REVIEW: A Field Guide to Color

When it comes to art, colour plays a big role. However, colour isn’t easy to pick up and understand immediately without the guidance of someone more knowledgable. Lisa Solomon sheds some light on how to use water-based medium and encourages the readers to take it easy, have fun and explore colour.

cover159062-mediumA Field Guide to Colour
by Lisa Solomon

purchase it here


Color is one of the most profound ways we have to express our person­alities. In this creative workbook, you’ll discover fresh ways to connect with color in your art and life. Using watercolors, gouache, or any other water-based medium, explore color theory while playing with paint through a balanced blend of color experiments and loose color meditations. Make a personal color wheel while exploring tints and shades. Experiment with color mixing while you make as many of one color as you can. Through playful prompts and artistic examples—with lots of room for painting—this inspiring workbook will change the way you relate to color.


4.5 stars
*An e-copy was given to me through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I learnt more through about colours through this book than I had in my last two semesters learning art in college (just to clarify, I’m not in a school for art but we do learn a little about it, graphite drawing mostly but a little of painting). A lot of this I wish I knew back when I was doing my assignments since it would’ve helped me to understand water-based colours better. I remember for one activity, we had to paint an avocado from reference and it was difficult to match the colours. I didn’t know which colours to mix together hence I mixed a whole bunch of colours together just to find out it wasn’t what I wanted at all and ended up wasting it.

It begins with Solomon reminding that this is just to experiment around with colour. Hence, there were many pages that were left blank for us to test out our paints. She began explaining the different types of paint, the materials needed for the exercises and gave helpful tips all around.

The book was able to clarify what hues, tints and shades are (which I can now confidently say I know) and had exercises where we learn about colour schemes, one of my weak points. Solomon also encouraged the readers to have fun and experiment through the many different exercises like making your own black, paint chart box and mixing your favourite and least favourite colours together to see what colour it makes.

I really liked the exercises since it encourages to explore the paints ourselves and giving us ideas to do so. I would’ve never thought to make as many shades or tints or variations of colour and it would definitely help me understand colour mixing more.

If you are someone who is interested in painting, do pick this up as it is easy for a beginner to understand and a beginner might even be able to understand and use paint easier after reading this. I know I would’ve been making fewer mistakes if I had a book like this to guide me when I first started.

Since I am reviewing a skill-based book, of course I had to try it out!

As for me, since I had an e-copy, my dad ordered some mix-media papers for me online a while ago and I put off testing it. I also bought a set of gouache paint when it was on sale months ago and only used some colours once so I thought this would’ve been a good time to test what I’ve learnt.

A flat lay of my tools. I ended up using the brush in the middle and changing my paints from watercolour (above) to gouache (in the next picture).
I bought another palette for my gouache that was slightly different from my watercolour so I wouldn’t mix it up. 

I ended up switching to gouache since I most of my watercolour paints have been mixed. My tube of paint had hardened and I need to find a solution another day. I didn’t want to do gouache since I put off cleaning the new palette to prep for the paints but this definitely was a good chance for me to learn my paints better.

As for the exercises, I chose to do a colour wheel since I learnt a few tips from Solomon and wanted to try it out. I also wanted to make my own black but I already liked the black provided since it was dark enough and had a consistency that was easy to paint. I can’t say the same for the purple (Mauve) though since it had an almost gel-like consistency and the colour wasn’t my thing. So in the end, I mixed a whole bunch of colours and of course, another tip, writing down what paints I used and the ratio.

I’ll definitely be trying out more exercises when I have the time!


6 thoughts on “REVIEW: A Field Guide to Color

  1. This was a very in-depth review! Been trying out watercolours lately and colors is definitely one thing I have yet to figure out! This book sounds like it’ll be a great help with illustration + art!! ❤️❤️❤️

    Liked by 1 person

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