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Urban Watercolor Sketching: A Guide to Drawing, Painting, and Storytelling in Color
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Urban Watercolor Sketching: A Guide to Drawing, Painting, and Storytelling in Color

4.24  ·  Rating details ·  886 ratings  ·  102 reviews
A guide that shows painters, drawers, doodlers, and urban sketchers how to bring their drawings to life with colorful, bold, yet accessible painting methods.


Bring new energy to your sketches of urban scenes with this fresh and simple approach to watercolor painting. Whether you’re an amateur artist, drawer, doodler, or sketcher, watercolor is a versatile ske
Paperback, 155 pages
Published March 25th 2014 by Watson-Guptill (first published January 1st 2014)
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Average rating 4.24  · 
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 ·  886 ratings  ·  102 reviews

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Emma Sea
Apr 02, 2016 rated it did not like it
Shelves: i-own-it, paperback, art
This is an awesome 5-star book if you want something on painting with watercolors.

Sadly, I focused on the "urban sketching" and "storytelling" parts of the title, and didn't check out any reviews before I ordered it.

There's a shit-ton of content about color harmonies as well as great info on paper, brushes, pigments, glazes, washes, using salt, removing color etc etc. Yeah, I didn't want any of that.

Specifically, I wanted ideas and inspiration for approaching ink sketching in urban environment
Jun 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: craft
Here's one of those books that cries out for a bookstore, that pleads to be put on a physical shelf where a hand can reach to pull it down, knock it open and skim. It's going to have enough trouble calling out to the muse, what with that cover and that title. A cyber-depiction is simply going to elicit a scroll. The only chance it has to find its way to a home will be the ability to turn those pages and sieve the content for gold. And there is gold within, a fine vein ready to tap, despite the p ...more
Apr 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars. Good overview of a wide range of watercolor techniques, emphasizing a more on-the-go and dynamic style of watercolor painting than most other introductory books.
Aug 16, 2014 rated it liked it
The word "urban" in the title made me assume that this book was about sketching and painting urban settings etc. but it's not really. It's a book about the medium and techniques and how to's that I found interesting. With a more modern spin than other books out there, the author uses his own work to illustrate his points. I didn't give it more stars though because I found it uneven some times. Some parts are great and some parts are meh. But I do recommend it to those like me who are just learni ...more
Douglas Gorney
Jan 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Brilliant. Fun. Inspiring. In your face. Refreshing. Running out of superlatives for Scheinberger's brilliant book, which lit a fire under me to dust off my watercolors for the first time since art school 30 years ago, and get out there! If you thought of watercolor as the musty, wispy pastime of daffodil lovers and seaside pensioners, think again. Scheinberger kicks the medium in the ass with a punky, out-of the-box aesthetic, and shows that watercolor is the perfect medium for sooty factories ...more
Aug 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I am in love with this book. I never intended to even read it…I was going to use the index and pick and choose certain elements, and browse the pretty pictures. It is so lovely I read it cover to cover. And I want to do it again.

Open this book anywhere and the two facing pages display a perfect marriage of text and image that illustrate watercolor concepts. From watercolor pencils, to pigments, to individual colors, and brushes, Scheinberger compliments his knowledge with talent.

In the interest
Anne Lyndon
Oct 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The most insightful art book I have ever read. It’s full of practical information, too.
Mar 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very enjoyable

Lots of great tips. Was like having a conversation with a friend. Feel more confident now to make art and loosen up
Dec 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is exactly what I wanted it to be. Not too dense or overwhelming, full of great off the cuff tips and advice, and wonderful to look at.
Jul 21, 2014 rated it liked it
I'm always on the lookout for inspiration to help me sketch. Confession: I do not sketch but all artists need to sketch. I know this and yet I still don't do it. *hangs head in shame* Since my primary medium is watercolor I was happy to review this book.

The book is wonderful for the beginner. It has some great information including some history of watercolor presented in a way that isn't boring. Plus all the illustrations throughout the book keep the book feeling light and fun. I even learned so
Dec 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: art-techniques
This is the first book I would recommend to anyone who wants to get started in drawing, painting, sketching, watercolor etc. Goes way beyond just urban sketching with a thorough description of tools and techniques. A great reference book, as well as an inspiration to just go out and do it!
Mar 27, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: draw
I have basic knowledge of color theory and various watercolor painting techniques, but I've never sketched with watercolor, so I was a tad disappointed that this book focused so much on absolute basics, going as far as spending pages on the history and manufacturing details of colors. On the one hand it seemed like the intended audience was complete watercolor newbies, on the other there were gaps that I was expecting to hear about as a newcomer to urban sketching.
As an example, I hoped to lear
Stacia Сhesnokova
The book is pretty and very nice to hold and read with colorful illustrations and great bounding yet I felt the contents of the book is more suitable for beginners. There’s mostly info on color theory, on watercolor techniques and other useful data for a person who only gets familiar with watercolor. I’d say the info is quite basic. The reading was quite enjoyable but I finished the book in about 2,5 hours and don’t really see a point to get back to it in the future - there’s not many references ...more
Chris Wilson
May 28, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent inspiration

