The 14 Best Watercolor Painting Books

7 min read

Watercolor painting is an incredibly popular form of art, and with so many books out there it can be difficult to know which ones are worth investing in. This article looks at the best watercolor painting books available today, providing reviews for each one and offering advice on what makes them stand out from the rest. From beginner guides like The Beginner’s Guide to Watercolor to more advanced reads such as Just Add Watercolor Happy Thoughts or Wilderness Watercolors Landscapes, readers will find invaluable guidance on how to create beautiful masterpieces using this medium.

  1. The Beginner’s Guide to Watercolor

    The Beginner's Guide to Watercolor
    Jovy Merryl
    Published in 2021

    The Beginner’s Guide to Watercolor by Jovy Merryl is an incredibly comprehensive guide that takes readers from watercolor beginner to painting pro. The book provides easy-to-follow tutorials and projects, with the foundational knowledge needed for success as a water colorist. From understanding colour harmony to mastering basic brushstrokes, this collection of stunning projects offers helpful tips and tricks throughout. With effortless practice exercises and beautiful paintings such as Atmospheric Landscape or Sun Glitter, anyone can find their artistic style and begin their journey in watercolor artistry. This book will give you all the confidence you need to create your own masterpieces!

  2. Wilderness Watercolor Landscapes: 30 Eye-Catching Scenes Anyone Can Master

    Wilderness Watercolor Landscapes: 30 Eye-Catching Scenes Anyone Can Master
    Kolbie Blume
    Published in 2020

    Kolbie Blume’s ‘Wilderness Watercolor Landscapes’ is a comprehensive guide for both beginning and experienced painters alike. The book provides 30 eye-catching projects, full of step-by-step instructions and detailed tutorials on how to create stunning landscapes using watercolor techniques. Each chapter builds upon the previous one, enabling readers to progress their skills as they work through the scenes – from Desert Sunsets Silhouettes all the way up to Glassy Milky Way night skies. Kolbie has also included helpful tips and tricks throughout her book, allowing artists at any level an opportunity to learn something new while having fun doing it! With its beautiful artwork and easy-to follow guidance, this beginner’s guide will be sure inspire creativity in anyone who picks it up.

  3. Just Add Watercolor Happy Thoughts

    Just Add Watercolor Happy Thoughts
    Robin Pickens
    Published in 2018

    Just Add Watercolor: Happy Thoughts, written by talented artist Robin Pickens, is an ideal portfolio book for absolute beginners. It provides eight step-by-step projects as learn-while-you paint practice exercises; each one teaching basic techniques such as opacity, blending and shading. The perforated pages are extra thick watercolor paper which allows readers to work directly in the book without having to transfer the images onto another sheet of paper. Additionally it offers light gray line illustrations that provide guidance but still allow creative expression when painting designs with uplifting messages and quotations. This skill building guide also includes advice on materials and tips on use of color, brush strokes and more – making it a perfect introduction into learning how to create beautiful watercolors!

  4. Watercolor Success in Four Steps

    Watercolor Success in Four Steps
    Marina Bakasova
    Published in 2020

    Watercolor Success in Four Steps is the perfect beginner’s guide for those wanting to explore and understand watercolour painting. With just four simple steps, no experience required – this book provides you with 150 projects that vary from fruits and vegetables to animals, household items and more. Each project offers a sample selection of palette colours alongside visual instructions so even the complete novice can get started creating beautiful works of art right away! Inside this ultimate starter’s guide, readers will find helpful advice on tools and materials as well as tried-and-true techniques which make it easier than ever before to create amazing pieces. From pumpkins and penguins to croissants, candles, dragon fruit or taxis – there’s something here for everyone! This delightful resource makes an ideal gift or activity purchase; it encourages creativity while teaching basic skills needed when experimenting with watercolour paints.

