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Direct Watercolor_Cover 8.5x8.5_Color_100pp_v04 copy

“Direct Watercolor” (2018) <affiliate link, thx) is a retrospective collection of five years of travel and painting, brought up to date with six new step-by-step demonstrations.

Direct Watercolor_Marc Taro Holmes15

Direct Watercolor_Marc Taro Holmes16

I’ve been tremendously lucky to have been working as an art instructor with Urban Sketchers (.org) and Craftsy (.com), which, for the past five years, has allowed me to focus almost exclusively on watercolor.

It’s been an incredible opportunity – helping define what painting means to me. I’ve put all that inspiration together into this self-published book. Truly the very best work from this incredible time of artistic growth.


Click here to see more sample pages from Direct Watercolor or order a copy today!


Order Direct Watercolor in Print or eBook Edition | | | | | |

Order Direct Watercolor in eBook Edition | | |

The Apocalypse Variations_Marc Taro Holmes_Cover_Small

My fourth art-book, “The Apocalypse Variations: Thirty Paintings in Thirty Days” < affiliate link, thx] is available now on in print and ebook.

The Apocalypse Variations_Marc Taro Holmes_ScreenShot_pp6_7

This self-published paperback collects all thirty paintings from our June 2019 marathon #30x30DirectWatercolor2019.

Unlike my previous work, this book is not a ‘how-to’ for artists.

It’s an art book in the old tradition. An artist’s monograph.

You’ll find large reproductions of the paintings, alongside pre-production sketches and close up details of densely painted wet-in-wet watercolor effects, accompanied by a revealing narrative of my thinking behind the art.

The Apocalypse Variations_Marc Taro Holmes_ScreenShot_pp14_15

In essence, the book is a meditation on the future, through the lens of contemporary landscape painting. This is one artist looking forward from where we stand in 2019, facing unabated climate change, and the environmental legacy of industrialization.

It’s not very hopeful stuff. But it’s real, and heart-felt. And the paintings are my best work in watercolor to date.

The Apocalypse Variations_Marc Taro Holmes_ScreenShot_pp4_5

Order “The Apocalypse Variations” in Print or eBook Edition
print or e-book.

The Apocalypse Variations Book Pinup


Click the Cover to Find out More, or:

Order The Urban Sketcher from Amazon
US | CA )

My first two art-instructional books represent the two sides of my artistic brain. And I suppose, most of the useful knowledge gained over my 20 odd years as a working artist. For 20 years I have simultaneously been an avid street sketcher and traveling watercolorist, AND a digital artist and video game designer.

Though it might not seem like it at first, the two art forms have a lot to do with each other. They’re both about telling stories and describing people and places with drawings. My non-fiction travel sketching is a tremendous asset to my imaginative work – (filling the memory banks with ideas!) –  but the theatricality and fantastic elements of gaming art have always brought a special something to my street sketches.

Click the Cover to Find out More, or:

Order Designing Creatures and Characters from Amazon
US | CA )

Oh, and truly – thanks very much for your support! Every book purchase does a bit toward supporting this blog. It’s my great pleasure to keep bringing you my stories and paintings here on Citizen Sketcher.

~marc taro holmes

79 Comments leave one →
  1. June 24, 2014 7:44 PM

    A great stimulation!

  2. julesmae permalink
    June 24, 2014 7:52 PM

    Super cool! Very excited for you!

  3. June 24, 2014 8:00 PM

    Congratulations Marc, you deserve all the best. I do enjoy your blog posts and your inspiration.- Sharon

  4. Michel P. Pelletier permalink
    June 24, 2014 8:38 PM

    Félicitation Marc, je suis sur qu’il deviendra une référence

  5. June 24, 2014 8:43 PM

    Wow…looking good….SO looking forward to getting a copy!

    • June 27, 2014 8:06 AM

      Marc Taro, I like to book my own copy with your signature and a print if you could beat

  6. June 24, 2014 8:47 PM

    So exciting, I’ve followed your blog for a while now, looking forward to the book. Does it hurt your sales if I order it from you?

  7. anne permalink
    June 24, 2014 8:47 PM

    Wunnerful wunnerful so glad for you – and for us. Can’t wait!

  8. June 24, 2014 9:05 PM

    Nice. Definitely buying a copy.

  9. bluerock / debrazone permalink
    June 24, 2014 9:10 PM

    Wow! Looks like an amazing book! Congratulations. I will definitely get one. Any autographed copies available? xo

    • June 24, 2014 9:15 PM

      Hey Debra! Thanks :) Yes in fact if you want to order it direct from me, I will sign your copy – and I’ll include a small print with every book I ship out. How’s that for a deal! I’ll put you on the list right now shall I? – and get back to you when it hits stores in October. I don’t know for a fact when I can order copies for my own use. Also don’t know the exact sticker price – but $20-25 is very likely. Will update everyone on this when I hear from the publisher.

      • bluerock / debrazone permalink
        June 24, 2014 9:17 PM

        Yes, please add me to your list. Do you need more info from me at this time? THANKS!

