Tag Archives: Art & Design

HOLBEIN: Capturing Character – REVIEW

Litercurious Book Review

Holbein capturing character Ed. Dr Anne Woolett
Holbein: Capturing Character Ed. Anne Woolett et al
TitleHolbein: Capturing Character
EditorDr. Anne Woolett et al
PublisherJ. Paul Getty Museum (October 19, 2021)
GenreIndividual Artistic Monographs, Art Portraits, Calligraphy Guides
ISBN#10/131606067478 / 978-1606067475


Dr. Anne Woollett is curator of paintings at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, California, USA.


HOLBEIN: Capturing Character was edited primarily by Dr. Anne Woolett. Her collaborator’s include: Ulrich Hans BirkmaierAustėia MackelaitėPeter van der Coelen, and John T. Qillen. This work is a comprehensive monograph of the work of Hans Holbein The Younger (1497/98–1543). This compact Gallery Book was published to accompany the exhibition of the 16th Century renaissance Master Hans Holbein The Younger. The exhibitions at the J. Paul Getty Centre on October 19, 2021, – January 9, 2022; and continuing at the Morgan Library & Museum from February 11, 2022, to May 15, 2022. 

HOLBEIN: Capturing Character, although petite at just 9×12 inches, contains a genuine treasure trove of ultra high quality plates that depict:

  •  a selection of Holbein The Younger’s most valued paintings, 
  • blockcutts, 
  • woodcut illuminations,
  • chalk illustrations “Trois Crayons” (three chalks), 
  • oils on panel, 
  • engravings, 
  • jewelry, 
  • hat badges, 
  • medallion designs on paper, 
  • arabesque ornament designs on paper, 
  • silverpoint by Hans Holbein the Elder (1460/70-1524), 
  • designs for a stained glass window, 
  • cartouches
  • paintings from tempera and oil on panel, 
  • oil on canvas, 
  • oil on paper glued to panel, 
  • mixed technique1,  
  • a selection of ornamental lids,
  •  page drafts, 
  • tempera on unprimed canvas, 
  • an example of a rundel portrait, and 
  • studies pen and brown ink, brown and black ash ink wash and highlights of white gouache and black chalk on paper. 

Anne Woolett and her associates have produced a invaluable asset for anyone who wants to study Holbein or those who simply enjoy his amazing talents.  

Each listing is individually numbered and contains essential details relating to the image containing information on:

  • the artist, the subject where available, 
  • the date, the material used, 
  • the dimensions of the original, 
  • its current location, and 
  • the current owner if known.

Hans Holbein was an artist with unsurpassed levels of observation and the ability to translate his vision to oil on panel or many other mediums.

Additional information included in the book are:

  • an impressive Forward that sets the context for the reader
  • a detailed list of Illustration Credits
  • a list of short biographies covering the most notable figures who sat for Holbein
  • a chronology of each of the more significant works
  • an extensive bibliography
  • a list of Lenders to the exhibition, and 
  • acknowledgements 

1(a method originally accredited to Leonardo da Vinci. It involved tempera and oil, called tempera grassa, to try and extend the limitations of the medium. He would use one part egg yolk mixed with one part linseed oil to form the binder for his pigments.)


The plates in this work are exquisite in their reproduction being large, high quality, full-color images of the Master’s works. They are accompanied by comprehensive pertinent details relating to each work of art. The Editor and her collaborators excelled at the presentation, format, and underpinned these with exquisite insights to the zeitgeist of the times.  

Holbein: Capturing Character is a catalogue that is engaging, entertaining, informative and an accomplished illumination worthy of the Great Master. The subject is handled masterfully and is impeccably researched. There are extensive and detailed notes for each chapter, and in addition a short comprehensive Bibliography. Holbein: Capturing Character proved to be an addictive read.    

It is often said that a thing of beauty is a joy forever and so it is for this pocket-sized library of perfection. 

Rating: 5 out of 5.


I would like to thank Editor Dr. Anne Woolett, et al. , J. Paul Getty Museum, and NetGalley for affording me the opportunity to review HOLBIEN: Capturing Character.




