Today’s post is all about Billy Showell’s new book “Botanical Painting in Watercolour”. I got it for my  birthday and I was really, really surprised, because I’d been waiting for this book since I’d learned about it but my online bookstore says that the premiere is to be on July. But I already have it!

Of course I spent all day yesterday reading it and admiring all those beautiful paintings inside. I have all four books by Billy and all of them are just pure perfection. The newest one is no exception.

It all started from Billy’s book…

For me Billy is very special because I started my botanical journey from her book “A-Z of Flower Portraits”. It is the only book about botanical painting here in Poland and of course still the only one in Polish. I learned so much from it and I was eager to learn more so I bought her other books abroad + two DVDs. Every time I learned something new and my paintings were getting better.

“Botanical Painting in Watercolour” is Billy’s fourth book and I thought nothing would surprise me. But it did. I found new tips, new techniques, new information which I will definitely implement in my paintings.

The book has 192 pages and it’s square which is very nice change. There are dozens of excellent photos inside. I love every single book by Billy because they are very neat and all photos and illustrations are of very high quality so it’s very easy to see details and understand everything. Not to mention, that there are many photos of each stage and they are described in concise language, without unnecessary details. The language is easy to understand even for non-native-English speakers like me.


The content is divided into 16 chapters + Introduction, Glossary and Index. Each page is beautifully decorated with Billy’s paintings or, as in the first chapter, photos of materials. The chapters are: Materials, Getting started, Working from life, Observation, Drawing, Using brush, Painting techniques, Troubleshooting, Painting detail, Adding pattern, Creating texture, Painting multi-headed flowers, Painting from enlarged photographs, Colour and colour mixing, Composition, Stretching and finishing.

Billy provides us with a lot of useful information, such as how to keep fresh items fresh, how to observe a plant, how to transfer a sketch onto watercolor paper, how to stretch paper and so on.

The heart of the book for me is the techniques of painting. Billy explains everything very clearly showing us everything on the photos. This book is like a great encyclopedia of watercolor techniques useful in botanical painting.

We learn how to use a brush properly, what effects we can achieve, what obstacles can occur and how to deal with them. I specially like the “Adding pattern” and “Creating texture” chapters. The first one begins with stunning roses with lovely pattern.

We can also find information about colors. The chapter is divided into several parts, each part is dedicated to different colors. The one shown below is about blacks.

I think that this book is just excellent for everyone, specially those who wants to start painting in botanical style. All the neccessary information can be found there. I would recommend this book to everyone without a second thought.

Here’s my “Billy’s collection”. Unfortunately, Polish edition of “A-Z of Flower Portraits” looks terrible when compared with English edition and I think I will buy English edition because it’s really worth it. ​

I’ve also made a quick flick through video of this book:

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