About a months ago I was looking for some watercolour painting books for the kids. I wanted something that would build on our current theme of choosing a colour palette and trying to add dark and light but I also did not want something that was too advanced for them. I stumbled upon the Just Add Watercolour books but I must admit I read a review that was not great and had second thoughts. Luckily I ended up chatting to the books distributor about other educational books that they had and I mentioned these and he kindly offered to send us copies.
Right off let me say the negative review was about the fact that the 8 pictures included in the book are printed in a very light grey. But honestly after using the books I 100% disagree. The pictures need to be in the light grey. If the outlines where darker it would ruin the end result. So if anyone else reads that review please ignore it.
Okay so the two books are very much the same but different themes – the one is quotes (Just Add Watercolor Happy Thoughts: Easy Techniques and Beautiful Patterns for True Beginners) and the other is flowers (Just Add Watercolor Flowers: Easy Techniques and Beautiful Patterns for True Beginners). The author starts the book by introducing watercolour basics like paints and brushes (the book is not actually a children’s book it is a book written for beginner watercolour painters). Then in the middle there are 8 different pictures – in the grey outline and printed on thick watercolour paper – the pages are also perforated which makes tearing them out very easy.
Followed by coloured, detailed step by step instructions on how the author would paint these pictures – and she even mentions the names of the colours that she would use eg Scarlet Lake or Winsor Orange.
So how did we use these books ? Each kid choose a picture (pictures) they wanted to do and then we had a quick look at the step by step guide for that picture. In all cases my kids choose to do their own version but they did take hints from the detailed guide – like colour choices, shading etc.
Before the kids started their pictures we spoke more about the colour palette – they choose 4 or 5 colours to use (when I say 4 of 5 colours I mean they would choose green, orange, red and blue I am not including the dark versions of the colours).
The very first picture we started using our watercolour paints but after just doing a few leaves my daughter immediately decided to switch to her watercolour pencils. She found the pictures are quite detailed and have lots of small areas and she has more control with her pencils.
The watercolour pencils that we use are the STABILO Aquacolor Watercolour Pencil – Assorted Colours (Pack of 36). My kids love these.
They tend to colour in an area and then use their paint brushes to add some water and smuch (that is the word they use) the colour to together. When the kids are using the watercolour pencils they don’t need to get the colouring perfect because as soon as you add the water it blends it all together.
Another nice advantage with these watercolour pencils is after they have added the water both of mine then use their pencils to go back and add extra depth and definition to the shapes – it works really well.
My younger one (who is 7) did comment that he found the lettering a bit difficult and he prefered the flowers (he actually asked if I could find him an animal version of this book – I am looking for something suitable for him).
My kids were very happy with the books and both agreed with me that the grey outline is a necessity as it does not ruin their end pictures.
And I must admit that having the pictures already printed out on watercolour paper, a coloured detailed step by step plan on how you could complete the pictures does make for an easy watercolour lesson for me (I did not have to prep anything).
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