Litercurious Book Review

TitleEssential Art Therapy Exercises: Effective Techniques
to Manage Anxiety, Depression, and PTSD
AuthorLeah Guzman
PublisherRockridge Press (March 17, 2020)
FormatKindle, Paperback


Learn all about Leah Guzman on her website here.


This work is directed towards every artist, student, parents of children or adults with mental or physical challenges and anyone wanting to reduce stress through creativity.


The author begins by describing the many uses of art based therapy from a psychotherapeutic approach to psychological or emotional conflicted individuals. Leah Guzman clarifies the art therapist’s qualifications and the training that goes into making a professional clinician. In addition, she posits the wide ranging and varied benefits arriving from the application of art therapy exercises under the tutelage of a competent therapist. She further explains the historic beginnings of Art Therapy as a treatment for people with Tuberculosis in sanatoria during the 1930s to improve mental health and reduce stress.

She describes both the short and long-term goals that drive the path of art as a therapy. One example is the method of visual documentation of thoughts and feelings through art therapy. The therapeutic goal of the art work is to provide an insight into the inner angst of the patient. The art makes visible the cause of pain, stress or discomfort; be it emotional, physical or subconscious.

Leah Guzman argues that research conducted by Marcia Rosal, in her book Cognitive Behavioral Art Therapy (CBAT), provides data that supports the positive effects of CBAT. She further postulates that CBAT provides the most effective treatment for several psychological based conditions by: alleviating stress, increasing coping skills and the adaption of the environment to increase self-esteem and self-control, thereby building emotional resilience and promoting healing. She further theorizes that one of the benefits of CBAT identified by Rosal, is the increased ability of the patient to enhance and organize thought processes.

Essential Art Therapy Exercises covers all aspects of self-guided art based therapy and expounds the many benefits of employing a professional art therapist. It includes a chapter on useful materials for art therapy and the important need for an “art safe place.” A place where you can come and go and not worry about someone tampering with your art work.

Throughout the guide there are numerous examples of art exercises to try. One example that particularly conforms to the goal orientated approach is the feeling wheel (see Loc 511). Each exercise breaks down into individual components. The kind of exercise depends on the type of trauma or condition. For each one there are benefits and steps required to complete the exercise; whether it is pastels, paintings, sculpture or any other art form. Every exercise is accompanied by a brilliant full color photograph.

Essential Art Therapy Exercises concludes with a list of useful online resources which includes helplines for a range of emergencies. This is followed by a compendium of references, acknowledgements, and section about the author.


I found Essential Art Therapy to be a revelation in more ways than one. Everyone could benefit from some CBAT to ease the stress and tensions of these challenging times.

It would have been nice to see digital art included now that the price of the equipment more accessible. Digital art has additional benefits to traditional art methods in that the image can be modified relatively easy, duplicated and shared with ease. The inclusion of digital art could provide an additional dimension to a CBAT class, group or exercise.

I would like to extend my personal thanks to Leah Guzman for gifting me a new perspective on a familiar subject. This author deserves your support.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.


I would like to thank Leah Guzman, NetGalley, and Rockridge Press for affording me the opportunity to review Essential Art Therapy Exercises: Effective Techniques to Manage Anxiety, Depression, and PTSD.


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.

Mastering Perspective – REVIEW

Litercurious Book Review

TitleMastering Perspective: Techniques for Mastering
One-, Two-, and Three-Point Perspective in Pencil
AuthorAndy Fish
PublisherWalter Foster Publishing (June 2, 2020)
ISBN# 10/131633228584 / 978-1633228580


Andy Fish is the author of Mastering Perspective as well as an illustrator of many graphic novel books. If you would like to learn more about him and see some of his works, click here.


If you wish to improve the reality in your finished art work Mastering Perspective is definitely a self-help guide for you, regardless of your age.


Proper perspective is a key goal of any artist who wishes to properly render an image in two dimensions. For many, this particular aspect of art and design proves somewhat confusing. Mastering Perspective aims to reduce the confusion and increase the knowledge and skill of the artist. 

Fish utilizes a step-by-step guide to clarify the importance of vanishing points in a single, dual, and three point perspective.

