Complete Guide to Watercolor Painting (Dover Art Instruction)

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The author of this superb guide was not only a renowned watercolor painter but also a brilliant teacher with an unmatched talent for conveying to his students the techniques and aesthetic philosophy underlying great paintings.
Years after becoming award-winning painters themselves, his students still quote his "Whitneyisms" to remind themselves of all that is most important in creating art. This fine guide, the distillation of Edgar Whitney's teaching, is one of the most useful, comprehensive, and popular watercolor painting books ever published — almost a cult classic.
Starting with the nuts-and-bolts basics — including choice of paper, colors, palette, and brushes — and with exercises to give the beginner experience in using washes on both dry and wet paper, the book presents a full course of watercolor painting. The author gives specific, detailed instructions for creating landscapes and for painting portraits and figures — instructions that come vividly to life in two 16-page full-color sections showing the steps involved in creating seven of his own watercolors. Other chapters focus on drawing; the principles and elements of design; and matting, framing, and selling completed works of art. Beautifully designed and illustrated, this invaluable book will be treasured by all watercolorists — from complete beginners to experienced painters looking for ways to improve their own paintings. 37 color illustrations, over 100 black-and-white illustrations.

Product Details

  • Series: Dover Art Instruction
  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications (July 23, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0486417425
  • ISBN-13: 978-0486417424
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 0.4 x 10.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces

Customer Reviews

Fundamentals of graphic design as applied to watercolor

78 people found this helpful.
 on September 20, 2003
By silversurf
I wish publishers would stop calling their books “Complete Guides” to a subject. No guide to watercolor-or anything else-can possibly be complete. This raises unrealistic hopes that the reader will soon learn are unfounded. However, I love this book, and recommend it to serious students of painting, despite the unfortunate and rather bogus title.

Pretty extensive. Not really beginner friendly

 on March 26, 2017
By Nancy C.
Pretty extensive. Not really beginner friendly.

A Must read for the serious painter

29 people found this helpful.
 on February 27, 2007
By C. W. Rowland
If you are a serious painter, you need to know two basic things….how to put paint on paper and where to put paint on paper. A lot of books will teach you the former. No book will teach the latter better than Edgar Whitney’s. And if you don’t master design (where to put the paint) it doesn’t matter how well you put it on paper or canvas(technique). Whitney said of the 7 elements and 8 principles of design ” For lack of understanding of 15 words you will occasionally produce a good painting but will not be capable of evaluating why”. This book is not for looking at the pretty pictures. It’s a book to be studied and to learn from. If you do, you’ll be glad you did.

This is It

19 people found this helpful.
 on May 27, 2008
By A. McMillan
Complete Guide to Watercolor Painting by Edgar A. Whitney is not a coffee table book, not “eye candy;” but the quick readability of the black and white reproductions of Whitney’s watercolors shows that he knows what he’s talking about when it comes to design and the importance of a good value pattern. This is a book for the serious student of watercolor painting who is willing to take instruction and work at his/her craft, and it is, in fact, an excellent instruction manual for any painter, as the design principles are universal.

Complete Guide to Watercolor Painting

28 people found this helpful.
 on May 23, 2001
By cat bounds
Many great watercolorists of our day are proud to mention that they were students of Edgar A. Whitney. His “Principles of design” and “Elements of design” constantly show up in modern day watercolor technique books.

Watercolorists rejoice!

18 people found this helpful.
 on August 24, 2001
By Nita Leland
This book is one of the classics in watercolor that every watercolor painter should read. Whitney inspires and instructs at the same time. His elements and principles of design are fundamentals that should be used in every painting. It’s about time this book came back in print.

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