Saturday, 4 June 2016

Billy Showell's new book!

Today's post is all about Billy Showell's new book "Botanical Painting in Watercolour". I was given it as a birthday gift and I was really, really surprised, because I'd been waiting for this book since I'd learned about it but my online bookstore says that the premiere is to be on July. But I already have it!


Of course I spent all day yesterday reading it and admiring all those beautiful paintings inside. I have all four books by Billy and all of them are just pure perfection. The newest one is no exception. 

For me Billy is very special because I started my botanical journey from her book "A-Z of Flower Portraits". It is the only book about botanical painting here in Poland and of course still the only one in Polish. I learned so much from it and I was eager to learn more so I bought her other books abroad + two DVDs. Every time I learned something new and my paintings were getting better. 

"Botanical Painting in Watercolour" is Billy's fourth book and I thought nothing would surprise me. But it did. I found new tips, new techniques, new information which I will definitely implement in my paintings.

The book has 192 pages and it's square which is very nice change. There are dozens of excellent photos inside. I love every single book by Billy because they are very neat and all photos and illustrations are of very high quality so it's very easy to see details and understand everything. Not to mention, that there are many photos of each stage and they are described in concise language, without unnecessary details. The language is easy to understand even for non-native-English speakers like me.


The content is divided into 16 chapters + Introduction, Glossary and Index. Each page is beautifully decorated with Billy's paintings or, as in the first chapter, photos of materials. The chapters are: Materials, Getting started, Working from life, Observation, Drawing, Using brush, Painting techniques, Troubleshooting, Painting detail, Adding pattern, Creating texture, Painting multi-headed flowers, Painting from enlarged photographs, Colour and colour mixing, Composition, Stretching and finishing.


Billy provides us with a lot of useful information, such as how to keep fresh items fresh, how to observe a plant, how to transfer a sketch onto watercolor paper, how to stretch paper and so on. 

The heart of the book for me is the techniques of painting. Billy explains everything very clearly showing us everything on the photos. This book is like a great encyclopedia of watercolor techniques useful in botanical painting. 


We learn how to use a brush properly, what effects we can achieve, what obstacles can occur and how to deal with them. I specially like the "Adding pattern" and "Creating texture" chapters. The first one begins with stunning roses with lovely pattern.


We can also find information about colors. The chapter is divided into several parts, each part is dedicated to different colors. The one shown below is about blacks.

I think that this book is just excellent for everyone, specially those who wants to start painting in botanical style. All the neccessary information can be found there. I would recommend this book to everyone without a second thought.


Here's my "Billy's collection". Unfortunately, Polish edition of "A-Z of Flower Portraits" looks terrible when compared with English edition and I think I will buy English edition because it's really worth it. 


10 comments:

  1. What a superb review, Krzysztof! I'd vowed I wouldn't buy any more botanical art books, but I think I maybe overcome with temptation for this one!

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    1. Thank you! When it comes to botanical art books there is no power which could stop me (maybe only empty wallet). This one is a must have! :)

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  2. Hi Chris, I can't believe you just reviewed this amazing book! I did not know that you had and I ordered it from the UK Amazon yesterday as I cannot wait until it comes out here in Canada in July. I saw you mention it on your Facebook page this morning. Thanks for the great review now I am more excited than ever. I still need her brushes which are still out of stock but I will get them eventually. I got another beautiful book on botanical art in coloured pencil by Wendy Hollander from a friend for my birthday.

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    1. I hope your order will arrive really fast, althoug I came across some discussion on a forum lately and, funny coincidence, you told me about post in Canada and on that forum they were complaining about the same. Seems like it is really a pro lem there. Anyway, I hope you will be pleased with this book. Concerning the brushes, have you looked for Raphael series 8408? These are the same brushes. Maybe they are available.

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  3. I love your new bee botanical painting:) It is just stunning! You just keep getting better and better. It is so realistic looking. You must be really pleased with how well it turned out.

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    1. Thank you Carla! I am pleased but I have to admit that during painting I had a moment of "No, no, no, I'm throwing it away". I had to make a break, I sat down to it with new energy and somewhow it came out quite nice. My first bee! :)

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  4. Looks lovely Kris, and happy birthday. Billy Showell does have some beautiful work out there, I have been considering joining her online school. A few other courses to finish first I think. Thanks for sharing. Love the bee too!!

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  5. two of those books are translated to Russian, and this translation is very, very good! also all colours are saved as in English version. I waiting my issue of Fruit and vegetables in Russian, soon I will have it :))

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    1. Wow, you're very lucky to have Russian versions of these books! :)

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