A guide that shows painters, drawers, doodlers, and urban sketchers how to bring their drawings to life with colorful, bold, yet accessible painting methods.
COLOR YOUR LIFE
Bring new energy to your sketches of urban scenes with this fresh and simple approach to watercolor painting. Whether you’re an amateur artist, drawer, doodler, or sketcher, watercolor is a versatile sketching medium that’s perfect for people on the go—much like pen or pencil. Accomplished designer and illustrator Felix Scheinberger offers a solid foundation in color theory and countless lessons on all aspects of watercolor sketching, including:
Fundamentals like wet-on-wet, glazes, and washes
Materials and supplies to bring on your travels
Little-known tips and tricks, like painting when water
isn’t handy and seeking out inspiration
Vibrant watercolor paintings grace each page, and light-hearted anecdotes (why do fish make great subjects to paint, you may be wondering...) make this a lively guide to the medium. With an open mind and sketchbook, you will be ready to capture the moments around you in luminous color with confidence, creativity, and ease—no matter what your skill level may be.
WATERCOLORS—IN OR OUT?
When we think of watercolor, many of us immediately picture sentimental landscapes and paintings of ruins and picturesque scenes.
Although eighteenth- and nineteenth-century English artists established watercolor as a sophisticated painting medium, it often yields strangely negative reactions from contemporary artists. An entire generation quickly relegates it to a hobbyist’s medium.
Yet watercolor is far more than an amateur’s medium, as it requires intense concentration and practice. Once it’s put on paper, mistakes are difficult to remedy, and only when it is applied with confidence does it have a truly successful effect. Watercolor involves a certain degree of uncertainty, but it also teaches us to see.
Watercolor was the first technique to free the artist from the studio because it could easily be taken outdoors. It required no tubes, easels, canvases, or similar implements, only a box of paints and paper. Even today, watercolor is a tool that frees us from the studio, our laptops, and countless charging cables.
Watercolor is, however, not just a technique; it is almost an attitude. Watercolor always does what it wants. In a way, it is willful and anarchical. Therefore, for me, the secret to using watercolor to create pic-tures lies in striking a balance between control and letting go. Pictures are often only “really good” when they surprise us—when they reveal what we sensed and felt, but could not have consciously expressed. If we sacrifice the right amount of control in the artistic process, watercolor’s inherent qualities begin to work to our advantage.
This book has two goals: to teach you watercolor techniques and to tell you something about color.
However, it does not aim to explain, for example, how you can paint a certain sky in four steps. I seriously doubt whether readers learn more from such instruction books than they do by actually painting that sky. What if the sky should suddenly cloud over? Instead, this book wishes to show you the basic principles of watercolor paints, so you can flexibly apply them to whatever you want to achieve.
I imagine it’s a little like learning chords on a guitar. For me, it seems important that you learn the finger-ings, but what song you play is up to you.
And don’t worry, everything that we need to know about color can be learned with a simple box of paints.
Whether watercolor painting is sophisticated and legit-imate or not isn’t the point. Watercolor can go anywhere. It is an autonomous, free, and creative medium. It makes the world our studio.
Excerpted from Urban Watercolor Sketching by Felix Scheinberger. Copyright © 2014 by Felix Scheinberger. Excerpted by permission of Watson-Guptill, a division of Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Table of Contents
Watercolors—In or Out?
A Painting for the Emperor
Gum Arabic: Where the Watercolors Grow
Pigments: The Stuff That Dreams Are Made Of
Yellow and Orange: Of Camels and Crocuses
Red and Purple: Of Bugs and Snails
Blue: Of Lapis Lazuli, Indigo, and Woad
Green: Of Plants and Poison
Introducing Color to Sketches:
We’re Not in Kansas Anymore
Multiple Choice: To Design Is to Decide
From Dusk till Dawn: Shadows and Light
Black Is Back: Glazing with India Ink
Layer for Layer: The Glaze
Mixing Colors with Glazes
Fish Soup: Practicing the Glaze
The Wash: The Paint Does as It Pleases!
On the Run: Graded Wash Techniques
Once More, with Feeling!: Washes
It’s a Give and Take: Applying and Removing Paint
Combining Techniques: A Little Bit of This and That
EXCURSION IN COLOR THEORY
Where Do Colors Come From?:
The Simple Science
Opposites Attract: Color Contrasts
From South Park to Stoplights: Types of Color
True Color: The Effect of Light
Every Color Tells a Story: Intensifying Your Sketches
It’s All Relative: The Effects of Colors
Color Harmonies: Simple and Complex
Analogous, Monochromatic, and Complementary Harmonies
Triadic and Tetradic Harmonies
Cool-Cool and Warm-Warm Harmonies
Designing Color Harmonies: Working with Color Code Strips
Getting Out of Your Color Comfort Zone
The Blue Ridge Mountains: Color and Perspective
YOUR OWN STYLE
Less Is More
Me, Myself, and I: Finding Your Own Style
Style and Creativity
Throwing Down: Loosening Up Your Painting
Seek Not and You Shall Find: Imagination vs. Internet
Make It Matter
BASICS / TOOLS
Impossible Hues: Bright Colors
Pimping Watercolors: Making Colors Pop
Liquid Watercolors: Bright Now, Pale Later
Into the Wild: Brushes
Even More Brushes
The Permanent Wave: Stretching Paper
The Contents of My Bag
OUT & ABOUT
Bad Weather: Painting Outdoors
The Other Viewpoint: Changing Perspective
Air, Fog, Smoke
Smog and Atmosphere
What Is Beauty Anyway?
TIPS & TRICKS
Composition and Design
Smudges and Spots
Painting What’s Not There: Negative Space
White: A Special Case
Studies, Sketches, and Drafts
Merging Colors: Working from One Color
Working with Colored Paper
Lettering and Writing
Layouts, Scribbles, and Storyboards
How Much Is Your Picture Worth?
Everything Ends: When Is a Picture Finished?