        • June 25, 2014 2:18 PM

          Got you on the list Deb – I’ll touch base closer to Oct. when they ship to me, and get your details. Thanks!

      • June 25, 2014 2:54 AM

        OK Count me in on that as well.

      • June 26, 2014 3:17 PM

        Great News! Also have been following you via website. I would also like to order your book from you (and hopefully) get a signed copy.

      • Murielle permalink
        June 28, 2014 9:01 AM

        Hi Marc,

        Very interested in book. Let me know when it will be available .I would like to purchase from you……..


      • Linda permalink
        August 4, 2014 2:19 PM

        Hi Marc,
        Would love to purchase a copy from you too. I look forward to its release…

      • JanetB permalink
        August 22, 2014 8:05 AM

        I would love to be added to your list to purchase a signed book! Looking forward to seeing it, just love your work!

        • August 22, 2014 8:03 PM

          Sure thing Janet, added your name and I will be in touch as we get closer to October when I know all the details for shipping. Thanks very much for your early support!

      • October 1, 2014 7:05 PM

        marc, would of course prefer to odrder from you as opposed to amazon on the idea that you’ll make a few more $$ out of it that way. If so, please put me on the list to order from you.

        • October 3, 2014 10:17 PM

          Hey Charles – Of course! I’ve added your name, and I’ll be getting back to you very soon. The book is on the publishers site now, and I am just talking to them about my wholesale order this week. So we’ll have it to you ASAP! Thanks very much for your support! ~m

  10. June 24, 2014 9:20 PM

    Looking forward to it.

  11. June 24, 2014 9:37 PM

    Just looked at, and at present $18.80 plus $4.00 shipping in Canada so $22.80 in Canada, just an absolute bargain you will always have to refer to compared to a workshop -$200?- which is gone in a couple of days.

    • June 25, 2014 2:18 PM

      Well exactly! a much better deal, though you get less of of my sparkling personality (maybe that is also a plus :)

  12. Mit permalink
    June 24, 2014 10:00 PM

    Great! Please add me to your list, too.

  13. June 24, 2014 10:55 PM

    Congrats! Please add me to the list for a book. I would also be interested in an online course if you are keeping a list for that as well.

  14. June 24, 2014 11:39 PM

    Awesome news! Congratulations on the book!
    I’d like to be added to the autographed book list also. Talk about a nice bonus to the book!

  15. June 25, 2014 12:43 AM

    Congratulations! It would be fantastic if it has the eBook version

    • June 25, 2014 2:14 PM

      Yes, North Light will do an e-version. I’m not exactly sure on the timing of that, but I’ll let everyone know for sure. Thanks!

  16. Solmaz permalink
    June 25, 2014 12:53 AM

    Please add me to your list.

  17. Nigel permalink
    June 25, 2014 4:14 AM

    You must have had this in your mind when I left a comment / question a while ago. I look forward to it.

  18. Linda permalink
    June 25, 2014 9:12 AM

    Congratulations Marc! What an accomplishment. This book is just what timid sketchers like me are looking for…

  19. June 25, 2014 4:40 PM

    Marc, want the signed copy of book, and on your list for online class, can’t wait. Really admire your drawings with such an expressive line.

  20. lefeust permalink
    June 25, 2014 7:45 PM

    I just made a little high pitched sound when I saw this post. I did! Looking forward to put my grabby hands on this one. Already sent you an email to pre-order! :D

  21. Linda Daily permalink
    June 25, 2014 9:43 PM

    Put me down for an autographed copy as well!
    I will look forward to it!

  22. June 26, 2014 10:08 AM

    Congratulation Marc! I would love to get one directly from you. Always better to put a bit more money in the hands of the artist, I say. Really looking forward to it. I’d also like to get a ebook version when it’s available, so if you have a notification list for that as well, please put me on it. Cheers from rainy Nova Scotia!

  23. Dominique Gaillard permalink
    June 26, 2014 10:49 AM

    Finally a book that breaks down all the steps, most books on the subject don’t, they go from A then B, then Z with nothing in between. Can’t wait to read it ! Thanks and Congrats !

    • Dominique Gaillard permalink
      June 26, 2014 10:52 AM

      Also would you put me on your list for an authographed copy, thank you Marc

  24. Richard Pryor permalink
    June 27, 2014 9:01 AM

    Hi. Can I put my name down for a signed copy too. Very excited to see the finished product. Thank you

    • June 28, 2014 10:36 AM

      Hey Richard- the email on you gravitar bounced back for me – can you mail me at marc(dot)taro(at)gmail(dot)com? I put you down on the list, just want to make sure I can reach you later for shipping. Thanks ~m

  25. Shelly Dildey permalink
    June 30, 2014 6:30 PM

    I cannot wait!!

