Painting Beautiful Watercolors from Photographs

By | 20 December 08

Painting Beautiful Watercolors from Photographs, by by Jan Kunz

This is a wonderful book if you are interested in learning about using photographs as reference material. The author gives explicit information on photographing flowers, people, animals and still life. She includes tips on lighting and painting the illusion of light.

mw-watercolors-photosShe also includes solid information on making enlargements, as well as simplifying, cropping and combining photos to get the best composition.

There are many excellent photographs that show the early, middle and end steps of a painting, including color suggestion. Her text is well organized and easy to follow.

The author also has a section on some of the most asked student questions such as how to paint brilliant darks and how to paint the folds of fabric.

I have used this book extensively in teaching high school students. There are many wonderful tips for scaling and enlarging images, easy perspective tricks and painting different types of details.

CONS: This book in not for beginning watercolorists. Information on paint, brushes, paper and basic techniques is not included. In addition, while all the photos are excellent, they are only from the author.

PROS: Even though this book is about painting with watercolors, there is excellent information on taking and using photographs, composition, perspective and lighting that can be applied to any media you happen to be working with. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in improving their painting skills.


  • Lots of good “how-to” information
  • Wonderful step by step photographs with a variety of subject matter
  • Many tips on taking, choosing and cropping good photos
  • Learn more about this book at and


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