Litercurious Book Review

TitleYour Year In Art: Watercolor
AuthorKristin Van Leuven
PublisherWalter Foster Publishing (May 5, 2020)
Pages112 pages
ISBN# 10/131633228266 / 978-1633228269


Find out about Kristin Van Leuven by clicking her name.


Anyone wishing to enhance their skillset in watercolor would find this work invaluable.


Your Year In Art: Watercolor hales from the temple of art instruction from Walter Foster Publishing and follows their easy to use layout. The guide begins with explanations for the beginner. It starts with the basics and is accompanied by simple assignments for the aspiring artist. There is advice on how to control the intensity of color, color complements, mark making and an introduction to a range of brush designs. Each page has its compliment of assignments and practical examples of the method being employed. In addition, there are helpful hints and tips to further enhance the knowledge of the self-taught student. The pages have large full color, illustrations and photographs.

Kristin walks the reader through the diverse watercolor methods such as: blending, layering color, controlling saturation, how to use resists, the importance of leaving white space and the joy of monochrome painting. Also included are more challenging techniques such as: the use of negative space, the fun of playing with patterns, the use of black and white pigments, as well as examples of calligraphy.

The mid-portion of the book focuses upon the commonly known problem of “artist’s block.” Eventually every artist has a time when creativity seems like a distant dream and motivation lacks inspiration. This section contains a selection of inspiration re-starting exercises, or as she refers to it “jump-starting” creativity.

Inspiration can be found in many places. In Chapter 3, Kristin provides examples on how to wet your artistic appetite. Going outside provides a myriad of inspirational sources for any art project. Everything from botanical subjects, to animals or other creatures can provide inspiration. For landscapes, the aspiring artist could paint beautiful serene country scenes, urban scenes or any element of those scenes. Essentially, the world is your oyster.

Adding a personal touch to any work to make it more intimate is covered in the 4th Chapter.

Last but not least, the 5th and final chapter covers the importance of basic perspective to improve your art work. It demonstrates the numerous ways to include movement to your art piece and how to depict water in your painting.


Your Year In Art: Watercolor by Kristin Van Leuven has distilled years of art experience into a highly accessible, clearly described fun and colorful format. I found myself fingering through the pages again and again to merely enjoy the illustrations and to check out the assignments. Walter Foster Publishing produces some of the very best books for artists and Your Year In Art: Watercolor is among the best of that unique stable.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.


I would like to thank Kristin Van Leuven, NetGalley, and Walter Foster Publishing for affording me the opportunity to review Your Year In Art: Watercolor.