As with all of the Success in Art series of books, you will discover a magnificent manual from which to enhance your current skills or discover a new one. The large color plates are clear and accompanied by all the information needed to create accurately rendered perspective drawings at home. Learning to apply the basics of perspective drawing is without a doubt the quickest way to up your art game.

Fish’s guide is clear and loquacious with hints and methods to improve your architectural illustrations.

Mastering Perspective included an element missed in most other publications. This book includes how to portray shadows that conform to your perspective. By its very nature, perspective is complex and precise, but it doesn’t have to be confusing. If the methods described in this work are applied by the student, then they should encounter no problems mastering this arduous task.

Wether you are a complete beginner or an intermediate artist there is something here for you.

It is immensely satisfying to learn a new application of any skill. To learn that technique through your own endeavor is the greatest joy of all. With Mastering Perspective you can enjoy that pleasant sensation for yourself.


Mastering Perspective is a short study in perspective application. The author uses a chronological process to guide the reader through the proper application of multiple point perspectives. Although this book is packed with good information and illustrations, I found his explanations a bit verbose. The authors grandiloquent explanations detracted from the books objective. Overall, a decent work that will help improve your drawing skills.

Increase your competence, improve the realism in your work and scale new heights in your technical abilities though the Success in Art: Mastering Perspective by Andy Fish.

Rating: 2 out of 5.


I would like to thank Andy Fish, NetGalley, and Walter Foster Publishing for affording me the opportunity to review Mastering Perspective: Techniques for Mastering One-, Two-, and Three-Point Perspective in Pencil.


Litercurious Book Review

TitleThe Grown-Up’s Guide to Crafting with Kids: 25+
Fun and Easy Craft Projects to Inspire You and
the Little Ones in Your Life
AuthorVicki Manning
PublisherWalter Foster Publishing (June 2, 2020)
ISBN# 10/131633228606 / 978-1633228603


Vicki Manning has a love of crafting and creating original ideas for children friendly craft projects. She currently lives in Oxfordshire with her family. Vicki posts regular activities on her Instagram account @howweplayandlearn, where she posts daily crafting activities for kids and adults to do together.


This book is for parents, care givers, teachers, extended family members or anyone who wishes to entertain, educate or just have fun with crafts and kids.


The Grown-Up’s Guide to Crafting with Kids is the debut work of Vicki Manning. The initial impression from the book cover is this is an exciting craft guide. The colorful exterior with bright hues and interesting projects grabs the viewer immediately and provides for a pleasant experience. I couldn’t wait to open the book and view the 25 craft ideas.

Manning’s craft guide is intended for young children and their caregivers or educators and it shows. The images are colorful and interesting. It isn’t hard to image a child excitedly anticipating creating one of the many crafting ideas.

The book begins with a brief introduction followed by a getting started section. There is a dual page spread that explains the necessary items required for creating the enclosed craft ideas. All of the required items are kid friendly and safe to use with proper supervision.

Manning provides us with a wide range of original and unique suggestions for art creation, such as:


Around the home

Clay robots

Pom-pom ice-cream cones

Sun printing

Treasure boxes

Wax-resist bookmarks

And much more

The pages are laid out in window style accompanied by brief extracts describing methods and helpful advice. Manning has been careful to suggest ideas that use easily accessible tools and materials. My favorite craft was the paper mache rocket. Although I have to admit, I love the home made bookmarks. The bookmarks are quick, cute, practical, and even young children can make them.


Vicki Manning has created 25 fun ideas for you and your child to make crafting memories together. With many families currently staying at home, this book will provide some useful ideas to entertain and bond with your children. The memories created by this joint effort will last a lifetime.

Rating: 3 out of 5.


I would like to thank Vicki Manning, NetGalley, and Walter Foster Publishing for affording me the opportunity to review The Grown-Up’s Guide to Crafting with Kids: 25+ Fun and Easy Craft Projects to Inspire You and the Little Ones in Your Life.


