Book Review: Urban Watercolor Sketching: A Guide to Drawing, Painting, and Dreaming in Color


The original edition for this book is actually in German and it's called Wasserfarbe für Gestalter. That was published in 2011 and is one of my favourite books on watercolour and sketching. And I can't read German.

The author is Felix Scheinberger from Germany and has published other books as well. I'm so glad that the English edition for this is finally available. It's really well translated.

There are two publisher for this book as I know, namely Watson-Guptill which seems to be distributing for the western market and Page One Publishing for Asia. They have slightly different cover art. The subtitle is also a bit different, one is "storytelling in color" and the other is "dreaming in color".

This is a paperback edition compared to the hardcover German edition. It's still 156 pages and the layout is the same. I prefer the hardcover format because you can open both pages flat, and there are quite a few drawings printed across the gutter. That's my only complaint about the paperback format.

The book features tips on using watercolour for sketching. The translation as I mentioned is fantastic. It's light hearted and conversational. It's a breeze to read through and the contents covers practical tips on using watercolours and colours. You'll read about the different hues, techniques, colour schemes, symbolism, mixing, materials, and more. You can tell the author is very knowledgeable about the subject, and would occasionally include stories on the history of colours as they were used centuries ago.

One reason why I like the book so much is because of the wonderful sketches. I really love the free and loose style, vibrant and energetic colours. I feel a sense childlike wonder coming from the watercolour sketches. I'll still keep my German edition just so that I can admire the drawings easier with the book flat.

Even though the title has the word 'Urban' in it, nothing in the book is specific about using watercolours in the urban setting. With the tips, you can use them in any setting. I feel that the title is trying to ride on the wave of current popularity that comes from location or urban sketching. This book is different from those urban sketching books. This covers more on watercolour techniques which is more useful as it builds on your drawing foundation, in this case on using colours.

This as one of my 2014 favourite art books.

Highly recommended to those who love colours, watercolour, sketching and art.

Urban Watercolor Sketching: A Guide to Drawing, Painting, and Dreaming in Color is available at Amazon (US | CA | UK | DE | FR | IT | ES | JP | CN) and Book Depository)

Urban Watercolor Sketching: A Guide to Drawing, Painting, and Dreaming in Color
Paperback English edition and hardcover German edition

Urban Watercolor Sketching: A Guide to Drawing, Painting, and Dreaming in Color

Urban Watercolor Sketching: A Guide to Drawing, Painting, and Dreaming in Color

Urban Watercolor Sketching: A Guide to Drawing, Painting, and Dreaming in Color

Urban Watercolor Sketching: A Guide to Drawing, Painting, and Dreaming in Color

Urban Watercolor Sketching: A Guide to Drawing, Painting, and Dreaming in Color

Urban Watercolor Sketching: A Guide to Drawing, Painting, and Dreaming in Color

Urban Watercolor Sketching: A Guide to Drawing, Painting, and Dreaming in Color

Urban Watercolor Sketching: A Guide to Drawing, Painting, and Dreaming in Color

Urban Watercolor Sketching: A Guide to Drawing, Painting, and Dreaming in Color

Urban Watercolor Sketching: A Guide to Drawing, Painting, and Dreaming in Color

Urban Watercolor Sketching: A Guide to Drawing, Painting, and Dreaming in Color

Urban Watercolor Sketching: A Guide to Drawing, Painting, and Dreaming in Color

Urban Watercolor Sketching: A Guide to Drawing, Painting, and Dreaming in Color

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