The Painter’s Studio Handbook by Simon Fletcher

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Sure, you shouldn’t obsess about materials and such when making art — the bad workman blaming his tools and all that — but it is useful to know your charcoal from your chalk and your earth pigments from your cadmium yellows. And what Fletcher has achieved here is a useful, practical explanation of the paitner’s tools and techniques good for the beginner and useful as an overview for the specialist in one medium to know the basics about the others. It’s refreshingly jargon-free, well-illustrated and has given me a better idea of what I need (and what I don’t) the next time I find myself at Joyful Honda, flummoxed at the difference between zinc white, permanent white and titanium white. The answers are here. The chapter on photographing your artwork is slightly dated (the book was published in 2012)  and Fletcher has nothing to say about creating art digitally, but if analogue art is your bag, this is your book.

No. 16 of 100 books I intend to read and review in 2019.

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Patrick Sherriff publishes a monthly newsletter highlighting good fiction about Japan and featuring an original painting or sketch. He lives in Abiko, Japan, with his wife and two daughters.