#458 – Paint It: The Art of Acrylics, Oils, Pastels, and Watercolors by Mari Bolte and D. C. Ice & Pamela Becker

Paint ItPaint It: The Art of Acrylics, Oils, Pastels, and Watercolors

by Mari Bolte

D. C. Ice & Pamela Becker, illustrators

Capstone Young Readers


Back Cover:  Turn your scribbles that you think are just cool things to draw into masterpieces! Young artists will develop their painting skills with the easy step-by-step instructions in this guide. Learn the basics in acrylic, oils, pastels, and watercolors. No experience is necessary—Paint It outlines the essential tips, tools, and techniques to get started. ALL YOU NEED I IMAGINATION!

Opening:  Painting is the way we tell stories and share messages. A single drop of paint can inspire huge murals of color or a series of small, scattered dabs across a canvas.


Each section in Paint It starts with a section called “In Your Art Box.” Here you learn what you will need to get started painting that type of paint, including the brushes and paints, from the basics to the advanced. The paper(s) used and tools are listed and explained in accessible terms. Not being an artist, I understood 90% of the book at first read. Last, prior to starting the first project, you will learn some of the techniques and tips for that type of paint, and the color palette.

The introductory sections pack in a lot of useful information and for this beginner, nothing seemed to be filler. I enjoyed reading the book and wish I had more talent. I did find that gathering the basic supplies could be expensive. I was surprised how expensive even watercolors could be. The book itself is beautiful. Color splashes every page, often in visually stunning ways. The best thing about Paint It is the ability to replicate that beauty on your own canvas.


I love that there is more than just the basics. In watercolors, there are lessons on gouache and Chinese Brush Painting. In acrylics, there is Mayan Art, Fantasy Art and a section on replicating The Scream. Pastels gives you Andy Warhol along with Batik Heat, (a technique from Indonesia using hot wax on fabric to create interesting patterns on fabrics). Instead of using hot wax, Paint It shows kids how to do Batik Heat with white glue, a safer means to the same end.

I really like the oil technique of Tiny Art. This technique has you drawing and then painting smaller objects from the larger scene. Once the smaller pieces are completed, you repeat the individual sections onto the larger canvas. Rather than making mistakes on the expensive large canvas, your mistakes are worked out on the less expensive and smaller paper first.


Paint It explains Picasso’s Blue and Rose Periods with instructions on creating a painting similar to what Picasso had done. For something quite unordinary, Giuseppe Archimbolo’s technique of using food to portray his subjects would make a fun afternoon of painting. Archimbolo used food arranged to resemble his subject. For example, a rose for the ear or a stalk of celery for the neck.

I enjoyed reading Painting It and wish I had the talent to replicate the techniques it teaches. While it is for the beginner, I think this will be enjoyed more by the intermediate artist—child or adult. The four sections: watercolors, acrylics, pastels, and oils, need not be completed in any particular order. With the exception of the basic strokes in the watercolors section, the four sections do not build upon each. Start with whatever medium you prefer. With Paint It, not only will your skills improve, so will your confidence and your knowledge.


I enjoyed painting for the first time since grade school, though I made more of a mess than I did art. While Paint It is marketed as a beginner book, and it does read like a starter book, this beginner found the projects to be difficult. I think any kid with an interest in art would like this book. Those who actually paint, they will love this book. The projects use interesting techniques that look much harder than most are—if you follow the tips and techniques sections.


Paint It: The Art of Acrylics, Oils, Pastels, and Watercolors

by Mari Bolte     website     facebook     pinterest

D. C. Ice, illustrator (watercolors and acrylics)    website    linkedin    interview     blog

Pamela Becker, illustrator (pastels and oils)    website    blog     twitter    bio

Capstone Young Readers     website    blog    facebook     twitter

Released September 1, 2013

ISBN:  978-1-62370-009-6

144 pages

Age 8 to 14


PAINT IT: THE ART OF ACRYLICS, OILS, APASTELS, AND WATERCOLORS. Text copyright © 2013 by Mari Bolte. Illustrations copyright © 2013 by D. C. Ice. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Capstone Young Readers, North Mankato, MN



paint it

13 thoughts on “#458 – Paint It: The Art of Acrylics, Oils, Pastels, and Watercolors by Mari Bolte and D. C. Ice & Pamela Becker

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    • I would heed some caution. If the child is good and plans to study art much more than as a passing thing, this is a great book. The techniques are not easy and I am not sure this is at a level the average child will understand. I see most putting it down after a quick look-see.
      (Something I should have said in the review, but only now thought of it this way. So thanks for commenting!)


  3. This sounds like a great book – I especially like the various themes in the projects, and that it covers different mediums — thanks for directing me to another book!


    • If you are a artist, of most any level, you will love “Paint It.” It goes into all sorts of areas I had never heard of and artists most everyone has. I found out what gouache is, something I see in picture books (in the credit areas) but never really understood what it meant. So I did learn something. If you are an artist you will learn so much more. Check it out. 🙂


  4. Sue, as soon as I saw the title and cover of this book, I really wanted to read your review! Of course, I’m an artist, so that’s to be expected 🙂 Though I haven’t seen the actual book, from these photos and your description, I have quite a bit I want to add (which is ALSO to be expected! lol).

    What I like about this book is that it can help give a beginner a feel for different mediums with simple instruction and no guess work as far as supplies or how to use them. What I don’t like (and it’s an easy thing to remedy) is that, from these photos, the materials used are better-quality, more professional-grade which should never be used by a beginner, unless, of course, the buyer has money to burn and doesn’t care if materials never get used again. As you quickly found out—quality art supplies are expensive. Especially for someone experimenting with art (talented or not), it is best not to get the “good” stuff to start because you need to discover whether or not you can handle the medium itself or if you like it enough to want to stick with it, practice and learn.

