Down by the Sea with Brush and Pen by Claudia Nice is a beautiful book on creating realistic watercolor and ink drawings.
8 out of 10 stars. I’m a fan of Claudia Nice’s books, but they tend to be repetitive. This one is her latest and includes several new techniques and lots of examples. One of my pet peeves is that she uses a handwritten font that is difficult to read. I’d love it if she reprinted her books without that font.
All of Claudia Nice’s books follow a format. There’s a section on tools needed and then she takes you through various types of techniques by object. For example, water, buildings, trees, etc. Many of the techniques are included in some of her other books. Like using crumpled tissue, rock salt, table salt, and masking fluid. The pen she uses is a very expensive $30 Rapidograph so if you’re using a Sakura pen don’t expect your results to look exactly like hers. While I found some of her watercolor paintings really exceptional, most of them were just average. That’s truly a shame for such a gifted artist, but I suspect she is worried about her artwork ending up all over the internet as most of the pages of this book have ended up on Pinterest. :0
She spends a few pages on perspective and uses this to draw old weathered farm buildings. She also spends several pages on inanimate objects and how they weather with age. Hers look very realistic, real enough to reach out and touch.
If you are thinking of buying Claudia’s books and are new to watercolor, I suggest you start with Painting with Watercolor, Pen, and Ink which is a 221 page comprehensive book that has most of her techniques included. Her books run about $22 each so that’s the go-to book you’ll want to buy first. After that, it’s a matter of what objects you paint. She has a book on painting old buildings, a book on painting flowers, a book on painting trees, a book on painting landscapes, and books on basic sketching.
8 out of 10 stars. If you can get a copy of this book for less than $10, the perspective section is worth adding to your collection. Otherwise, many of the techniques are repeated from Claudia’s other books, although the artwork is all new.
Reviewed by Erin.