This is not a how to paint book in the usual sense of having pictures to copy and exercises to do, but I'm never convinced those books are that helpful anyway after a certain point. This book is more a collection of techniques and ideas, many of which have illustrations, but not step-by-step guides.
My main issue with it is that I'm not sure where it wants to be, it covers a lot of basic stuff about how watercolours are made and where pigments come from that makes it seem qu
Jul 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Equal parts theory, history, technique/tips, advice, encouragement, and delightful, often humorous, illustrations. Felix Scheinberger has an inimitable and sophisticated style yet he also has the soul of a teacher, and manages to appeal to the beginner probably as much as an advanced painter. There is nothing traditional about his approach to watercolor, so if you're looking for pastel landscapes and pretty flowers you'll be disappointed. He uses watercolor to add color to his drawings, and enco ...more
May 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I am a beginner at watercolour and found this book really interesting, and gave me different perspectives to watercolour painting and practical ones too, that are different from the standard “how to/step by step” books.. Gave me confidence as well as inspiration. Love the drawings in the book, gave me a new perspective on watercolour styles. And did I mention, easy to read and interesting to read. There are some books that read like school textbooks and whilst good in content sometimes require a ...more
Pratyush Raman
Jun 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
It's an interesting book. I wouldn't advise it to those looking for step by step instructions on specific works, but to those who are want certain nudges when it comes to watercolor. It contains a wealth of information on materials, technique and philosophy of the medium. At the same time, it contains some history, that is important to cement the importance of watercolor. There's nothing here that YouTube doesn't provide, but having everything in one place is a good idea, specially for quick ref ...more
Lisa Miller
Jul 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I loved this quirky informative book. I can’t honestly say I’ve read many books of this type cover to cover, but I couldn’t put this one down. It’s not really a how-to book on watercolor, but rather provides a lot of interesting background and information on the supplies and on the mindset of painting.
Feb 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An Enjoyable Read and Informative.

Anyone that uses watercolour will enjoy reading this. It is informative and Felix encourages you to work with a sense of freedom. A world apart from the usual ‘how to’ books that waste many chapters on different kinds of paint and umpteen colour wheels.
Dee Renee  Chesnut
I used the information about making my own travel palette with pans filled with paints from the tubes that previous teachers recommended.
Now that I read all the way through once, I am storing it for reference as I do with all the art books I read for I find that my experience has to develop through practice until I have a "light bulb" moment when I understand and can say, so that is what he meant.
Alexander Fontana
Mar 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reference, art
Once I got over the casual ink detail of the art work, I found this book to be highly informative on Water coloring for the beginner/hobbyist.

Quick easy read with great tips and factoids on every page.
Aug 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very Inspiring!!

Loved the book and the illustrations. It excites you and inspires you to draw. Though not really about urban sketching but one of the best book about sketching in general.
Jean Marrapodi
Aug 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Practical and Helpful

There are many tomes about painting with lovely illustrations that are not helpful. Felix Scheinberger has written a guide that comes in bite sized nuggets chock full of practical advice.
William R
Sep 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Humor plus good information

fun book with both humor and lots of good info for beginner and intermediate level painters. Amazing how some serious books are no help to a painter. This book I give a two thumbs up.
sandra glenn
Dec 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I like the book. I thought it would have more pictures.

It's a little technical. I like the pictures. I needed more I didn't want to sit and read.
I wanted to set up and paint with the book
Michael Schoenhofer
Great practical instruction on watercolor painting

I loved the practical guidance on color, technique, and the various elements that make up watercolor painting. It has given me new inspiration to keep working with watercolors.
Diane Henry
Aug 25, 2020 rated it it was ok
Weirdly breezy overview on basic watercolor techniques and color theory combined with a little bit of more advanced stuff. Not actually a lot about urban sketching. If you’re brand-new to watercolor, there’s some useful tips in there.
Nov 09, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: art
Quick flip through looking more at the tips and notes instead of reading the paragraphs. I was looking for useful tips on how to start watercolor

Jan 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: art-and-drawing
There is charm on every page of the book, which comes from the author's deep knowledge of color, paint, and whimsical sketches. A fun read.
Jul 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Loved the illustrations and the historical anecdotes.
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