Decorative Painting Books

jeannetteNovember 21, 2001

Can anyone recommend a really good "how to" book for an absolute beginner in decorative painting? I am currently enrolled in a five-session class , but I would like to continue teaching myself after it ends. I want to be able to paint like the pros, but need a really good starter book to learn brush strokes, techniques, etc. Also, what is the difference between Folk Art, Tole Art, Decorative Painting??

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Hi Jeannette...welcome to the wonderful world of Tole painting (or whatever you prefer to call it)! If you go to this site below, click on the books/packets at the top of page, and then on the next page go down to the 'Beginners' button...there is many books in there and you can click on them and browse some of the inside pages to see if it is suitable to your needs :) Have fun!

Here is a link that might be useful: Artists Club

    Bookmark   November 22, 2001 at 12:09AM
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Believe it or not there are differences between all three styles of painting but nowadays it's sort of all jumbled together. Traditional Tole or Rosemaling was and still is done with round brushes to create a variety of comma strokes to create your work. The comma stroke is the only brush stroke used in Traditional Tole with some variations of that same stroke and was known for being painted on tin - but was also painted on wood. Tole has become a commonly accepted name of today's painted folk art. Folk art itself is more what defines a specific time or place of where it originated. Decorative painting falls more into the category of using a variety of different strokes, brushes (round, flat, fan, angular, filbert, rake, etc.) and other tools like sponges to create your work. That's what most people are familiar with these days.

I agree that is a good place to purchase books. Pat Olson's books are great for beginners as are Priscilla Hauser's books. Both artists are very good with terms and techniques of painting, they have stroke practice sheets, and very easy step-by-step projects. Artists Club has a portion of Hauser's books which usually sell for about $10 at $2.99 and under. Just put her name in their book search. A lot of people enjoy Donna Dewberry's One Stroke method (I use it myself at times) but I think it's worth it to learn the 'old way' of decorative and tole painting and expand on that. I use many styles of painting depending on my current project.

Another way to keep up on current trends and techniques in the painting world is to check out some of the magazines available. Quick & Easy Painting, PaintWorks, Painting, and Let's Paint are just a few of the publications that are usually on sale at craft stores.

*If you go into the Beginners book section at Artists Club as mentioned you'll find discounted books at very low prices. Don't be afraid to buy books for beginners by artists you don't know or aren't familiar with. All their styles are different and it really adds to the enjoyment of painting. The beauty of that site is that you can browse the book first to see if the artist's style appeals to you.

Welcome aboard and have fun!

    Bookmark   November 22, 2001 at 2:20AM
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Also check out a video. Priscilla Hauser has one that goes over all the line and stroke work. Excellent info and you can watch it over and over to learn a new stroke.

Welcome to Painting!! It's a fun hobby and you will meet some of the nicest people at classes and such.

Paint Drop Hugs!

    Bookmark   November 22, 2001 at 8:50PM
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Thank you so much everyone.... you've been very helpful. The artists club site is terrific. I'm really looking forward to getting started!

    Bookmark   November 23, 2001 at 12:27PM
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Also, a really good book is "The Complete Book of Decorative Painting" by Tera Leigh. You can get it at I am on another painting forum and everyone who has bought it, says it is wonderful. I am hoping to get it from Santa. I've heard that it is especially great for beginners, but all painters would benefit from it.

Hope that helps and happy painting!
malden, ma

    Bookmark   November 27, 2001 at 4:11PM
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I am new to this forumn. I would like to know if anyone
has used the one stroke painting videos and books by
Donna Dewberry. I saw her on PBS last week end and she
just make painting look so easy. But, you had to join
PBS for $150 in order to get the kit. Thanks. JOY

    Bookmark   December 7, 2001 at 12:13AM
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For a beginner (and beyond) Donna's books are great. She takes all of the guesswork out of shading and highlighting for you so you can create nice projects quickly. But remember it still takes a little practice. The thing to remember about painting is that your finished project does not have to look exactly like the one in the book. It's the process that counts.

I have videos (only because they were parts of kits) and most of her books. I really like her large hardcover books. I'm a book person so I use the books for ideas and very rarely look at the videos. But people who own the videos seem to really like them and say they help to learn her technique. I'm a seasoned painter so I've been painting for many years and still enjoy the 'old' way of shading and highlighting but sometimes I use her technique when I have a lot to do of one item for a bazaar to make them up quickly. And sometimes I intermix the two.

Donna's books the Complete Book of One Stroke Painting and her One Stroke Painting Course are both available at along with many of her other books that are usually sold in kits. They also sell her other supplies.

If you are interested in a video kit or other complete kit with book, paint, brushes, and everything else you need to get started, a good place to buy them is QVC at

The kits are complete with everything you need to get started and most of the kits are sold in themes (christmas, angels, flowers, etc.) and you could buy 3 or 4 for $150!! One set she has that I bought some time ago was her binder series. It's found at QVC and at her site

All these years that I've painted I always wanted to but was afraid to attempt landscapes. Her binder series is the only set she has that covers landscapes and her technique made it very simple. I finally painted a seascape and I was very pleased with the outcome. The series includes animals, flowers, landscapes, and holiday, and more and is a great reference guide.

Go to the sites I mentioned and check her books & kits
out. Artists Club will allow you to browse the books to see what they offer and I would recommend QVC for any kits.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2001 at 11:41AM
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The following message is for Kraftymom. I wroted to Donna Dewberry for her binder series for her technique of landscapes. Is there a name to it? I have look at the artist's club and I haven't seen anything on landscapes with Donna Dewberry.
I would appreciate if you can give me more information.

Thank you


    Bookmark   December 26, 2001 at 10:14PM
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Beautiful Brushstrokes is a good book to practice the strokes and it has alot of additional info in it. If you can give me you email address, I will sent it to you.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2015 at 1:47PM
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