Thursday, November 7

Read and Reviewed: How To Work With Colors & Transitions with Acrylics from AK Interactive

Clayton has been doing a little more figure painting as of late - so this new book from AK Interactive called "How To Work With Colors & Transitions With Acrylics" seemed like a great book to advance his skills, but would it be everything he needed to learn more? See what he thought in his review after he read the book. 

Read and Reviewed: How To Work With Colors & Transitions With Acrylics
Author: Carlos Vidal Vaz
Published by: AK Interactive 
Available in English or Spanish
Softcover A4 Format
Cat No# AK293
88 Pages 
Price: 26€
Product Link on the AK Interactive Website

The next book to find its way across my bench is the recently released publication from AK Interactive, ‘How to Work with colours and transitions with acrylics’. I guess given the title there can be no mistaking as to what the book is about…the mysterious world of colour and how to achieve your vision through acrylic paint. 

Now before we go too much further you may be surprised to know that around 1 in 12 men suffer from some form of colour blindness, women, however, are considerably less affected by the condition, around 1 in 20. Colour blindness doesn’t mean you don’t see colour (apart for a small number of people that see the world in black and white), but for most, it means you have trouble distinguishing shades of red and green. Most people wouldn’t even know they have the condition until they were tested and go about their lives unaware. So, for a lot of us, colour and how colour works can be somewhat of a minefield. So how do I know so much about colour blindness?  Because I am colour blind. I do see colour, but I often ask my wife for help in identifying a colour. It’s a weird thing because once she helps me ‘see’ it, it becomes a little clearer and easier for me to present it on a painted model. 

I figured anything thing that is going to help me get a handle on the World of colour would be a good thing, so I jumped at the chance to get my hands on this book. 

The book measures 210mm x 297mm (or A4 if you like) and is finished in a mid-weight card cover with a high gloss celloglaze. There are 212pages in all. The book has been written by Carlos Vidal Vaz.
The book is broken into 10 chapters with a Gallery section included to close the book off. 
Chapter 1 is an in-depth look into the fundamentals of colour and the theory behind it. Many of you will remember sitting through High School art class running through the Primary, Secondary and Tertiary Colours and the colour wheel. This is a welcome refresher and a solid base to start the colour journey from. 
Still deeper into Chapter 1, we learn about saturation and harmony or colours. Light, depth, tone nuance and saturation… nothing is missed in the theory of colour. It is a lot deeper than most people would be prepared to delve, however it is thorough, concise and clear enough to be understandable. 
Chapter 2 looks and some of the commercially available acrylic paint sets (with one notable omission). It’s a reasonable overview of some of the more popular sets and a reasonable introduction to the market. 
Although not shown, Chapter 2 also discusses the Wet Palette and how that process works. If I could give anyone reading this article one piece of advice (assuming, of course, you were wanting to get into figure painting with acrylic paints), it would be to learn and practice your painting using a wet palette. If you persist and practice, I personally guarantee you your painting will improve out of sight.  

Chapter 3 is really an introduction to the chapters that follow. It suggests that the goal of the book is to help people move away from the typical thinking of ‘base colour, light and shadow and move to a more open interpretation of how colour works and to help the artist create more interesting results using contrasts and variations.  
Chapter 4. Blue
From here the tempo of the book is set. Each colour is studied in-depth, and how to best lighten, darken and blend the colour is investigated.  The chapter touches on most of the blue spectrum from light to dark and everything in-between
Practical examples are then presented in a step by step presentation to put some of the theories in action.  There are multiple subject matter that should satisfy most readers. 
The structure and layout of each of the chapters follow the same formula. Chapter 5 investigates the colour red and all of the spectrum around it. Again, there are practical examples of the theories in action.
Some full-page images for inspiration using some of the theories in the ‘Red’ chapter. Pretty impressive work!
Now onto the Yellow spectrum. Consistent structure and layout. The consistency through the book does get a little repetitive, but in saying they it ensures the information is easily accessed and understood. It’s not a criticism, just an observation. 
The practical examples through the book are really varied and give the reader a good overall understanding of painting a vast array of subjects. Here you see a small landscaped based being painted using tones of yellow. 
Browns. What more can I say? Well…I should probably give brown a little more attention given that these tones can make or break a good flesh paint job. So important for any figure painter.
Some excellent examples again that could be used in just about any diorama or vignette setting. 
Who says white is white? Easily one of the hardest colours to paint and shade successfully, Chapter 8 deals with white and all the shades in the white spectrum. 
This time one of the ‘how to’ guides are painting up a little X-Wing. 
Chapter 9 - and we have made our way to the Greens, and to wrap up the collection of colour we finish on Black in Chapter 10. 
 At the risk of sounding repetitive, the reader is given the same structure and presentation as we have seen right through the book. 
The final pages of the book are a gallery with all sorts of subjects presented displaying a number of different styles. All clearly use the techniques and ideas that have been presented in the preceding pages. Some of the paint work is stunning and offer some real inspiration for those looking to improve their figure painting skills. 
There is a plethora of information in this book, so much so that it may delve too deep for some. The theory and investigation into the content is quite exceptional and has obviously taken a considerable amount of time and effort to compile. It is one of those books that is impossible to take in all in the one sitting. I can see myself revisiting this book over and over and taking smaller pieces of the puzzle away and looking to improve my painting bit by bit. Being a colour-blind man, some of the ideas on how to lighted and darkened colour without losing its’ tone is invaluable and a really helpful tool.  

The ‘how-to guides’ throughout the book offer relief from the theory for those who need it and the gallery pictures offer great inspiration for your next project. 

This book is a little different to most publications I see these days. It is a technical reference book and is a really handy tool for anyone looking to understand colour and looking to improve their painting 

Clayton Ockerby 

This book is now for sale on the AK Interactive website... Thanks to them for sending this book out to Clayton to read and review...
See more of Clayton's work on his excellent website Workbench Hobbies.