Make Art Where You Are (Guided Sketchbook): A Travel Sketchbook And Guide by Courtney Cerruti (book review).

Abrams do a wide selection of artbooks in their imprints and as I tend to encourage you folk to develop an interest in art so do ask for the odd book that might encourage you that way. Courtney Cerruti’s book, ‘Make Art Where You Are (Guided Sketchbook): A Travel Sketchbook And Guide’ gives guidance to what to carry if you choose to paint outside and on the hoof.

You will need a small selection of pencils, pens and watercolours. There’s even an art sketchbook for you to practice on. This isn’t flimsy paper but regular thick paper/thin card in a smooth tooth so shouldn’t buckle when painted on. If you do get hooked and fill the book, go for something similar to replace it with.

Much of the emphasis is on water colour. Although it’s not said, don’t pull student paints just because it’s cheaper because the colours are less pure and don’t necessarily blend well and impurities give dirty colours. Even so, I still think she should have also explored the use of acrylics, mostly because they stay put when dry and can be watered down to watercolour consistency and her instructions still work. For the novice painter, I’ve never felt starting off in watercolour as being the easiest route to learn. Interestingly, she shows by example how to build up shapes in watercolour before adding the finer detail, providing you don’t use too much water.

There certainly are enough to get you through the basics here and get a grip on texture and a level of impressionism so people can see what you are painting without being over-elaborate. In that respect, the book is more like a primer. With both books in a hardback folder with a band to keep them in, it’s big enough to slip inside a medium pocket, although you will need something bigger for your art equipment.

In the lockdown we are all experiencing with the coronavirus, it might be the best time you have to learn to paint and this small book will get you over some of initial bumps.

GF Willmetts

March 2020

(pub: Abrams Noterie. 64 page illustrated book with sketchbook. Price: £16.99 (UK), $19.99 (US), $24.99 (CAN). ISBN: 978-1-4197-4143-2)

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