  26. feltbird65 Karen permalink
    July 1, 2014 4:24 PM

    Please add me to your list ….I would prefer a signed copy from you rather than Amazon…even if it costs a bit extra…

  27. July 15, 2014 6:41 AM

    Wonderful that you have written this book. However, I will be in Europe next month and would like to see some of the pages on sketching buildings before I go. I will order your book, but it won’t be available until October or sometime later. Do you have a sample of some of the step by step approach to doing the watercolor sketches like your St. Parick’s Basilica or Notre Dame de Grace or L’eglise St. Augustine de Canterbury or Meredeth_B? I love your pen and watercolor sketches. I understand perspective, but what to put in and what to leave out as well as color selection is a little more difficult.

  28. Mark Guest permalink
    July 29, 2014 4:25 PM

    I hope your autographed copy list is long, but I also hope you still have room for me on it. Sent you an email message, but I would also like to purchase a signed copy. Actually, I would like to order three. One for me and two to give away! Hope you are doing well.

    • July 30, 2014 2:41 PM

      Thanks Mark – you’re on for three for sure. Thanks very much :) Good to hear from you! I’m up in the mountains sketching in Banff – pics coming soon :)

  29. Leslie permalink
    August 28, 2014 3:29 PM

    Marc, I’m a newcomer to your blog but I’m so grateful for the generosity of your postings. Please add me to your book list. I can’t wait!

    • September 1, 2014 10:19 PM

      You bet Leslie – will do! I will get back to you as soon as I hear about the first printing!

  30. October 25, 2014 12:24 AM

    Waiting for the Apple iBooks version! Can’t wait … any time soon?

  31. Luce permalink
    January 22, 2015 1:52 PM

    great book!- i recommend it for the beginner and advanced artist

  32. RayDvD permalink
    October 26, 2015 9:01 AM

    Book just arrived today, cant wait to start the lessons Marc.
    Congrats on a great looking book.

  33. vladimok permalink
    August 15, 2017 2:41 PM

    Existe t-il une version Française de votre livre?

  34. November 3, 2018 2:26 PM

    This is so awesome!!

  35. Cristina Hierro permalink
    February 2, 2021 10:48 AM

    Good afternoon
    I bought you book Direct Watercolor, and I like it very much.
    I’m trying to find the Winsor&Newton 3×5” tin palette, but I can’t find it at all. I can only find rectangular ones, which are less useful. Would you mind telling me exactly the model? Or even sending me the link where you bought it?
    Thanks a lot for your help, I love your sketches!
    Cristina Hierro

    • February 22, 2021 5:52 PM

      Sorry for the slow reply! – and – unfortunately, I bought my W&N paint boxes at a local art supply store many years ago. I don’t really know where to find empty tins from them. I have used (also in the past) Holbein tins that are quite similar? So might try there. Most recently I purchased some third-party paint boxes online, but they’re not very well made, so I don’t want to suggest them. I think it’s come down to the fact you either have use a cheap knock-off until it dies, or pay a fortune at retail for a brand-name palette and just top-up the dry pans as you go, or in the worst case, make your own kit out of something you can find. I have one made out of a tin chocolate’s box and empty half pans from Amazon! Sorry I can’t be much more help.

  36. cyberflowing permalink
    March 17, 2022 8:21 AM

    My friend gifted me the Creature and Character Designs Book just yesterday. Absolutely love it! :)


  1. Announcing a new book from Marc Taro Holmes and North Light Books: “The Urban Sketcher: Techniques for Seeing and Drawing on Location” | Citizen Sketcher
  2. Announcing a new book from Marc Taro Holmes and North Light Books: “The Urban Sketcher: Techniques for Seeing and Drawing on Location” | Urban Sketchers Montreal
  3. Renew your Artistic Licence, or: “Don’t Just Document – Design”. | Citizen Sketcher
  4. Step-by-Step Drawing Example : Davis House Dot Plot | Citizen Sketcher
  5. Direct to Watercolor Part 3 of 4 : Step By Step Process | Citizen Sketcher
  6. Direct to Watercolor Part 4 of 4 : Back to the City | Citizen Sketcher
  7. Sketching Paraty, Brazil : Silhouette and Subdivide | Citizen Sketcher
  8. Copies of The Urban Sketcher going out the door : About half way through my 200 copies | Citizen Sketcher
  9. Copies of The Urban Sketcher going out the door : About half way through my author copies | Citizen Sketcher
  10. The Urban Sketcher – Techniques for seeing and drawing on location by Marc Taro Holmes
  11. Webinar about The Urban Sketcher | Urban Sketchers Montreal
  12. Webinar about The Urban Sketcher | Citizen Sketcher
  13. Ahoy! Pirates and Ships at the Pointe | Citizen Sketcher
  14. Ahoy! Pirates and Ships at the Pointe | Urban Sketchers Montreal
  15. Book Excerpt : Sketching En-Passant | Citizen Sketcher
  16. Win a Free 7 part video lesson on Sketching People in Motion! | Citizen Sketcher
  17. Cutting Room Floor : Montreal Tattoo Expo | Citizen Sketcher

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