  5. The Complete Watercolorist’s Essential Notebook

    The Complete Watercolorist's Essential Notebook
    Gordon MacKenzie
    Published in 2010

    The Complete Watercolorist’s Essential Notebook, written by Gordon MacKenzie, is an all-encompassing 10th anniversary collection for any aspiring watercolor artist. Combining two of the most loved North Light guides on painting with watercolors, this book contains tips, techniques and helpful lessons to improve creative expression in artwork. With its high quality paper construction and abundance of valuable information packed into a single volume – from paint pigments to masking processes – it proves itself as an essential reference guide for both beginners and experienced painters alike. The content provides useful exercises designed to enhance skill development while also covering topics such as brush types and sizes along with color theory basics. All in all this book offers readers everything they need to understand the fundamentals of painting with watercolors plus much more!

  6. Watercolor with Me in the Ocean

    Watercolor with Me in the Ocean
    Dana Fox
    Published in 2019

    Dana Fox’s Watercolor with Me in the Ocean is a great beginner-friendly guide to watercoloring. It provides fifty no-sketch projects that bring marine life such as octopuses and otters to life on high-quality art paper, making it easy for people of all skill levels to create something beautiful. With useful step by step instructions and inspiration from Dana’s whimsical art style, you can learn how to master three major watercolor techniques: wet-on-wet, wet-on dry and ink & wash. Even if you think you don’t have what it takes to paint well, this book will show otherwise! Featuring vibrant colors on 140lb thickness art paper makes this an awesome book for both experienced painters seeking fun or newbies wanting accomplishment. This must be added into any artist library!

  7. The Art of Heikala: Works and thoughts

    The Art of Heikala: Works and thoughts
    Heikala, 3dtotal Publishing
    Published in 2018

    The Art of Heikala: Works and Thoughts is the first major publication from Finnish illustrator Heikala. This visually appealing book not only includes her sketches, works in progress and beautifully presented paintings that we may be familiar with, it also has never-before-seen images from along his creative journey; comprehensive tutorials, thought processes and advice about watercolour painting; detailed product design guides; plus insight into how she built a successful career as an artist – making this hardback art book invaluable for fans, budding artists or experienced illustrators alike. Accompanying these practical resources are breathtakingly beautiful illustrations created by combining traditional watercolor painting and ink methods mixed with a captivating approach derived from Finnish and Japanese cultures. An ideal coffee table read that brings together both aesthetic pleasure and educational value!

  8. Watercolor Techniques for Artists and Illustrators

    Watercolor Techniques for Artists and Illustrators
    Published in 2020

    Watercolor Techniques for Artists and Illustrators is an essential guide to mastering the watercolour medium. Written by Grahame Booth, a celebrated painter and tutor with decades of experience, this comprehensive book provides advice on all aspects of painting in watercolours – from honing observational skills and choosing a subject matter to developing one’s own style. Alongside expert tips from professional artists and illustrators working across multiple genres are tutorials that offer tangible instructions as well as helpful reference photos. This invaluable resource will equip any aspiring artist or illustrator with the confidence they need to create beautiful works of art in watercolour.

  9. No-Fail Watercolor: The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Painting with Confidence

    No-Fail Watercolor: The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Painting with Confidence
    Published in 2021

    No-Fail Watercolor, the ultimate beginner’s guide to painting with confidence by Mako of makoccino, is a comprehensive and accessible resource for anyone looking to master watercolour. Through over 25 activities that are as lovely as they are straightforward, this book takes readers through the basics of colour harmony and mediums such as blending and sponging; each project providing an opportunity to practice new skills whilst creating stunning artworks. With tips on letting go of rigidity and advice from experienced artists in the back pages, No-Fail Watercolor can help you develop both your artistic ability and self-confidence. A must read for any budding artist!

  10. Watercolour: Techniques and Tutorials for the Complete Beginner

    Watercolour: Techniques and Tutorials for the Complete Beginner
    Paul Clark
    Published in 2017

    Paul Clark’s Watercolour: Techniques and Tutorials for the Complete Beginner is an invaluable guide to mastering the art of watercolor painting. With a comprehensive overview of necessary tools, materials and techniques; 10 step-by-step paintings; plus three special feature spreads on trees, skies and special effects – this book has it all! Clear instructions with helpful tips make it ideal even for intermediate painters. The quality paper used in its construction gives it a luxurious feel that just adds to the pleasure of reading such a well structured instructional manual. This publication provides easy access to Paul Clark’s expertise as one of today’s most popular YouTube artists – making learning fun with his friendly approachable style. For those looking to improve their technique or learn something new – this book will not disappoint!

