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This is a beautiful, well-made, and super useful book for anyone working with watercolors. The largest portion of the book is dedicated to swatches of various shades of color – 15 per page – with formulas of water and colors to get that exact shade color intensity and value. The book includes introductory notes on color theory and a helpful plastic color mixing grid in a pouch on the back cover. The swatches revolve around a full range of the complex color tones that are found in nature. It also includes different parts of the face and identifies the exact mixtures needed to capture those shades for fair-skinned portraits. This is a well-designed, user-friendly, and vitally important handbook for anyone serious about painting in watercolor.

This is a similar handbook to the watercolor one, focusing on oils and acrylics instead, with the same color theory sections and the same type of layout with 15 color swatches on each page. The colors are grouped on related shades using the same base paints to get a range of colors from light to dark and different values. Color recipes, value recipes, great with compliments, portrait colors, color index, oil-acrylic conversion chart, and more.

A similar layout style is found in this lovely handbook, but this time, the swatch colors revolve around shades needed for portraits. It is extremely useful for anyone working in portraiture. The chapters include skin tone palettes, color theory, mouth color tones, ear-nose color tones, oil and acrylic skin tone recipes, color tones, watercolor skin tone recipes, creating colors, a brief index, oil and acrylic conversion chart, and more. Of course, the book includes a very wide range of skin tones and is, in itself, an indispensable and beautiful guide for any serious artist.

This is a beautiful, well-designed, and extremely helpful book for any serious painter. There are instructional materials, similar to their other books, on color theory, and such. However, the major portions of the book include 15 color swatches on each page with specific recipes to achieve that color, value, and intensity. The sections include color mixing for oils and acrylics, watercolors, portraits, and landscapes.

Thus, it combines much of what is covered in the smaller handbooks and is over 150 pages long, while the smaller handbooks are under 50 pages. With this book there is an additional help, though, which I find incredibly useful in my painting. The in-depth color index, at the back of the book, is how I find the specific shades I’m looking for. For instance, the small section under “Redwood Tree,” page references to foliage colors — dark, medium, and light.

It also includes trunk colors, bark (fibrous and furrowed), with subheadings of basic, secondary, dark, and light. So, I think most painters — including me! — can see how extremely useful this wonderful guidebook is. It’s a wonderfully helpful gift for any working painter.