    It is good to have art or pictures to use as reference or a guide so you have an idea of what you’re shooting for, but no one (unless someone has a talent for it) should expect to actually replicate anything, and certainly not the first time out. I’m very curious as to which medium you chose, Sue. If you chose watercolors, that is actually one of the harder paints to control and takes practice for most people, including artists—there IS a learning curve. Whenever someone uses a tool, whether it’s a pencil, marker, pastel, craypa (oil pastel), brush with any of a variety of paints, clay or whatever, one must develop a feel for how to use that tool. There are different effects and techniques that can be achieved with any given medium on any given surface. It’s not something that can be mastered the first time out, for sure.

    When someone has a desire to want to learn new ways to create art –regardless of its form–expectations need to be low to begin with, and there should be no time frame as to how long it takes to give something a chance or to achieve a certain level of expertise. There’s also a big difference when it comes to WHY you want to do it. Is it for yourself for pleasure? Do you want to sell your work? Even earn a living at it?

    I would never want to see anyone discouraged because expectations are too high. Art can be a lot of fun, but there are SO many forms of art, it can take time to discover what works for you. And, in all these years, if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that there are as many art forms and styles as there are individuals who create it. The degrees of talent are also just as varied, and it is the difference in degrees that also creates the wide variety of styles we see in everything that surrounds us. And the truth is, even the most talented and widely acclaimed artists cannot produce art that pleases EVERYone. If you want to create art, figure out why you want to do it—then just do it 🙂

    And, btw, Sue, don’t be surprised that, when I finally start blogging, something VERY similar to this comment shows up as a post 😉 It’s very much the type of content I want to put up!


    • Interesting. I was going to remark that this is your first post, just on the wrong blog. I think you should make your first post similar to the above and reference it back to the book here at KLR. First post out of the way and you are ready to go. 🙂

      You have interesting views and I agree with many, if not most (I refuse to say which to keep you on your toes). 😀
      To answer your question, I started with watercolors and was pleased to read you believe them one of the hardest mediums to start. I found it a little frustrating. As far as paints go, I am used to those that are applied to ceramics, greenware and bisque.

      My preferred “art” is sketching, which I am sometimes good but usually not. I love my pencils and am experimenting with color pencils – and yes, I bought the good ones.

      My first, and only, attempt with the book “Paint It” was with watercolors, because it was the least expensive to start. I won’t give up on it, but I will make sure if I fall asleep I don’t knock over two glasses of watercolor infused water — all over the beige carpet – but it was okay . . . I blamed the cats. 🙂


      • Oh, wow, Sue, I hope the paint came out of the carpet! lol I’m glad you don’t plan on giving up, and it sounds like you’ve been playing with some art for a while 🙂 As you know, there’s a pretty big difference, of course, between paint on ceramics, etc. (especially if it’s on greenware ’cause you’re imagining the colors pre-fired) and paint on paper or canvas, and yes, watercolor takes practice to learn how to control and you can’t easily (if at all) fix mistakes.

        I recently bought a variety of the Prismacolor pencils and quality pastels since I plan to use them more with my artwork. (I can’t use my VERY old stock for actual illustrations that may be reproduced ’cause I need to know I can replace the exact colors.) I used a combo of cheap and better pencils for the color on my WriterSideUp.com & 2CreativityCookbook.com headers, but the black/gray is just basic lead (mechanical) pencil.

        Anyway, I’m curious what you don’t agree with…and why! 😀


        • I agree with the Prismacolor pencils as that is what I bought. Love them. I don’t agree with mixing cheap stuff with good stuff, in paints or in a drink. I also don’t agree with black/gray. I think it must be either black or gray but not both. As fr the first comment, I agree with you wanting to read the review. that was a wise choice, indeed. 🙂

          I am not sure the book can really help a beginnner. (with or without three n’s). The instructions may seem basic but the projects are not anywhere near easy. I think the possibility for frustration is high. I am not an art teacher, but I have never gone into anything with low expectations. For me, if my expectations are low, I didn’t do it. But then, I have a habit of thinking I can do anything and do it well, which is a lot of pressure but it worked for me.

          I am not sure what all I actually disagreed with you. You had a lot to say that I had not thought of because art was never my field. 🙂


          • Hmmm…now I’M confused! lol When I mentioned black and gray it’s because the shading is gray in the header artwork. And black pencils have different depths as far as how black each looks. The 2B softness of the lead is perfect for shading (at least for me), but it’s not black. I have to use a different pencil to get black. Plus different pencil brands work differently, so even if they’re not an expensive make, it’s the effect and color that matters—at least to me. Some are harder lead and some are softer. Some are waxier. It depends on what you’re trying to accomplish.

            As far as expectations, I say “low” rather than “high” because if expectations are too high, many people (certainly children) may get too discouraged and give up rather than work to achieve whatever measure of improvement.

            Anyway, I think we’ve had enough art lessons! lol Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! 😀


  5. did it have a section on finger painting? Not that I have fingers, but I can adapt that technique easiest. It looks like a pretty book. Are you going to pursue your art instruction? And share results with us?


    • No, I am sorry to say, there is nothing about finger painting, at least not the intentional type. 😆
      I did a couple of projects in the watercolor section and found my talent is more in my head than in my hands. It is a gorgeous book with lots of advanced information. If I should get something presentable, I will share it, embarassment and all. 🙂


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