View Full Version : Decent Watercolour Beginners' Book (Must have UK availability)

03-08-2011, 04:13 AM

I'm having trouble finding a book that both teaches the style I like and does a real step-by-step method for beginners. From looking at several books over the years, I have some idea of the techniques, but I would really like a course that guides you through the lot. The nearest I can find is Alwyn Crawshaw's book, which is terrific in the early stages, but then I find his style mostly too 'loose' and sketchy for my liking. I think he really only uses watercolours as a means to sketch for his acryllics, whereas I like wc as a final medium.

I like David Bellamy's style - nice and detailed etc, but when I got his 'Complete Guide' out of the library, there are about half a dozen very involved exercises and the rest is just his own work (which is lovely) and a paragraph on how he achieved some of the effects. Not much use to a beginner!

Can anyone recommend anything, esp. something I'm likely to find in a city library as I have, literally, zero money for new books at the mo - hubby out of work and me unable to work much :crying:.

03-08-2011, 06:31 AM
Try "Watercolours in a Weekend - Landscapes" by Frank Halliday.
You could also look for "Watercolours in a Weekend" and "Watercolurs in a Weekend - Flowers" although I have no experience of the latter two.

03-08-2011, 07:04 AM
Check out this section on Watercolor Books in The Watercolor Handbook. Lots of info on good instructional books there. I'm sure you'll find what you are looking for. ;)

*Watercolor Books and Videos*

Watercolor Book and Video Reviews

Watercolor Books Recommendations

Watercolor Book Reviews

The link to the Watercolor Handbook is in my signature line. Scroll down to find the list above and click on the links there.


03-08-2011, 07:45 AM
Check out the Book Reviews (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=425301) thread in the Learning Zone.


03-08-2011, 11:25 AM
Hi, Elizabeth! :wave:

How about:

Cathy Johnson's "First Steps Painting Watercolors"


Keith Fenwick's "Watercolour Course".

Both should be available through your Library.


03-08-2011, 11:32 AM
Check out the Learning Demos Beginner's Corner for easy to follow demos right here in the Watercolor Forum as well. Link in my signature line.


03-08-2011, 01:09 PM
Forget about style for now , that will develop in time .
Try Ed Whitney for Fundamentals on composition, etc . , he never goes out of style.
There are others and you will be reading many of them before you are done . Try your library too .
June:thumbsup: :cat:

03-08-2011, 02:25 PM
Thanks, I'll look up some of those.

The last time I looked at the WC book reviews, I didn't find it had the info I wanted to be honest, but I can take another look.

The library is where I have to get all my books at the mo. I used to own a number of books, including that Keith Fenwick one, but before I went to Taiwan for a year, I lent all but 2 Trudy Friend titles (which I took with me) to someone who kindly lost the lot for me. I simply cannot believe that someone can 'forget what they've done with' a bagful of books, but so it seems to have occurred and it also seems I am to expect nothing more than an e-mailed apology for the loss in compensation. Grrr:envy: :evil: So, I am reduced to seeing what the library has and ordering in books from other branches etc. (Cathy Johnson's isn't available here though.)

I prefer a book to on-line info though. I want to have the volume open next to me, not have to bring in my laptop, go on-line etc and work from a screen.

03-08-2011, 02:31 PM
May I point out to our American friends that Elizabeth did say that they had to be available in the U.K.
Many books and other watercolour items that are available in the U.S. are not necassarily available in the U.K. Some of your watercolour painting tutors have only become familiar to me by reading about them in WetCanvas.
I am particularly envious of some of the palettes you have, the John Pike model is an example.

03-08-2011, 04:00 PM
this book is worth getting

03-08-2011, 06:56 PM
One more try, Elizabeth. This one should definitely be available in the UK Library system. It's a big book with lots of detail.

"Watercolour Challenge: Practical Painting Course" - Publisher: Channel 4 Books


03-08-2011, 07:21 PM
I know you said you can't afford another book at the moment, but at "The Works" they sell books at silly prices

This one caught my eye for 2.50 :clap: Or you might get it at the library

Painting with Watercolours by John Barber (https://www.theworks.co.uk/product.asp?cid=&pid=8454)

Beautifully illustrated with step-by-step photographs of every stage of a work of art as it develops. Unique stand-alone format for constant visual reference as a reader paints. Hints and tips throughout to guide readers to success.

03-09-2011, 02:08 AM
Frodon , Are you not able to get them even on Amazon ?
I have gotten books by Euro artists Trevana ,Karpinska, etc from Amazon

03-09-2011, 03:24 AM
Juneto. Not really. The best way to get anything like this is to get it directly from the U.S. Unfortunately the postage & packaging costs can be quite high.
I am a little surprised that nobody has, as far as I know, mentioned this before.

03-09-2011, 05:11 AM
Starting with Watercolour
Rowland Hilder

A classic English watercolorist with a very thought out method and with a very amusing sense of humour
Will make you think!

03-09-2011, 06:13 AM
I have the Rowland Hilder book, in fact it was the first one I bought some 30 years ago. It can be bought used on Amazon for 2.50.


claude j greengrass
03-09-2011, 08:14 AM
I recommend "The Complete Watercolourist's Essential Notebook: A Treasury of Watercolor Secrets Discovered Through Decades of Painting and Experimentation" [Hardcover] by Gordon Mackenzie

It's available from Amazon.co.uk (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Complete-Watercolourists-Essential-Notebook-Experimentation/dp/1440309051/ref=sr_1_10?ie=UTF8&qid=1299674714&sr=8-10) for about 10.00

Shirl Parker
03-09-2011, 12:37 PM
This book is available at Amazon.co.uk for 14.44 Watercolor for the Absolute Beginner [Paperback]
Mark Willenbrink. I found this book to almost completely follow a beginning watercolor workshop I attended.

You can buy it used from Amazon.com [U.S.] for $0.40 plus shipping and up. http://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/1581803419/ref=dp_olp_used?ie=UTF8&condition=used

03-09-2011, 04:41 PM
Shirl Parker. The only book with that title on Amazon U.K. is by a British Artist named Alwyn Crawshaw (one of my favourites) and sells for about $10.

Shirl Parker
03-09-2011, 05:21 PM

03-09-2011, 05:55 PM
My apologies. The reason I did not find it is due to the different spelling of the word "watercolour"

Shirl Parker
03-09-2011, 10:08 PM
No worries. Good luck with it being something you can use.

03-12-2011, 09:33 AM
elisabeth rb
Hi once again. I have recent;y bought a secondhand copy of "Watercolours in a Weekend" by Hazel Harrison from Julie's Bookshop on Amazon U.K.. I hink it might be just what you are looking for.
Try looking for it at your local library or failing that buy a secondhand copy from Amazon, there are some advertised and they are usually in excellent condition.

03-13-2011, 10:38 PM
Juneto. Not really. The best way to get anything like this is to get it directly from the U.S. Unfortunately the postage & packaging costs can be quite high.
I am a little surprised that nobody has, as far as I know, mentioned this before.
Yes,nobody mentioned here...maybe,not sure,but our fellow member Peter(watercolourfanatic)had written about this particular issue in his blog.Nice reading,I follow it.


03-13-2011, 10:39 PM
this book is worth getting
Thanks for the head ups Bridget,I ordered a copy already.:)


03-14-2011, 12:09 PM
I should post some of my books here, I will have to go through them before I leave. Mostly unread! and now of course, Jack has piled stuff in the way.
I will have to make a list.