Posts Tagged ‘Painting flowers in watercolour’

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In today’s post I will be reviewing; Billy Showell’s book; A – Z of Flower Portraits.

A - Z of Flower Portraits Book by Billy Showell

A – Z of Flower Portraits Book by Billy Showell

  • Title: A-Z of Watercolour Flower Portraits
  • Author: Billy Showell
  • Publisher: Search Press
  • ISBN: 978-1-84448-452-2
  • Price: £17.99 (at time of writing)

My Reason for Buying

I wanted to improve my watercolour techniques, and especially colour mixing and blending. Since sketching trips have been difficult due to health issues, I decided the garden was full of flowers and would provide me with more opportunities to sketch. I tell you this as often a review is based on how well the book lived up to the expectations of its reader, for their purpose 😉


  • Introduction
  • Composition
  • Materials and equipment
  • Techniques
  • The Flowers



  • Plenty of techniques show step by step and photo descriptions at the start of the book
  • Finished paintings of the subjects are shown on the individual glower section
  • Colour mixes are shown next to the flowers and the colours used for the mixes are listed too
  • Smaller pictures of sections of the flower at different stages are shown, which helps you see how the layers progress
  • Process of the painting is described, but shortened as the description of the techniques them selves is just at the beginning.


  • Haven’t got any

Value for Money

Excellent, I’ve learnt a lot from this book. It’s an excellent colour reference for new flower painters.

Would I buy it Again?

Totally. I have the hard back version and recommend you get that if you can, as this is such a useful reference book. The hard back will stay open next to you more easily than a paper back.

Summing up

Although the only ‘photographs’ are in the techniques section at the start, each flower is shown completed and very clever partially completed pictures are also shown around the page too. I like to see how the layers build up and is often several layers in, before your flower will look like Billies. There is a description of the painting process next to each flower.

This is a beautiful book, a great reference guide for techniques and colour mixes but if you are just starting out and struggle to complete a painting before you subjects wilt, then I’m also enjoying learning to paint different flower/leaf and petal shapes by copying small sections of the images in the book.

Billy is an amazing artist and an excellent teacher too. There is also a DVD available separately that shows the complete process for three flowers; a narcissi, a hellebore and an anemone. This is available from the SAA (See link on my Art tab at the top of the blog). If you have never tried this style of painting before, get the DVD as well as it helps seeing the techniques in action and reinforces the process shown in the book.

A beautiful book and extremely helpful and informative. Highly recommended for anyone interested in paining flowers in watercolour.


Do visit the authors website, where you can not only purchase the book and DVD but also find out about where she teaches.

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon

Billie 🙂


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