by Mari Bolte
D. C. Ice & Pamela Becker, illustrators
Capstone Young Readers
Back Cover: Turn your scribbles into masterpieces! Young artists will develop their painting skills with the easy step-by-step instructions in this guide. Learn the basics in acrylic, oils, pastels, and watercolors. No experience is necessary—Paint It outlines the essential tips, tools, and techniques to get started. ALL YOU NEED I IMAGINATION!
Opening: Painting is the way we tell stories and share messages. A single drop of paint can inspire huge murals of color or a series of small, scattered dabs across a canvas.
Each section in Paint It starts with a section called “In Your Art Box.” Here you learn what you will need to get started painting that type of paint, including the brushes and paints, from the basics to the advanced. The paper(s) used and tools are listed and explained in accessible terms. Not being an artist, I understood 90% of the book at first read. Last, prior to starting the first project, you will learn some of the techniques and tips for that type of paint, and the color palette.
The introductory sections pack in a lot of useful information and for this beginner, nothing seemed to be filler. I enjoyed reading the book and wish I had more talent. I did find that gathering the basic supplies could be expensive. I was surprised how expensive even watercolors could be. The book itself is beautiful. Color splashes every page, often in visually stunning ways. The best thing about Paint It is the ability to replicate that beauty on your own canvas.
I love that there is more than just the basics. In watercolors, there are lessons on gouache and Chinese Brush Painting. In acrylics, there is Mayan Art, Fantasy Art and a section on replicating The Scream. Pastels gives you Andy Warhol along with Batik Heat, (a technique from Indonesia using hot wax on fabric to create interesting patterns on fabrics). Instead of using hot wax, Paint It shows kids how to do Batik Heat with white glue, a safer means to the same end.
I really like the oil technique of Tiny Art. This technique has you drawing and then painting smaller objects from the larger scene. Once the smaller pieces are completed, you repeat the individual sections onto the larger canvas. Rather than making mistakes on the expensive large canvas, your mistakes are worked out on the less expensive and smaller paper first.
Paint It explains Picasso’s Blue and Rose Periods with instructions on creating a painting similar to what Picasso had done. For something quite unordinary, Giuseppe Archimbolo’s technique of using food to portray his subjects would make a fun afternoon of painting. Archimbolo used food arranged to resemble his subject. For example, a rose for the ear or a stalk of celery for the neck.
I enjoyed reading Painting It and wish I had the talent to replicate the techniques it teaches. While it is for the beginner, I think this will be enjoyed more by the intermediate artist—child or adult. The four sections: watercolors, acrylics, pastels, and oils, need not be completed in any particular order. With the exception of the basic strokes in the watercolors section, the four sections do not build upon each. Start with whatever medium you prefer. With Paint It, not only will your skills improve, so will your confidence and your knowledge.
I enjoyed painting for the first time since grade school, though I made more of a mess than I did art. While Paint It is marketed as a beginner book, and it does read like a starter book, this beginner found the projects to be difficult. I think any kid with an interest in art would like this book. Those who actually paint, they will love this book. The projects use interesting techniques that look much harder than most are—if you follow the tips and techniques sections.
Released September 1, 2013
Age 8 to 14
PAINT IT: THE ART OF ACRYLICS, OILS, APASTELS, AND WATERCOLORS. Text copyright © 2013 by Mari Bolte. Illustrations copyright © 2013 by D. C. Ice. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Capstone Young Readers, North Mankato, MN