Thursday, April 17, 2008

Response to Altered Surfaces Book Review

A couple of people have asked if there is a significant difference between Acrylic Revolution by Nancy Reyner and Altered Surfaces by Chris Cozen. Well, here is my opinion:

I got this book while surfing through the site for some stuff I needed. I figured I might as well buy what I needed at the time and save on shipping. I came across this book. It lists for $16.99. Altered Surfaces is $14.45 on the website: It is not on Amazon.

Both books are by Golden working artists. They are obviously trying to sell Golden product. It does not matter to me if you use Golden or the equivalent. I do use a lot of Golden product but substitute when I can get a cheaper equivalent. I did a book study with a group on the Nancy Reyner book. I thought it was okay. It went in depth about different Golden products and what they do. It does have a lot of techniques in it. It also explained a lot about acrylics. I don't know if some people care that much about it. I just know enough to use the product. I don't remember the details.

What I liked about the Altered Surfaces book was that it was organized well, good pictures, and more technique than explanation. The explanations are brief and there are step-by-step explanations. There were parts of the Reyner book where I did not fully understand where they got something or how they did something. I would recommend artists get the Altered Surfaces book if you are a technique junkie like me and are interested in how to do something rather than why you do it.

A little about the Altered Surfaces book:

It starts out with handy tools, understanding how pigments work, color mixing, and then it goes into techniques. It starts with hobby plastic. Next, it goes into which Golden adhesives do what. This is a good section for people who are confused by that or not sure when to use what. It goes on to show different surface textures. The picts are rich in color. The finished examples are good and a nice size. Make it matte is next. There is also a section on fluid acrylics and some ways to use it. Resist techniques and then oil pastels and markers. Each technique or section is maybe a page long and sometimes 2 pages. I like the section on putting black to work where you work on black backgrounds. It has a section on how to make your own background papers. It has the basics. Mediums and gels are next. Pastes and grounds. There are some picts that are smaller than I would like. It does not explain everything it shows in detail. Some of it is just to show you how it looks at the end. There are also application ideas. An interesting section for me was how to burnish a surface with molding paste. I loved the outcome. The light molding paste section ws nothing new to me. I use crackle paste a lot but a lot of people would find this section interesting. I love what you can do with crackle paste. A new product is fiber paste. I have it but have not really used it. There is a great section on gritty surfaces. It is one that I really liked. Fine pumice gel, glittering glass beads, and clear tar gel. There is one thing I want to try with the clear tar gel on top. The woven strips of clear tar gel was a great accent on one piece. Not sure I would do it but I will probably try it once. Shimmery iridescents was a good section. I am going to try embossed tiles when I find some time. Ha! It ends with a section on capturing your family history. I kinda skipped that part.

I was surprised at how well it was done for a Design Originals book. Don't get me wrong, I have always like their books. I just thought they were more geared towards crafters or more towards newbies. Their books are becoming better and better - in my opinion. They used to be great for newbies but are starting to offer more to experienced artists. Well, I hope that answered the question. If you buy it is up to you. I just let you know what I think and what was in the book.

Email me if you have any other questions.


ceevee said...

Thanks for the good comparisons. I didnot know about the Altered Surfaces book. Looks like I might have to open up my wallet and order it.

ceevee another technique junkie

Anonymous said...

Hey Belinda, I bought the book at first "glance" !!! love it, love it, love it : ) all your comments are right on. The book itself gives me such inspiration to just "try" a technique rather than to "maybe someday" consider.
Great job on book reviewing : )
Love & Blessings, Sandra in AZ

Chris Cozen said...

I want to let you know that I appreciate your review of my book, Altered Surfaces. While I was reading your comments it reinforced the entire motivation behind writing the book. Clear, easy to follow, lots of pictures so people can see the possibilities, etc. Design Originals was really behind the idea of reaching out to a more sophisticated audience and hope to do more books like mine. I hope you try more things...Enjoy.