I started experimenting with Chinese brush painting techniques about a year ago. It is a wonderful and deceptively challenging discipline.
Ideally, in my opinion, Chinese brush painting should be studied with a teacher. If you have access to classes in your community you will really benefit from in person instruction.
Unfortunately, not everyone can access a great teacher. So, if you'd like to try your hand at learning Chinese brush painting techniques, these books can help get you started.
Chinese Painting Techniques by Alison Stilwell Cameron
If you're looking for a true beginner's book on Chinese brush painting techniques, Chinese Painting Techniques is the book you need.
There are plenty of books on the subject that call themselves beginner books; however, this one is the only book I've come across that actually describes the techniques in the kind of detail required by beginners.
Each technique is described thoroughly, and illustrations clearly map out brush strokes and techniques for loading the brush in a way that other books on the subject do not. Using this book is the next best thing to working with an instructor.
Chinese Brush Painting: A Beginner's Guide by Pauline Cherrett
In my opinion, this is not a book for absolute beginners.
Chinese Brush Painting: A Beginner's Guide is one of the first books I picked up on the subject. I struggled with the techniques in this book for a while, and when I finally took a brush painting class, I realized why. This book is lacking the detail required for most true beginners to have any real success in learning Chinese brush painting techniques.
While Ms. Cherrett writes about creating the energy and spirit inherent in good Chinese brush painting, she really glosses over basic techniques all beginners should practice.
I would not take issue with this book if it did not carry the subtitle "A Beginner's Guide". There is some helpful information here, but there are much better options out there if you are a beginner.
The Chinese Brush Painting Bible by Jane Dwight
I've been waiting with bated breath to get my hands on this book. When it was delivered a few weeks ago, I was just thrilled. The The Chinese Brush Painting Bible: Over 200 Motifs with Step-By-Step Illustrated Instructions is an easy to use book full of lovely motifs.
The written instructions are clear, and the images go a long way to illustrate the techniques.
If you are a complete newcomer to Chinese brush painting, you may want to pick up Alison Stilwell Cameron's Chinese Painting Techniques for more in-depth instruction on the basics, but Jane Dwight's The Chinese Brush Painting Bible will give you the tools to really broaden your repertoire.
The book is spiral bound, making it easy to open up on your work surface so you can refer to it while you're working. It's full of more motifs than I've seen in any other book on this subject, and there is a good range of simple to more complex images.
There are clear maps for painting each motif, as well as some wonderful information about the traditional symbolism behind the images.
This is a great, well laid out book that is an excellent addition to your library if you want to explore Chinese brush painting techniques.