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Watercolour Mixing Techniques for Botanical Artists by Jackie Isard

Review by Annie Morris

Jackie Isard is one of the Founding members of ABA and an RHS Gold Medal winner 2022 . She is a Botanical and Nature illustrator and a well respected tutor.

Botanical artist, Botanist, Tutor and ABA member Annie Morris is part of our Education Team As an experienced artist it is interesting to read Annie's perspective on Jackie's book covering colour mixing.


© Jackie Isard - Cover Jacket


For anyone painting in watercolour this is a fascinating book, whether you are illustrating your garden plants for your own pleasure or aiming for gold medals.

Central to the book are the two themes of warm and cool pigments and painting with the primary colours.

© Jackie Isard - Colour Wheel

The chapter on ‘understanding colour and pigments’ gives us a comprehensive guide to colour and pigments.

Although interesting , I found the exploration of colours almost too detailed and for me, the most interesting part comes when Jackie shares her secrets.

She generously gives us her palette of colours and demonstrates the properties of these colours and what mixes she can achieve using them.

Although Jackie acknowledges that not all artists build up their illustrations using layers of paint there are many who will be very interested in following her ‘step by step’ guides towards the end of the book where with her characteristic generosity she shows us exactly how she builds up the painting of Eryngium bracts to achieve breathtaking realism, awe inspiring!

I was so convinced by her comprehensive explanations of what mixes her primary colours can make that I immediately discarded all ‘unnecessary’ colours in my paint box. This book has definitely influenced the way I use my watercolours.

Annie Morris - June 2022

Watercolour Mixing Techniques for Botanical Artists By Jackie Isard

The Crowood Press Ltd ISBN: 9781785008283


Jackie Isard explains her reasons for writing this book.

'A few years ago I was looking for a good book to explain how colour mixing works for botanical artwork. My graphic design degree had stood me in good stead until that point. At the time I was testing different brands and changing my palette of pigments to primaries and transparent pigments. I found them easier to work with. I also taught colour mixing and students praised the course exercises I had designed and said they had learned a great deal from doing them. They were astounded at what they can achieve with just primary warm/cool pigments and the difference it made to a painting. I felt there was a need for a book that explained colour as a whole subject. My book was planned out in sections in order to explain how to understand the process of colour mixing and its application. I had to analyse what I did and explain this in a clear understandable way. This way I hoped more would be learned and all would fall into place when practised!'

Jackie Isard 2022

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