The Art of Paint Marbling – Rene Eisenbart

 “Paint marbling, a contemporary technique with a long history, has evolved into a fun, modern art form.”

I’ve long been on a mission to reclaim my creative spark and this book spoke of a more grown-up form of a technique I remember liking as a kid. And that ‘grown up’ bit would be the singular downside to this book: it does require some specialist ingredients (aluminium sulphate and carrageenan, one of which is caustic, so hmm). I would have liked a tiny section on how to try things out on a more casual basis, I think – in other words, a reminder of that technique I tried as a child!

Despite that holding me up from having a proper ‘go’, I was still impressed with the rest of the book. There’s plenty of information on the use of the ingredients, all the tools and techniques you could bring in, and how to achieve different kinds of patterns.

The near-obligatory art book chapter on colour theory was impressive. Always a good reminder anyway, I loved that this one didn’t just do the obvious colour wheel but instead used common paint colours, such as cobalt and burnt sienna, and showed some great mixing combinations. There was also a good discussion of the common terms, e.g. shades and tints, as well as advice on choosing a palette for your projects.

The how-tos walk you through the different stages clearly, with photos, but more than half the book is then given over to different pattern ideas, such as stone effect, combing (explaining the tools along the way), and combining different patterns. And everything comes with gorgeous pictures! A couple of examples below:

Some incredibly complicated-looking designs are shown to be simple – although not necessarily easy, practice will still be required! – to achieve.

I was fascinated by the idea of marbling paintings. That is, doing a light marble effect over an existing image. Or the reverse: painting over a marbled base. There’s also mention of collage ideas, marbling cloth, and non-flat items.

The book ends with practicalities: troubleshooting advice, cleaning advice (very good to see this included!), and a glossary of terms.

Overall it’s a very well-presented book that covers its subject clearly and well. I’m a little disappointed that I couldn’t give it a proper go without going out to buy additional materials, but I still enjoyed the visuals and the concept.

NetGalley eARC: 130 pages / 6 chapters
First published: 9th March 2021
Series: none
Read in March 2021

My rating: 7/10

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