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This is the fifth addition to the Urban Handbook series. The author this time is urban sketcher, painter and teacher Shari Blaukopf whose work I'm a big fan of.

This 112-page paperback features tips by various artists on using colours. There are plenty of beautiful sketchers and paintings and examples. The text is insightful. This is a book, together with the other books from a series, that you can easily pick off the shelf to flip through for inspiration.

This book is not a step by step instructional book. It's one that hopes to inspire and introduce you to new ways of working and playing with colours. There are many suggestions on how you can experiment.

I highly recommend this to people who love urban sketching and colours. And definitely check out Shari Blaukopf's blog for more inspiration.

The Urban Sketching Handbook: Working with Color: Techniques for Using Watercolor and Color Media on the Go (Urban Sketching Handbooks) is available at Amazon (US | CA | UK | DE | FR | IT | ES | AU | JP | CN) and Book Depository

Working with Color by Shari Blaukopf (book flip) - YouTube

Visit Amazon to check out more reviews.

If you buy the links, I get a little commission that helps me get more books to feature.

Here are direct links to the book:
Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.de | Amazon.fr | Amazon.it | Amazon.es | Amazon.com.au | Amazon.co.jp | Amazon.cn | Bookdepository.com

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Seekers is a comics anthology featuring short stories and illustrations from 22 Chinese comic artists and illustrators.

This is a very thick hardcover. The cover is not pasted to the spine of the book so that allows the book to open flat. All text is in Chinese.

Highlight of the book is the variety of styles and storytelling techniques featured. Some comics were drawn with great detail while others are more straightforward. Regardless of how the art was drawn, they look good enough to serve the stories. The style is mostly in Asian manga style. There are a few artists with very illustrative and painterly style and those really stand out.

As for the stories, well, they are short so don't expect deep character development. These are just short stories to feature the work of these artists.

The Chinese title is 稀客.

The book's priced at SGD $45 and is available at Basheer Graphic Books here in Singapore. While stocks last.

稀客 Seekers comics anthology (book flip) - YouTube
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A few months ago during the sketchwalk at Ghim Moh, I saw my friend Dorothy using the Artgraf earth colour set, a product that I've always wanted to try but didn't want to risk wasting money on. After seeing how that Artgraf product performed, I decided to get one to test.

ArtGraf is the watersoluble graphite product line made by Viarco, a pencil company based in Portugal.


In addition to the watersoluble graphite they make, they also have these coloured graphite pieces that are available in limited colours, and sold individually or in sets.


There's the Earthtone 6-color Set which is less than US $35. That's the set my friend was using. There's also the Monochromatic 3-Color Set with black, gray and white for less than US $25.


The one that I bought is the Primary 3-Color Set which is less than US $20. The pricing is quite reasonable considering the size of those blocks.

The colour blocks are housed in a holder that's made of cork. That's the same material used to make bottle stoppers. It's supposed to be impermeable so you can just use the blocks in the holders. Anyway, these blocks are quite big pieces so it won't be easy to find the perfect container or box to store them for transportation. Don't throw away the plastic cover.


The shape of the block is inspired by traditional tailor chalks. You can hold them for drawing but that would mean staining your fingers.


The blocks would dissolve easily when applied with a wet brush. It's more difficult to dissolve the pigment completely if you draw on the paper first.


The colours on this sketch were from the Artgraf colour set. The usage is no different from painting with watercolour pans. The blocks are heavily pigmented and you can pick up a lot of paint with a wet brush. There's no mention of the pigment that's used so the lightfast quality is unknown.


I was able to mix beautiful skin tones with this limited palette.

The colours aren't extremely vibrant or intense like Azo, Phthalo or Quinacridone, but they are definitely vibrant enough. As such, they can actually be applied straight on the paper without much mixing and the pure colours won't look too glaring.

The secondary colours possible are slightly muted but look lovely. Colours from this set has good harmony since you're dealing with a limited palette.


It's difficult to mix really dark values with this set of colours. But the dark values are still dark enough for them to read as dark. This is a wonderful set to use with pen and ink because the colours are transparent, and the lines will always show through. You might want to consider adding a black ArtGraft block if you really want black.

While these are marketed as graphite, I don't really see much graphite sheen. Under certain angles, yes, you will see some sheen. If no one told me these are graphite, I won't be able to tell.

Overall, I really enjoyed painting with this set. It seems like a quality product. The blocks I'm sure will last for a very long time so it's definitely value for money. If you already have watercolour, there's probably not much reason to get this. If you want to have fun, buy a set to try and see if you like them.

Availability

You can find these ArtGraf products on Amazon and Jackson's Art (UK) through these direct affiliate links:
Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.de | Amazon.fr | Amazon.it | Amazon.es | Jackson's Art (UK)

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Webb on Watercolor is an insightful book filled with insight and knowledge from Frank Webb, a professional artist who has been painting since 1947. This book was originally published in 1990 and this 2018 paperback edition is the reprint from publisher Echo Point Books & Media.

