best watercolour books

Best Watercolour Books: Top 9 Books for Watercolour Painters

The best watercolour books for beginners, intermediate and professional level artists to improve skills and get inspired.

Watercolour is a versatile and enchanting medium, which artists use to create a variety of beautiful effects. It can be light, delicate and completely distinctive in its appearance, plus it’s relatively easy and inexpensive to get started with, these characteristics attract all sorts of artists to try it.

To master watercolour painting, use these books to read up on techniques, methods and how to mix and combine colours. Then put your knowledge to the test. You’ll see your skills improve quickly.

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The Essence of Watercolour

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The Essence of Watercolour: The Secrets and Techniques of Watercolour Painting Revealed, by Hazel Sloan

Through practical demonstrations, the reader is encouraged to explore using a variety of brushstrokes, and to create fusions of colours to create appealing compositions.

Hazel Sloan shows the reader what they need to pay attention to in order to improve their watercolour skills, such as focussing on light, tone and shade.

Jean Haines’ World of Watercolour

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Jean Haines’ World of Watercolour by Jean Haines

With numerous examples of Jean Haines’ wonderful expressive watercolour paintings, this accessible book gives the reader an insight into how to paint a variety of subjects.

The book includes step-by-step projects to practise your skills.

Watercolour: Techniques and Tutorials for the Complete Beginner

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Watercolour: Techniques and Tutorials for the Complete Beginner by Paul Clark

This book features clear, easy to follow instructions and helpful tips for complete beginners wanting to get started with the medium. Paul Clark explains the fundamentals of watercolour painting. For example, the essential tools and materials. He presents ten of his paintings that put all the essential techniques to practice.

Light and Shade in Watercolour

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Light and Shade in Watercolour by Hazel Sloan

One of the key concepts of watercolour is mastering using light and shade effectively. Best selling author Hazel Sloan shows readers how to perceive light and shadow in their subjects like a painter, then translate this to paper. She gives helpful tips on how to combine light and shade harmoniously in a painting. 

The Joy of Watercolor: 40 Happy Lessons for Painting the World Around You

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The Joy of Watercolor: 40 Happy Lessons for Painting the World Around You by Emma Block

This book covers 40 lessons which highlights the beauty and simplicity of watercolour painting. With absolutely no skills required, learn how to paint a number of subjects. Learn to paint pets, flowers, then landscape scenes. Produce illustrative, contemporary style paintings and learn important techniques like layering and mixing colours.

Watercolour Landscapes Step-by-Step

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Watercolour Landscapes Step-by-Step by Geoff Kersey, Wendy Jelbert, Arnold Lowrey, Ray Campbell Smith, Barry Herniman, Joe Dowden

Written by six renowned watercolour painters, this book provides an in-depth guide on painting landscapes in watercolour. It also shows details and approaches to each stage of the painting process, from planning to sketching, perspective and using techniques. The examples of the artists’ works are inspiring and encouraging—it will make you want to capture striking nature scenes yourself.

New Botanical Painting

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New Botanical Painting by Harriet de Winton

Harriet de Winton shows artists how to create their own botanical paintings—of flowers and foliage. Follow these 30 different projects, from painting snapdragons to ferns, create artworks that you can hang and share. The author also explains the watercolour basics and essential materials to get started.

Turner’s Apprentice: A Watercolour Masterclass

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Turner’s Apprentice: A Watercolour Masterclass by Tony Smibert

Become J.M.W Turner’s apprentice and learn the methods of a master. Tony Smibert offers new understanding to Turner’s work with guides on how to learn from his painting approach with a contemporary twist. Any artist interested in art history and watercolour painting would gain valuable instruction from this book.

Skies, Light and Atmosphere in Watercolour

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Skies, Light and Atmosphere in Watercolour by David Bellamy

Learn how skies, light and atmosphere can affect a landscape painting and how to use the three components to create unique compositions. Bellamy shows the reader how to create special effects in skies, such as sunsets and shafts of light.

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