Interactive Watercolour by Peter Saw
A complete course in watercolour painting on PC CD ROM
(PC CD-ROM Version 1.1.1)
by Peter Saw
A complete course
in watercolour painting
reviewed by Gregory Conley, B.A. in Studio Arts
COMPUTER: IBM Compatible Pentium 90 or higher
OS: Windows® 95, 98, ME, XP
PROGRAM: Microsoft® Internet Explorer V4 (included on CD) or higher
MEMORY: 16MB minimum
RESOLUTION: 800 X 600
VIDEO: Minimum 16 bit color
CD ROM SPEED: 10x or better
INTERNET CONNECTION: For free forums, updates, and further online study
Tested on a Toshiba Satellite 2675DVD/6.0 computer, Pentium III, 433 mHz, 64MB RAM
Start it up
|I popped in Peter Saw's Interactive Watercolour PC CD-ROM and after a smooth auto-start I was greeted with an Internet Explorer browser window with a top menu frame with the following options: Preface, Contents, Intro, Basics, Doodles, Painting, In depth, Resources, Glossary, Search, Help, and a musical icon. The main frame includes the title screen with a strip of matching menu links across the bottom. A short midi music piece sounds your arrival. Internet Explorer is the engine that drives the whole CD. It's akin to a huge watercolor website/book/video on one convenient CD-ROM.
The Contents section is a scroll-down page that is essentially a site map for all the content on the CD-ROM. You can learn sequentially or hop around to the areas that interest you. The lesson pages navigation buttons are discreetly tucked in upper and lower right-hand corners. Sections are neatly presented but depending on which section you are in, vary slightly in page design.
||Integrating a large amount of text, art lessons, still imagery, slideshow graphics, video, sequential images, music, printable materials, and internet links into a cohesive whole is no easy task. There are over 250 "how to do it" video clips and animations, 3,000+ photographs, diagrams and illustrations, 200+ reference photos for your use, all contained in over 1,000 web-style pages. When I realized some groups of learning units just had a different look, feel, and flow I accepted that and dug in.|
Highlights: The lessons we learn
||After a thorough series of powerpoint-style slideshow tutorials on the basics of drawing, perspective, color and other basic and essential artistic skills, there begins an abundant visual flow of watercolor painting knowledge. The spectrum of information ranges from materials and techniques to eleven complete step-by-step lesson paintings. Basic and advanced watercolor techniques are explored in step-by-step text and video clips, including recovery techniques and special effects.|
|Over a dozen video clips of paint manipulation techniques using different brushes are well done, and the addition of another 6 or so video clips showing properties of varying consistencies of paint, including how to load a brush with paint, are original and unique. Mr. Saw's signature "Watercolour Doodles" offer ways to paint 30 various natural scenes and objects. A large percentage of the doodles include multi-step video examples and use multiple paint and brush techniques. You will learn proper technique for laying washes and brush handling skills through video example, descriptive text, and still photographs.
In the Reference section there is a great collection of reference photographs in the following categories: Coastal (sea, shore, harbors and boats), Flowers, Ideas (interesting scenes), Landscapes, Reference (animals, etc.), and Skies. The Gallery gives a more in depth look at a wide selection of Peter Saw's original work and the Internet resource listings are extensive.
Printable drawings are available for the lesson paintings allowing you follow lessons using the original artist's drawings. Printable materials also include a composition grid, a blank color wheel, and a selection of 16 different tree silhouettes for reference use. All printable materials are presented in several sizes.
Mr. Saw's literary tone is friendly and warm throughout, with thought provoking personal observations interspersed with solid art theory. He encourages you to think as an artist and learn the fundamental art and watercolor skills that will allow you to grow into your unique artistic self.
Cons: The web-style graphical user interface (GUI) was at times confusing (for me) and initially knocked a half a star off of a perfect 5-star rating. But the more I used the CD course the more intuitive it felt. I had to only round up slightly for a 5 star rating.
Pros: The content and multimedia teaching units provide a solid grounding in the fundamentals of watercolor painting for any beginning to intermediate watercolorist. Interactive Watercolour would indeed be a handy addition to the reference library of more advanced painters. Content load times are fast due to the nature of the medium.
As a bonus, Mr. Saw's guitar midi sequences and other classical midi tracks by musician Robert Finley provide a relaxing soundtrack to enhance your learning experience. Interactive Watercolour by Peter Saw reflects a good deal of hard work and provides enough content to keep you busy for a long time.
Interactive Watercolour by Peter Saw rates five stars out of five, a good, solid buy. An excellent addition to your art reference library. Recommended by WatercolorPainting.com for all artists and age levels. It is good to see traditional fine arts make the leap to electronic multi-media learning formats. Nice work, Peter.
Greg Conley, 2004, 2005
Comments from Peter Saw (August 2004):
The issue is now Version 1.1.2 The modifications over the one you reviewed relate only to a few minor editorial changes to improve some of the text resulting from feedback that I received from customers.
The CD is now packaged in a DVD style case to improve presentation and make the packaging more mail robust. (new cover art is used in this review ed)
The navigation design attempted to require the minimum of clicks to get from one part of the CD to another. There is also an extensive help section (available from the top bar) which includes detailed help on navigation.
The top menu bar is arranged like a paper book with sections in the order (L to R) you would normally read a book in. Clicking on a top menu item loads the interactive contents of that section into the lower main frame.
The 2 different formats for the tutorials were used by design to allow the best presentation of the material required for the particular section.
The 'Basics' tutorials are intended to give the information to get you painting quickly and the 'In depth' tutorials provided the detailed knowledge to take you from a beginner to an intermediate painter.
The cost of the CD ordered via the secure web site facilities is presently £33.45 British Pounds or it's equivalent in other currencies. (about $61.50 US Dollars). These are for orders outside the UK. Orders within UK are slightly cheaper due to reduced postage costs.