This is not a step-by-step instructional book. This book is a collection of tips and experience from Webb. It covers the basics of making art with a focus on watercolour, and the approach to painting. Much is written about the thought process and explaining the process. Numerous examples are provided with detailed analysis.

Some of the topics covered in this book are not different from other watercolour or art books. However, there's always much to learn since different artist would interpret subjects differently and have their own style. Frank Webb is such an artist, one with a rather stylistic approach that's quite recognisable if you know his work. I love reading about the approach of other artists. Another artist such artist is Charles Reid, whose books I've also featured on my blog before.

This book is for the intermediate artist, those who already know the basics to painting and want to explore and dive deeper into creativity. It's a wonderful reference book that I can easily recommend.

Webb on Watercolor is available at Amazon (US | CA | UK | DE | FR | IT | ES | AU | JP | CN) and Book Depository

Webb on Watercolor (book flip) - YouTube

Visit Amazon to check out more reviews.

If you buy the links, I get a little commission that helps me get more books to feature.

Here are direct links to the book:
Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.de | Amazon.fr | Amazon.it | Amazon.es | Amazon.com.au | Amazon.co.jp | Amazon.cn | Bookdepository.com

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Unlike reds, there are many blues that granulate. Shown above are just some that I have, namely, DS Cerulean Blue Chromium (PB 36), DS French Ultramarine (PB 29), DS Cobalt Blue and Kremer Pigment's Cobalt Blue Dark (PB 74). Other blues that I know of that granulate are Verditer Blue, Mayan Blue Genuine, Lunar Blue, Lapis Lazuli, Prussian Blue, Cerulean Blue, Azurite, Manganese Blue Hue, Blue Apatite Genuine and Sleeping Beauty Turquoise. There are so many options to go with.


DS Transparent Red Oxide (PR 101) is probably the paint that granulates the most.


Kremer Pigment's Cobalt Blue Dark is the only version of PB 74 that I know of that produces such obvious granulation. I've tried Old Holland, Winsor & Newton, Stephen Quiller but while they granulate, they aren't as textured as Kremer Pigment's version.

If you know of other granulating blues, let me know in the comments section.

I'm trying to create a palette with only granulating paints.

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These are Faber castell Albrecht Durer watercolour markers.

Jackson's Art (UK) has free global shipping when you reach a certain amount

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Granulating yellows and reds are quite rare in watercolour. If you know of any, do let me know in the comments section. I'm trying to create a palette using only granulating colours and see how that would work out.


Some of the granulating reds I have are Daniel Smith Mayan Red (PR 287). My scanner wasn't able to capture vibrant reds that well but believe me when I say Mayan Red is really beautiful.


Daniel Smith listed Perylene Scarlet (PR 149) as a granulating red but it most certainly is not.


Potter's Pink granulates heavily but it's a rather muted colour.

Many of Kremer Pigment's paint are granulating so I wanted to test one, Irgazine Ruby (PR264). I'm not sure if I can call that granulating or uneven pigment separation (or maybe that's the same thing). Anyway, Irgazine Ruby does produce some interesting textures. The same pigment is used to make DS Pyrrol Crimson but we can see DS's version is more even and predictable.


These are the same mixes painted on Indigo Art Papers handmade cotton watercolour paper. The earlier ones were painted on Arches.

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Pure Watercolour Painting by Peter Cronin is an accessible introductory guide to watercolour painting.

The book covers the basic techniques and fundamentals, the steps from sketching, planning and then painting. There are 5 lengthy step by step demonstrations included that you can follow along. Instructions are clear and concise. Colours used are listed.

It's a good book. The only thing missing that I usually see in other watercolour books would be the colour harmony or colour theory section. But otherwise, this is a very hands on book for those who want to learn by doing.

Pure Watercolour Painting: Classic Techniques for Creating Radiant Landscapes is available at Amazon (US | CA | UK | DE | FR | IT | ES | AU | JP | CN) and Book Depository

(book flip Pure Watercolour Painting by Peter Cronin - YouTube

Visit Amazon to check out more reviews.

If you buy the links, I get a little commission that helps me get more books to feature.

