From the Dutch publishers of Tulips in watercolour, Karakter Publishers, I received the Dutch version of this book Tulpen aquarelleren, for which I kindly thank them.
When I first saw the book my initial thought was ‘What am I supposed to do with this? It’s not a coloring book!’ I flipped through it and was confused.
How am I going to review a book that at first sight doesn’t attract me, that has rather large line drawings on tracing paper and is obviously meant to teach how to make paintings?
Information from the internet
People who want to learn to paint flowers without relying on their drawing skills have everything they need in this book. Fiona Peart’s expert use of bright, clear watercolour washes to create beautiful flower paintings is fully demonstrated in this inspiring book on tulips.
The tracings and clear step-by-step photographs explain the painting process in great depth and make it easy for readers to reproduce all of the projects, which include tulips in a variety of shapes, sizes and colours.
Tulips in watercolour flip through
I’ll flip through it to show you what the book looks like so you’ll know what to expect:
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After receiving it, and the initial shock, I’ve put the book aside to let the whole idea sink in. And it took quite a while before an idea started to take shape. That idea got stronger when someone wanted to sell me their complete set of, as good as new, Faber-Castell Albrecht Dürer watercolor pencils.
This could be the solution… What if I would take one of the line drawings, scan it and resize it to A4 size and then print it on paper that’s fit for watercolor?
And that’s exactly what I’ve done.
Preparing for my first watercolor pencil tulips
I had a never used paper block and on the cover it said that it would be suitable for mixed media. Well, then it should be suitable for watercolor pencils as well, I assumed. I scanned the two halves of the tracing paper and in a photo editing program I united them to form one drawing again. Then I put some extra transparency on the lines, to prevent them from being too visible when the painting would be ready.
I took the book and looked for the instructions that belonged to the drawing I had picked: the Spring bouquet. There’s a very clear description on what colors you need. But I already had to be creative there, because I clearly didn’t have paint but watercolor pencils.
A couple of colors were not available, so I looked them up on the internet to see what colors they were (approximately) and picked the best fitting pencils from the tin. For the brush I’ve alternately used a Koi water brush and a Caran d’Ache water brush.
And then I could start. The instructions are very simple and set up point by point. So I followed the instructions as best I could, but with watercolor pencils instead of paint.
I first colored a bit and then took the water brush to add water and shape the form of the piece I colored. To be quite frank, it wasn’t that bad after all! And when I reached instruction 6 (of 39) I was getting the hang of it.
Gradually I saw a real painting appear right before my very eyes! I had never done such a thing before and I was perplexed that I was able to pull this off.
Slowly but surely making progress
Below I will show you the further course of my watercoloring work (click on the pictures to enlarge). When you follow the instructions in the book, watch the pictures closely that go along with them, and if you’re in the lucky position of having a little bit of an affinity for working with colored pencils and a brush, then this should be doable for most of the colorists.
And then you’ve done something truly different than coloring just another ‘ordinary coloring sheet’.
All in all this book is a really nice addition to my collection. I’ve learned from it, like how to build up a painting when you want to use watercolor. And most of all I’ve learned to not take a first impression of a book too seriously. In the end this was a very fun and educational book after all!
Do you love tulips and would you like to color them yourself with paint or, like I did, with watercolor pencils? Tulips in watercolour is definitely a book to add to your collection too! You can order it by clicking here.
Tip: read my blog on working with Albrecht Dürer, incl. a ‘How to…’ video!
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Disclosure: This review contains products that I received from a publisher or company. This however does not reflect on my opinion in any way. The links to the book are affiliate links. This means that, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. Also note my Disclosure Promos page!