The Grown-up’s Guide to
Making Art with Kids
ISBN-10: 1633227391
ISBN-13: 978-1633227392
The Grown-up’s Guide to
Painting with Kids
ISBN-10: 1633228541
ISBN-13: 978-1633228542


Litercurious Book Review

TitleDrawing and Painting Expressive Little Faces:
Step-by-Step Techniques for Creating People and
Portraits with Personality–Explore Watercolors,
Inks, Markers, and More
AuthorAmarilys Henderson
PublisherQuarry Books (February 18, 2020)
FormatKindle, Paperback


Amarilys Henderson is the author of Drawing and Painting Expressive Little Faces you can learn more about her here or visit her web page here.


This book is directed towards those novice artists who want to gain a fundamental understanding of how to draw facial structure.


Drawing and Painting Expressive Little Faces is a concise yet comprehensive introduction to painting and drawing faces.

The guide is resplendent with striking, bright, and colorful portrayals of human face interpretations. The informal and lively images are a mix of color and monochrome. The format is in the traditional style with six subdivided chapters.

1. Essential Supplies

2. Simplifying the Face

3. Building A Face

4. Putting it All Together

5. Pumping up the Personality

6. Not just Doodles

Amarilys Henderson included specific sections on how to draw a range of ages, face types, face shapes and skin colors. It is important to note that the faces are not in the style of fine art but are far more immature poster paint style of illustrations. Happily, this book is not comporting itself as fine art. It is most definitely centered in the use of a stylized facial images, surreal and assessable for the novice artist rather than the advanced practitioner. This doesn’t detract in any way from this useful guide. However, I want to ensure that the reader understands that this is for the novice, student or hobby artist.


Henderson has managed to cram a world of knowledge in a 144 pages. The presentation is truly exciting with original alternative interpretations of the human face.

I particularly was taken with the subsection on how to add personality to a face. I have reviewed a dozen or so art and design publications recently and none of them included this crucial method.

I was immensely happy to see that she included some Urban Sketching however, I wish this section had been more comprehensive.

Rating: 3 out of 5.


I would like to thank Quarry Books, NetGalley, and Amarilys Henderson for affording me the opportunity to review Drawing and Painting Expressive Little Faces .


Litercurious Book Review

TitleLearn to Draw (Almost) Anything in 6
Easy Steps (Mini Art)
AuthorRich Davis
PublisherRace Point Publishing (May 26, 2020)
ISBN# 10/131631067168 / 978-1631067167


Rich Davis is the author and artist who created Learn to Draw (Almost) Anything in 6 Easy Steps (Mini Art).  Click on his name to find out more.


Davis is an artist who’s illustrations in this book appear directed towards helping children learn to draw. Parents looking for some child bonding exercises would do well to use this book to create some art with their children.


Re-visit your childhood with this tiny 128 page book of some basic drawing methods for you and your child to make art together. The publication delivers this through a well structured 6 step method to assist in creating simple original illustrations.

Davis has focused on identifying the minimal shapes required to create the base drawings. There are double page spreads with inspirational tips to keep the aspiring artist on track and help improve their skill set. The content is laid out in a conventional pattern beginning with Animals and concludes with People. The graphics are lively and vibrant. For children, the images are raw, exciting and original works. Each of the eight chapters is:







Great Outdoors, and


The pages have high visibility name bars on the upper header portion of the page with the name of the subject in large, bright, and clear writing. Each chapter concludes with “Try these too!” ideas for the young artist to use with the six step process. This method makes creating line art fun and simplifies the construction of more complex subjects by utilizing basic forms, squares, circles and triangles.


There are two areas of creativity that are the most difficult to learn; the first is deciding how to begin and the second is how to finish your work. Davis understands this dilemma and provides practical help and advice through a structured six step process. Yet he has achieved much more than that, by creating this method he allows the child to focus on one step at a time. The structured method reduces the complexity of the subject into easy bite sized chunks. This transforms the overwhelming prospect of drawing an entire rocket into a modular sketch.

I particularly like the helicopter. As my husband, a 25 year veteran helicopter Instructor Pilot and Instrument Examiner, likes to say “A HELICOPTERA million parts rotating rapidly around an oil leak waiting for metal fatigue to set in.” In reality they are so intricate, yet Davis has managed to condense them down into a beautiful set of basic shapes that create a cogent and believable illustration.

Young children will no doubt adore using this book to pass away happy hours learning the basics of how to draw anything.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.


