Urban Watercolor Sketching: A Guide to Drawing, Painting, and Storytelling in Color

Urban Watercolor Sketching: A Guide to Drawing, Painting, and Storytelling in Color

by Felix Scheinberger


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780770435219
Publisher: Potter/Ten Speed/Harmony/Rodale
Publication date: 03/25/2014
Pages: 160
Sales rank: 352,177
Product dimensions: 8.20(w) x 9.40(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

FELIX SCHEINBERGER is an illustrator, artist, and designer. He is the author and illustrator of two other books on watercolors and has illustrated more than fifty children’s books in the last decade. His work has appeared in magazines including Harvard Business Manager and Psychology Today. He lives in Berlin, Germany.

Read an Excerpt


When we think of watercolor, many of us immediately picture sentimental landscapes and paintings of ruins and picturesque scenes. Although eighteenth- and nineteenth-century English artists established watercolor as a sophisticated painting medium, it often yields strangely negative reactions from contemporary artists. An entire generation quickly relegates it to a hobbyist’s medium.

Yet watercolor is far more than an amateur’s medium, as it requires intense concentration and practice. Once it’s put on paper, mistakes are difficult to remedy, and only when it is applied with confidence does it have a truly successful effect. Watercolor involves a certain degree of uncertainty, but it also teaches us to see. 

Watercolor was the first technique to free the artist from the studio because it could easily be taken outdoors. It required no tubes, easels, canvases, or similar implements, only a box of paints and paper. Even today, watercolor is a tool that frees us from the studio, our laptops, and countless charging cables. 

Watercolor is, however, not just a technique; it is almost an attitude. Watercolor always does what it wants. In a way, it is willful and anarchical. Therefore, for me, the secret to using watercolor to create pic-tures lies in striking a balance between control and letting go. Pictures are often only “really good” when they surprise us—when they reveal what we sensed and felt, but could not have consciously expressed. If we sacrifice the right amount of control in the artistic process, watercolor’s inherent qualities begin to work to our advantage. 

This book has two goals: to teach you watercolor techniques and to tell you something about color.
However, it does not aim to explain, for example, how you can paint a certain sky in four steps. I seriously doubt whether readers learn more from such instruction books than they do by actually painting that sky. What if the sky should suddenly cloud over? Instead, this book wishes to show you the basic principles of watercolor paints, so you can flexibly apply them to whatever you want to achieve. 

I imagine it’s a little like learning chords on a guitar. For me, it seems important that you learn the finger-ings, but what song you play is up to you. 
And don’t worry, everything that we need to know about color can be learned with a simple box of paints.

Whether watercolor painting is sophisticated and legit-imate or not isn’t the point. Watercolor can go anywhere. It is an autonomous, free, and creative medium. It makes the world our studio.

Yours truly,
 Felix Scheinberger

Table of Contents

Watercolors—In or Out?
A Painting for the Emperor
Gum Arabic: Where the Watercolors Grow
Pigments: The Stuff That Dreams Are Made Of
Yellow and Orange: Of Camels and Crocuses
Red and Purple: Of Bugs and Snails
Blue: Of Lapis Lazuli, Indigo, and Woad
Green: Of Plants and Poison
Introducing Color to Sketches:
We’re Not in Kansas Anymore
Multiple Choice: To Design Is to Decide
From Dusk till Dawn: Shadows and Light
Black Is Back: Glazing with India Ink
Layer for Layer: The Glaze
Mixing Colors with Glazes
Fish Soup: Practicing the Glaze
The Wash: The Paint Does as It Pleases!
On the Run: Graded Wash Techniques
Once More, with Feeling!: Washes
It’s a Give and Take: Applying and Removing Paint 
Combining Techniques: A Little Bit of This and That 
Where Do Colors Come From?:  
The Simple Science
Arranging Colors
Opposites Attract: Color Contrasts
From South Park to Stoplights: Types of Color
True Color: The Effect of Light 
Every Color Tells a Story: Intensifying Your Sketches
It’s All Relative: The Effects of Colors
Color Harmonies: Simple and Complex
Analogous, Monochromatic, and Complementary Harmonies
Triadic and Tetradic Harmonies
Cool-Cool and Warm-Warm Harmonies
Collecting Colors
Designing Color Harmonies: Working with Color Code Strips
Getting Out of Your Color Comfort Zone  
The Blue Ridge Mountains: Color and Perspective
Less Is More
Me, Myself, and I: Finding Your Own Style
Style and Creativity
Throwing Down: Loosening Up Your Painting
Seek Not and You Shall Find: Imagination vs. Internet
Make It Matter
Watercolor Pencils
Buying Paints
Mixing Paints
Impossible Hues: Bright Colors
Pimping Watercolors: Making Colors Pop
Liquid Watercolors: Bright Now, Pale Later
Into the Wild: Brushes
Even More Brushes
The Permanent Wave: Stretching Paper 
The Contents of My Bag

Bad Weather: Painting Outdoors
The Other Viewpoint: Changing Perspective
Painting Water  
Air, Fog, Smoke
Smog and Atmosphere
What Is Beauty Anyway? 

