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Paint Play: 21 Easy Watercolour Techniques to Explore {book review}

front cover of Paint Play: 21 Easy Watercolour Techniques to Explore

A while ago now I bought myself a cheap pad of watercolour paper and paint set from Flying Tiger. I’ve wanted to experiment with watercolour for a while, but there never seems to be enough time to do so. Fortunately for me, Michael O’Mara Books gifted me a copy of a new book they are brining out next month, Paint Play: 21 Easy Watercolour Techniques to Explore. Through a series of 21 simple, achievable activities, artist Katie Rose Johnston demonstrates different ways of mixing colours, experiments with textures using salt and cling film, makes spatter art, animal print patterns and much more.

watercolour equipment

Paint Play: 21 Easy Watercolour Techniques to Explore

Despite having all my equipment ready, I sat down and read the book from cover to cover. Focusing on the process rather than the result, Paint Play is the perfect inspiration for anyone who wants to discover techniques to use in their own paintings. The style is readable and approachable and definitely made me feel like I could pick up a paint brush and just start.

I decided to try the watercolour woodland scene and got to work with my little paint set. I soon realised that I would need to invest in am more sophisticated set with more colours! However this didn’t stop me trying some of the techniques I had read about.

experimenting with watercolour



For some reason I find it really hard to start something new. This book gave me confidence though and I enjoyed experimenting with the watercolours. I was pretty amazed at what I managed to achieve in such a short space of time, so can’t wait to try some of the other activities in the book over the next few weeks.

experimenting with watercolour

My children want to try too, so I can see us having a watercolour painting session soon. I like the fact you don’t need much equipment but there are so many different ways of using the watercolours to get different effects. It’s a really lovely book and a great introduction to the art of watercolours.

The author, Katie Rose Johnston, is a multi-disciplinary illustrator based in London. She has been painting with watercolour for as long as she can remember, using bold shapes, quick marks and colourful layers to push the boundaries of its pretty reputation. She has exhibited work in galleries including The V&A, The Royal Academy and Somerset House. Katie has an MA in Visual Communication from the Royal College of Art and alongside her commercial projects, she teaches workshops that explore paint, pattern and place. Katie is also a member of illustration collective Day Job Studio.

Paint Play: 21 Easy Watercolour Techniques to Explore by Katie Rose Johnston, is published next month on the 22nd August, priced £12.99.


  • Reply
    Erica Hughes
    July 29, 2019 at 5:05 pm

    This is the sort of book I need to start me off on some art. I’d love to see if I have any talent.

  • Reply
    Rhian westbury
    July 29, 2019 at 6:24 pm

    I’ve never been too great at art but this looks like a great book to start off with x

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