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About Helen Birch
Helen Birch is an art tutor and blogger.
She has been an art lecturer at several institutions across the UK and is the author of several popular drawdrawdraw blogs.
Her books include Freehand: Sketching Tips and Tricks, Just Add Watercolour and Drawn From Life. The 4th book in this series is Just Draw Botanicals.
Her newest book is: New Ideas in Botanical Painting - a collaboration with Carolyn Jenkins
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Books By Helen Birch
Each spread includes a stunning work of art paired with a discussion of the artist’s approach to creating it, including the techniques employed. At the bottom of the page, find tips on the tools, materials and methods used to make the piece.
A hyper-realistic blackberry, a watercolour sketch of a bunch of mint in a glass, a detailed scratchboard study of three pussy willow twigs, a tribal-style pattern inspired by different leaf shapes, an abstract image-transfer print of a milkweed plant… the techniques and subjects covered are diverse. With these and more artworks – created in a variety of media, including watercolour, coloured pencils, oil, pen and ink, mixed media and pencil – explore:
- Shape, form and light
- Harmonious colours
- Contrasting elements
- Fine detail
- Capturing movement
- Cropped compositions
- Using negative space
- Anatomical accuracy
Whether you are an artist looking for fresh ideas for creating botanical art or simply enjoy looking at nature-inspired images, this portable volume is a rich resource.
Renowned botanical artist and professional gardener, Carolyn Jenkins combines her love of art and gardening to create stunning compositions (often very different from traditional botanical painting) with vibrant colours that leap from the page.
The first part of this book – Botanical: Grow – explores time well-spent in the garden and covers much of the traditional details of botanical painting, from observation to capturing light, colour and texture. The second part – Contemporary: Paint – explores how Carolyn works with photography, using the computer to help with crop and composition, achieving maximum impact and creating luminous paintings that shine from the page. Her stunning illustrations are full of vibrant colour, and her larger-than-life artworks have gained an enthusiastic following on Instagram.
This practical guide contains all the techniques and practice you need to create beautiful botanical art, plus step-by-step photography, crop, composition and photoshop demonstrations, to bring luminous colours, textures and impact to your own work.
Just Add Watercolour is an innovative and accessible guide to this most dynamic of artforms, packed with bite-sized creative painting tips and advice, offering aspiring artists the freedom to dip in and out for practical information or flick through for fresh inspiration and ideas.
Showcasing nearly 100 works by contemporary artists across a range of different styles and approaches, Just Add Watercolour highlights and examines the different techniques, qualities and effects relating to each piece.
Organized into chapters according to medium and materials (e.g. traditional watercolour, gouache, digital, mixed media) artwork is featured large and luscious, accompanied by extended captions, insightful tips and practical advice. A visual index at the front of the book enables the reader to easily identify a specific painting, style, colour or subject matter.
Throughout the book, useful information and practical tips are provided on a wide range of topics such as tone, perspective, colour and much more besides. Readers are encouraged to discover the various ways in which similar subjects and styles are executed by different artists, while also being inspired to use the tips in the book as a way of building on their existing skills. Offering a bold, refreshing change from other run-of-the-mill art books, Just Add Watercolour adopts the unique approach of accessing practical information via the images, focusing on the way subjects can be treated using a range of different watercolour techniques, rather than looking at how to master one single style.