Composition and Design
Smudges and Spots
Painting What’s Not There: Negative Space
White: A Special Case
Studies, Sketches, and Drafts  
Merging Colors: Working from One Color
Working with Colored Paper
Special Effects
Lettering and Writing
Layouts, Scribbles, and Storyboards
Watercolor Illustrations
How Much Is Your Picture Worth?
Everything Ends: When Is a Picture Finished?


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Urban Watercolor Sketching: A Guide to Drawing, Painting, and Storytelling in Color 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
bergamotbooks More than 1 year ago
This was such a fun book to peruse, and I am now a Scheinberger fan. He touches on a variety of subjects in this book, making it almost a crash-course in painting with watercolor. The Intro provides a comfortable start, describing the origins of watercolor and paint colors. The next section of the book, First Attempts, allows the reader to see some of Scheinberger's examples of glazes and washes in his own sketches. The illustrations used throughout the entire book are wonderful. Then he moves onto Excursion in Color Theory, which of course, introduces and gives examples of various color theories. The following section is Your Own Style, in which he shows the reader many examples of different ways of painting and how to fall into your own creative pattern. Basics/Tools explores the world of paints and brushes available for watercolor painting. Out & About introduces the reader to painting things outside the four walls, how to communicate perspective and how to paint water, fog, air, smoke and how to create an atmosphere. Finally Tips & Tricks is a collection of, well, tips and tricks Felix has collected over the years using different types of paper, paint techniques, special effects, and a lot more. I really enjoyed reviewing this book, because it is something I can personally use in my own artistic ventures. His particular style of sketching and painting is so inspiring and different to me. Most art books don't help much in the way of bettering your creativity or skills, but this one really is worth the 20 bucks if not for anything but the inspiration. Source: I received a copy of this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.
book4children More than 1 year ago
What a fun book! It's been a long time since I've painted anything, but this book got me excited about it again. The author gives a short history of the different colors, goes through some basic color theory, and discusses everything from design to technique. This book contains a little bit of everything. While most of the information is not much different than you would find in any other watercolor book, the author gives some valuable tips and new ideas. For me, the biggest positive was the unique way the artist uses his watercolors. Usually when you think of watercolor, you think of soft landscapes and floral paintings, but the author uses watercolor in ways I had never considered before. Felix Scheinberger makes watercolor less complicated, more accessible, and much more fun. I can't wait to get out my paints and get started! Recommended for artists of all skill levels. Source: I received a copy of this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review. Content: Clean. No nude images.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Review on Urban Watercolor Sketching by Felix Scheinberger A guild to Drawing, Painting and Storytelling in Color. Thank you to Blogging for Books and Co for this free book! You guys are amazing! Bring new energy to your Sketches of urban scenes with this fresh and simple approach to watercolor painting. Wheter you’re an amateur artist, drawer, doobdler, or sketcher, watercolor is a versatile sketching medium that’s perfect for people on the go-much like pen or pencil. Accomplisheddesigners and illustrator Felix Scheinberger offers a solid foundation in color theory and countless lessons on all aspects of watercolor sketch, including: -Fundamentals like wet-on-wet, glazes, and washes -Materials and supplies to bring on your travels -Little-known tips and tricks, like painting when water isn’t handy and seeking out inspiration Vibrant watercolor paintings grace each page, and light-hearted anecdotes (why do fish make great subjects to paint, you may be wondering…) make this a lively guide to the medium. With an open mind and sketchbook, you will be ready to capture the moments around you in luminous color with confidence, creativity, and ease-no matter what your skill level may be. This is a great instructional book! With such funny, amazingly good instructions. I love the beautiful colors and pictures. With suck feeling and emotions this is a great book for anyone who is interested in water-coloring.
A_Sloan More than 1 year ago
Modern watercolor sketching I was looking for more straight-sketching books (like The Technical Pen) when I came across this wonderful book by Felix Scheinberger. My mind has now been opened to an incredible new world of color theory and surprisingly to watercolor painting. This book of 156 pages is filled with playful drawings and splashes of vibrant colors that demonstrate a very modern and contemporary use of the 4,000 year old painting technique. Not did the images inspire me to embrace my drawing style more and explore color in a new way, but I found the text most fascinating as well. Scheinberger is a really intelligent artist who can communicate his thoughts concisely in light-hearted conversation. I highly encourage you to pick up this book, which is a superb English translation of Wasserfarbe fur Gestaller (2011).