I would like to thank Race Point Publishing , NetGalley, and Rich Davis for affording me the opportunity to review Learn to Draw (Almost) Anything in 6 Easy Steps (Mini Art). 


Litercurious Book Review

TitleInking Florals: A step-by-step guide to creating
dynamic modern florals in ink and watercolor
AuthorIsa Down
PublisherWalter Foster Publishing Group  (May 12, 2020)
FormatKindle, Paperback
ASIN #B08678RS19


Isa Down is the author of Inking Florals find more information about her here.


Inking Florals is ideal for novice to intermediate illustrators. Anyone would enjoy the imagery and possibly be encouraged to try illustration for themselves.


A tiny publication that punches way above its weight. Designed as an informal introduction to basic concepts and techniques for creating bright, vibrant and exciting illustrations. The format is simple and clear. Sections are sub-divided into:




Color Theory

Basic Flower Structure

Step-by-Step to basic florals introduction


Isa Down has created a practical guide on how to draw and paint exciting florals. The illustrations are line drawings both colorized with watercolor and monochrome. These are accompanied by precise guidance to assist the artist through the creative process. Alongside some illustrations, there are beautiful full-color photographs. These photographs provide inspiration and act as reference material. I found the wide variety of floral types to be excellent for developing the drawing process. The use of a loose watercolor style to enhance the line drawing worked well. Overall a fun step-by-step guide to creating your own beautiful botanical illustrations.

Rating: 3 out of 5.


I would like to thank Walter Foster Publishing , NetGalley, and Isa Down for affording me the opportunity to review Inking Florals.


Litercurious Book Review

TitleDrawing Hands & Feet: Success in Art Series
AuthorKen Goldman
Publisher Walter Foster Publishing (June 2, 2020)
ISBN# 10/131633228568 / 978-1633228566


Ken Goldman is the author of Drawing Hands and Feet you can find out more about him and his work here.


Drawing Hands & Feet has a broad appeal encompassing all those who aspire to improving their knowledge, skills and abilities in the creation of their own artwork. It is ideal for those who prefer the self-directed learning route, and would aid those students who wish to expand their knowledge and appreciation of alternative and traditional methods of drawing.


The format of Drawing Hands and Feet is like many of its kind. The sections are laid out in a common sense manner as follows:


Section 1: Tools & Materials

Section 2: Anatomy of Hands & Feet

Section 3 Drawing: Techniques

Section 4: Step-by-step Drawings

Conclusion and about the author

At first sight you may be forgiven for thinking that there is nothing remarkable or unique about this manual, but you would be mistaken. Drawing Hands & Feet is exceptional in every single way. It is true it has a similar page format to other publications of its kind but what elevates this particular guide is the quality of the illustrations and the invaluable information and advice from a contemporary, professional working artist of considerable talents.

In the pages of this manuscript, I found an abundance of essential, practical advice enhanced by high quality photographs, monochrome and color sketches, and full color anatomical illustrations. The sheer quality of the anatomical illustrations alone justifies the price of this work. The years of experience from the author and the practical methods described to enhance your drawing is second to none.

Artists quickly become aware that drawing or painting hands and feet poses a herculean problem early on in their art journey. They are the most complicated parts of the body to reproduce in a realistic manner and therefore it is helpful to have a step-by-step approach during the learning faze in order to control the multitudinal task posed by the complexity.

It is easy for me to sit here and try to convince you about the book, but to show you is another matter all together. Therefore, I thought I would put pencil to paper and see if I would benefit from the manual. Below you can witness the results. I am confident having tried the methods described in the book that you could benefit from its sage advice to.

This is my sketch taken from page 16 of Drawing Hands & Feet.
This is my original sketch using the techniques found in Drawing Hands & Feet.


Drawing Hands & Feet by Ken Goldman is an exceptional guide to the most difficult parts of the human anatomy to draw. Goldman took on the challenge of making the complex simple. He excelled beyond all expectation. I fully anticipate that this will sell out quickly when it becomes available in early June, 2020. I can’t wait to procure myself a copy. I give it my first 5 star rating of 2020 for an art book.

Rating: 5 out of 5.