Here are direct links to the book:
Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.de | Amazon.fr | Amazon.it | Amazon.es | Amazon.com.au | Amazon.co.jp | Amazon.cn | Bookdepository.com

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Books
  1. Sketching from the Imagination: Creatures & Monsters
  2. The Art of Days Gone
  3. Hellboy: The Art of The Motion Picture
  4. The Art of Anthem
  5. How to Read a Modern Painting: Lessons from the Modern Masters
  6. Painting Masterclass: Creative Techniques of 100 Great Artists
  7. Strengthen Your Paintings With Dynamic Composition
  8. NieR: Automata World Guide Volume 1
Product reviews
  1. BenQ SW271 Photographer Monitor (27 inch 4K Adobe RGB)
  2. Turner Artists Watercolour chart
  3. Trying out Maimeriblu again
  4. SketchINK by Rohrer and Klingner
  5. Going cheap with Daniel Smith series 1 paints
  6. Dr Ph Martin's Bombay Pen Cleaner
  7. Black Noodle handmade fountain pen
  8. Diamine Inferno Orange & Blue Flame
  9. Ink Miser
Youtube videos
  1. Drawing a tree with contour lines (Part 3/3)
  2. Drawing a tree with pen, ink and watercolour (Part 2/3)
  3. Drawing a tree with pen, ink and watercolour (Part 1/3)
  4. A collaboration with Mitsubishi Motors
  5. Good colours from Daniel Smith Series 2
  6. Exploring Color Workshop by Nita Leland (book review)
  7. Granulating RED watercolour paint
  8. Unboxing Huion KAMVAS Pro 16 pen display
  9. Review: SketchINK by Rohrer & Klingner
  10. Studio Tour (2019)
  11. Painting a Maimeriblu Watercolour Chart (Trying this brand again)
  12. Book Review: Creative Freedom by Maggie Price
  13. Drawing buildings with many windows and perspective (timelapse tutorial part 2)
  14. Drawing buildings with many windows and perspective (timelapse tutorial part 1)
  15. Test Your Supplies: Watercolour Paper (Part 2 of 2)
  16. Test Your Supplies: Pen and Ink (Part 1 of 2)
  17. Going Cheap with Series 1 Daniel Smith
  18. The Watercolor Ideas Book by Joanna Goss (review)
  19. Unboxing BenQ SW271 4K Monitor
  20. Kallang Riverfront Park Sketch (timelapse tutorial part 1)
  21. Kallang Riverfront Park Sketch (timelapse tutorial part 2)
  22. Limited Palette of Azo Yellow, Verditer Blue, Anthraquinoid Scarlet
  23. (CLOSED) Artisul Giveaway 2019
  24. Calligraphy: A Book of Contemporary Inspiration (book review)
  25. Portable USB-C Touchscreen Monitor from WIMAXIT (review)
  26. Sketch with 2 colours
  27. Huawei MediaPad M5 Lite vs IPad 2018 (Artist Comparison)
  28. Review: Watercolour sable brush by PANART GLOBAL
  29. Painting a Kusakabe Watercolour Chart (12-tube set)
  30. Working with Color by Shari Blaukopf (book review)
How to support Parkablogs


1. If you find my blog useful, do support me on Patreon.
Patreon is a monthly subscription service where you can pledge a certain dollar amount to support the creator you like. You can edit your pledge anytime afterwards.

You're supporting the art community, publishers, artists directly too, because that's what this blog is about.

2. Getting your stuff through affiliate links
When you buy stuff through the Amazon and Book Depository affiliate links, I earn a little commission at no extra cost to you.

3. Get some watercolour paint from me
I'm selling off some excess watercolour paint to make space to get more to test and feature on my Youtube channel. Check out the colours I'm selling.

Thanks for your support!

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When Italian-born artist Francesco Lietti visited Hong Kong in 2005, he was so inspired by what he saw and felt that he moved to live there in 2006. Since then, he has been creating artworks inspired by the city.

Colors of Asia features the paintings, collages and photos of Francesco Lietti. This guy travels a lot so you're not only see the works of Hong Kong, but also artworks inspired by other countries and landscapes as well, such as London, India, Philippines, Laos, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Cambodia and more. There are stories of his trips, and essays written by others who know him and his work. It's very interesting to read about his life, inspiration work.

All the photographs included are really beautiful. They are well composed that I'm actually tempted to use them as reference photos to make my own drawings. His artworks, the canvas paintings, looks wonderful. They are his impressions and interpretation of the places he has been to. The style looks compressed as if taken from a zoomed in telephoto less. There's a lot of overlap, to create this depth, a compressed depth, colours are vibrant and his scenes are filled with liveliness. Also included are some of the collaboration pieces he has created with school children.

This is a nice collection of work. The book's a 208-page paperback.

Colors of Asia: Painting by Francesco Lietti is available at Amazon (US | CA | UK | DE | FR | IT | ES | AU | JP | CN) and Book Depository

(book flip) Colors of Asia: Painting by Francesco Lietti - YouTube

Visit Amazon to check out more reviews.

If you buy the links, I get a little commission that helps me get more books to feature.

Here are direct links to the book:
Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.de | Amazon.fr | Amazon.it | Amazon.es | Amazon.com.au | Amazon.co.jp | Amazon.cn | Bookdepository.com

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