The sewn binding means that you can use this book without it falling to pieces.
The book is vitiated by the fact that in most cases it is impossible to tell what pigment or colouring matter is being talked about. For example, what ever is “Havannah lake” (page 30)? Anyone familiar with the topic is aware that proprietary names are dreamed up by colourmen, usually with fraudulent intent as part of the motivation. For example, while the word “permanent” can tend to mean “non-aniline” in colour names, it never means “lightfast,” and users need to know that the word “permanent” in a colour name usually means “impermanent” when the colour is used.
The author mentions that some artists’ paints have the pigments specified on their packaging, but does not use that insight to make his book worthwhile. He mentions that alizarin crimson is fugitive, but on nearly every page he mentions the mixing qualities of alizarin crimson, as though he is recommending it. Many of his colour names specify no pigment at all, and only luck governs whether the user of this book will use the same pigment or a different pigment from that used by the author. When it comes to dye-based inks, a name like “cobalt blue,” which specifies a cobalt aluminate or some related compound, must be misleading, since a transparent dye ink will be using no such substance.
The book is vitiated by lack of proofreading. This is borne out by confused and ungrammatical sentences on pages 26 and 93, the use of “chrome” where “chromium” is meant on page 24, the spellings of “cinnebar” (page 21) and “sulfur” (passim), the characterising of orpiment as “arsenic trisulphate” (at least here his spelling is right even if his facts are wrong). I suppose I should mention that the word “sulphur” is derived from Latin “sulpur;” it always has a “p,” it never has an “f,” and the “h” is optional, if now customary.
He condescendingly mentions “simple” pigments used in cave paintings from 30,000 years ago. The pigments are no more simple than the ones used now.
He launches into what he calls “tertiary colours” on page 13, but only specifies the variable mixing of secondary colours. He does not know what tertiary colours are. His definition of “organic” pigments on page 21 is simply wrong. He retails the old chestnut of Indian Yellow being made of cattle urine, which has been known to be wrong for a long time.
None of this addresses the main part of the book, the colour mixing charts. While these suffer from the inadequate specification of the pigments used, that is not all. I cannot believe that the addition of black lightens raw sienna, as the diagram on page 43 would have us believe. I cannot believe that the addition of black lightens sap green, as the diagram on page 53 would have us believe. Those are the most glaring of the many things that stretch one’s credulity.
He seems to ignore the fact, in the matter of mixing inks, that some well-known ink series use dye inks for all colours except black and white. Since there are no white dyes, all white inks use pigment. Nearly all black inks for artists’ use are pigmented with carbon black. The author seems unable to come to grips with that fact when discussing inks and when discussing the admixture of white.
I suppose the good part of the book is the encouragement to experiment yourself. But, really, this book is rather slipshod.
- Paperback: 144 pages
- Publisher: WATSON GUPTIL; 1 edition (1 August 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0823007235
- ISBN-13: 978-0823007233
- Product Dimensions: 22.3 x 1 x 22.2 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 499 g
- Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 45,151 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)