I would like to thank Walter Foster Publishing , NetGalley, and Ken Goldman for affording me the opportunity to review Drawing Hands & Feet.


Litercurious Book Review

TitleDrawing and Painting Botanicals for Artists:
How to Create Beautifully Detailed Plant and
Flower Illustrations
AuthorKaren Kluglein
PublisherRockport Publishers (June 16, 2020)
ISBN #ISBN-10: 1631598570
ISBN-13: 978-1631598579


Karen Kluglein is the author of Drawing and Painting Botanicals for Artists. Select link above to read more about her.


Drawing and Painting Botanicals for Artists is unashamedly directed to the botanical artist community and those who aspire to the profession.


Context is everything and before beginning the review of Drawing and Painting Botanicals for Artists I thought that you may like to know a little of the historic beginnings and importance of botanical art.

Before the advent of mechanical means for capturing botanical subjects artists and illustrators were the sole source for capturing plant forms for posterity. The practice of Botanical Illustration can be traced back through history to approximately 70 AD. The Greek botanist Pedanius Dioscorides produced the first officially recognized book of plant species for medical purposes. It wasn’t until the 1800’s and the explosion of exploration that the botanical illustrator became a respected profession in the eyes of the public. Previously, it was the preserve of physicians, pharmacists, botanical scientists, and gardeners for identification, analysis, and classification plant species who were respected. However, it was during the these halcyon days of worldwide discovery that artists and illustrators began to make significant contributions to the scientific publications of the day. Together with improvements in the printing of illustrations, the art of botanical illustration was set to change the world.

Botanical Artists became famous with such illuminated names as:




MARIANNE NORTH (1830 – 1890)

ANNE PRATT (1806 – 1893)

ERNST HAECKEL (1834-1919)

Today photographs have replaced most illustrations in scientific journals. Botanical artists are still highly sought after and often editors of publications will engage a botanical artist to create a greater sense of importance in place of a mere photograph.

You may be one of many aspiring artists who find botanical illustration to be worthy of further study and you would do well to begin your art journey with, Drawing and Painting Botanicals for Artists.

Drawing and Painting Botanicals for artists, was produced by Karen Kluglein. She is a freelance painter and illustrator of significant talent and skill.

Kluglein has produced a concise yet inspirational work that is an essential prerequisite for anyone wishing to quickly enjoy the process of painting or drawing botanical subjects. The pages are full of both color and monochrome images, illustrations and photographs of Kluglein’s own handiwork. The chapters are well structured with a Key Terms section early-on to assist newcomers in getting to grips with the jargon. There are silverpoint illustrations that immediately caught my eye, as I very much enjoy that medium for certain subjects. Beginning with the mediums and supplies, the author quickly moves on to share the essential drawing techniques that can elevate your work considerably. You will learn the importance of values, tones and highlights in creating beautiful botanical illustrations. Kluglein, throughout the book heralds the primacy of proficiency in the fundamentals of drawing. Invaluable information sits comfortably next to spectacular color illustrations for an esthetically pleasing viewing experience. As the book progresses, there are step by step methods for producing your own homegrown botanical art. On page 53 you will find the suggested method to draw in the much maligned color pencil a Blackberry in six easy stages. A range of media are explored from gouache to acrylic paint and color pencils to watercolors. Each one with a brief nugget of advice to help keep you on track. Brushes, painting surfaces and painting such as washes, layering, lifting, graduations, and dry brush techniques are covered. There are suggested exercises for you to try out complete with examples of how it should look when you are complete.

She goes on to mention color mapping, natural hair brush types and sizes, painting surfaces, paper weights, surface texture as well as vellum. She explains how to attack overlaps, how to change a petal shape, fix spots, mottling, how to add texture-final details and how to finish.


Karen Kluglein has put together an excellent reference book for aspiring botanical artists. She provides tips-and-tricks for all types of media, art surfaces, supplies, errors, and techniques. She has created a wonderful book that will add to any home or office.

Rating: 4 out of 5.


I would like to thank Karen Kluglein, NetGalley, and Rockport Publishers for affording me the opportunity to review Drawing and Painting Botanicals for Artists: How to create Beautifully Detailed Plant and Flower Illustrations.