  11. The Hobbit Sketchbook

    The Hobbit Sketchbook
    Alan Lee
    Published in 2020

    This beautifully illustrated book celebrates the art of Alan Lee, who was commissioned to produce a special edition for J.R.R Tolkien’s The Hobbit – his delicate pencil drawings and watercolor paintings defining the look of Peter Jackson’s film adaptations and earning him an Academy Award in the process. Inside this large-format hardback are more than 100 sketches and early conceptual pieces as well as new full-color paintings which unlock secrets about how Alan creates his own magic. Readers will gain insight into the imagination of this artist who so perfectly captured Middle Earth with words from both himself and JRR Tolkein included throughout. With detailed commentaries on what inspired various concepts, readers can appreciate just why this book is such a wonderful addition to any collection; whether you’re familiar with Tolkien or not it provides entertaining reading that rewards every view inside its pages without fail!

  12. Ink and Wash Florals

    Ink and Wash Florals
    Camilla Damsbo Brix
    Published in 2022

    Camilla Damsbo Brix’s book, Ink and Wash Florals: Your Ultimate Guide to Mastering Linework and Watercolor Through Elegant Flower Compositions is a must-have for any artist looking to expand their skills. With 17 radiant compositions that highlight the versatility of both mediums, from layering washes of color to capturing ideas in loose but evocative ink drawings, this book provides readers with easy-to-follow steps full of helpful techniques so they can create beautiful masterpieces. It has an engaging presentation making it accessible for everyone – even those who have never picked up a pen or paintbrush before! The tactile quality makes it incredibly satisfying when flipping through its pages; additionally, Camilla’s voice shines through her writing as if she were guiding you personally along each step. All together, this captivating guidebook will definitely help anyone make remarkable artworks out of magical flowers!

  13. Everyday Watercolor Flowers

    Everyday Watercolor Flowers
    Jenna Rainey
    Published in 2019

    Everyday Watercolor Flowers, a new book by artist Jenna Rainey, is an excellent guide for watercolour painters of all levels. This step-by-step manual provides instruction on how to paint botanicals – from lilies to daffodils – in a range of styles and techniques. It includes advice on the tools needed, colour palettes and tones, flower anatomy and sketching tips. With more than 25 flowers included throughout the pages, this book offers something for everyone; beginners can hone their skills whilst hobbyists gain fresh inspiration through modern methods. The stunning artwork detailed within will appeal to nature lovers looking to capture beauty with every brush stroke! Everyday Watercolor Flowers is essential reading for any aspiring watercolourist keen on taking artistic endeavours beyond imitations into creativity.

  14. Stunning Watercolor Seascapes

    Stunning Watercolor Seascapes
    Kolbie Blume
    Published in 2022

    Kolbie Blume’s ‘Stunning Watercolor Seascapes for the Beginner Painter’ offers an outstanding collection of paintings to help all skill levels master a range of brilliant waterscapes. With step-by-step instructions, helpful hints and tips provided throughout, this comprehensive book guides readers from budding beginner to pro painter through projects like Mountain of a Wave, Through the Fjord, Village by The Sea and Secret Falls. Kolbie’s systematic approach is perfect for anyone wanting to learn watercolour painting techniques with confidence; her practical guidance will have even the most inexperienced artist creating stunning seascape impressions in no time! This encouraging guide provides readers with an incredibly valuable resource that can be referred back to again and again. Highly recommended for those looking to explore their creative side or simply relax and create beautiful artwork at home.

Additional resources

For further information about watercolor painting, here are some useful resources:

  • offers tutorials, tips, and techniques for watercolor painting.
  • Doodlewash is a blog with tutorials and reviews of watercolor art supplies.
  • Artists Network offers offers up-to-date watercolor news and wonderful tutorials.

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