and several example projects of various arrangements of flowers and leaves in a variety of color palettes discussed earlier in the book. While most of these weren’t particularly of interest to me, there were some that I would definitely like to try.

I am new to watercolor and to be honest it tends to baffle me, but I look forward to experimenting further using these exercises as a guide. I also look forward to using the color theory and color mixing examples in some of my other preferred media.

*Thanks to NetGalley and Walter Foster Publishing for providing an e-arc for review.

Brilliant Inks by Anna Sokolova

Publication Date: July 5, 2022


Discover a world filled with vibrant color and creative possibilities as you explore an array of painting, drawing, printing, and lettering techniques and styles using vivid colors of artist’s ink.

In Brilliant Inks, artist, illustrator, and top Skillshare teacher Anna Sokolova shares her own unique methods that get the most out of this versatile medium. With her guidance, create beginner-friendly florals and foliage, animals, still lifes, figures and portraits, and hand lettering.

Learn about the various types of inks and the best tools and surfaces to use with them. Then, try basic techniques such as color mixing, creating visual texture, negative painting, and splattering.

Work with a variety of brushes, dip pens, and droppers to get different looks, and see how adding common household supplies such as salt and bleach can create the most amazing effects.

Use these methods in lessons designed to improve skills and boost confidence. Be inspired to make projects such as a bracelet, paper art dolls, a tote bag, and a decorated book. Full instructions and templates make projects fun and stress free.

This incredible material offers so much that’s waiting to be discovered:
Vivid monotypes made in minutes using a combination of painting and printmaking methods
Custom palettes created with unique blended colors
Watercolor-like translucent washes and opaque silhouettes
Techniques for creating beautiful motifs using simple brushstrokes and patterns.
Begin your colorful journey today with Brilliant Inks and see how far your creativity can go!

Perfect for all skill levels, the books in the Art for Modern Makers series take a fun, practical approach to learning about and working with paints and other art mediums to create beautiful DIY projects and crafts.

My Review:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

This book showcased a variety of techniques for working with inks, but especially highlighted ways to simplify a piece while still retaining the essence of the subject. This is a very useful skill, especially when working small and with delicate media. It also stressed the importance of color palettes and ways to combine color most effectively in an ink piece.

I wasn’t terribly interested in recreating most of the projects, but they did inspire me to think of other uses for each technique – many of which I had previously been unfamiliar with – so I definitely feel like it was a useful book for me.

*Thanks to NetGalley and Quarry Books for providing an e-arc for review.

Embroidery Made Easy: Beautiful Birds by Beth Hoyes

Publication Date: July 12, 2022


Learn to create a variety of birds following the newest embroidery trend: thread painting.

Through a collection of 12 detailed, full-color patterns, aspiring and established embroidery artists will discover how to employ the art of thread painting to create a range of popular birds and waterfowl from around the world, including North America, the Amazon rain forest, and Europe.

Thread painting is the name for using single strands of embroidery floss to create lifelike images with beautifully blended gradients of color and detail. Fortunately, the process is not as hard as it sounds! After learning a bit about how to create gradients and blend colors, anyone can create incredible embroidered masterpieces.
 Embroidery Made Easy: Beautiful Birds includes:
A primer on embroidery materials, setup, and thread painting techniques
Patterns that indicate where each color should go and when the gradients should begin
For each project, step-by-step instructions and reference images of the finished piece
Perfect for needlepoint artists of all skill levels, there is no better time to learn how to create beautiful birds in embroidery.

My Review:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The birds showcased in this book are beautiful and very colorful. I greatly enjoyed looking at the photos of each completed thread painting and the progress photos, and I feel like I could get a decent sense of how to recreate them using my prior embroidery experience, though I have no experience in thread painting.

However, I found the diagrams and some of the written instructions hopelessly complicated and found that my eyes glazed over while reading through / about them and I learned very little from them. This could be due at least partly to my learning style, however.

I think this book would be best for those with a decent amount of embroidery experience under their belt and not those who are complete beginners.

*Thanks to NetGalley and Walter Foster Publishing for providing an e-arc for review.


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