Artists' Favourite Art Books
What's Your Favourite Art Book?
This is a list of favourite art books - compiled from the responses of artists who read my popular art blog. I asked them two questions:(1) Do you have a favourite art book? (What is is it and why?) and(2) Is there one book which had a huge impact on you and your work?These are their perennial favourite art books of as suggested on my blog. I've subsequently added in those books identified as top art books in later years.If you want to share what is your favourite art book you can leave a comment at the end.Read my blog posts (below) to find out more about what people have had to say about learning using art instruction books and which are their favourite art books - across drawing and sketching, colour and painting using acrylics, watercolour and oil.* Art Instruction Books #1: different ways of learning* Art Books #2 - the economics of publishing* Your favourite art books - what you like
Favourite Books about DRAWING AND SKETCHING
Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain: The Definitive, 4th Edition - by Betty Edwards
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED Currently Rated 4.7 out of 5 stars (315 customer reviews)This is the latest and 4th edition of the classic drawing-instruction book by Dr. Betty Edwards that has sold more than 2,500,000 copies. It was published April 2012 and is once again topping the chart for drawing books* Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain was first published in 1979, it hit the New York Times bestseller list within two weeks and stayed there for more than a year.* In 1989, the 2nd edition went straight to the Times list again.* On the 20th anniversary the 3rd edition was published and sold steadily.
Paperback: 320 pagesPublisher: Tarcher; 4 edition (April 26, 2012)
Keys to Drawing - by Bert Dodson
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED - see my book reviewCurrently rated 4.7 out of 5 stars (128 customer reviews)PLUS This is the book most people buy having read this website!Bert Dodson's successful method of "teaching anyone who can hold a pencil" how to draw has made this tome one of the most popular, best-selling art books in history -- an essential reference for every artist's library!Dodson offers a complete system for developing drawing skills, basing his approach on 55 "keys" to drawing -- rules that don't need to be memorized, but realized. Dodson helps artists learn to trust their eyes and sharpen their observation skills through 48 practice exercises, reviews, and self-evaluations. Topics include learning to control proportion, scale, movement, depth, pattern and more!
The Drawing Book: An Innovative, Practical Approach to Drawing the World Around You - by Sarah Simblet
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED Read more in my extended book review on my blog.If you feel you are most comfortable with traditional rendering/realism then this is probably not the book for you. However it emphatically earns in my view a five pencil rating for those keen to develop their drawing skills beyond technically correct rendering and/or are interested in drawing in art history and/or those who just want to develop their drawing generally. This book is a 'must buy' - I guarantee you will be blown away by it.
Hardcover: 264 pagesPublisher: Dorling Kindersley Publishers Ltd (May 26, 2005)
Favourite Books about COLOUR
Color and Light by James Gurney - A Guide for the Realist Painter
Ranked #1 in the Top 100 Painting Books - BEFORE it is published on the strength of pre-publication sales.Published in November 2010, this has become a best selling and constantly top rated book on Amazon.Rated 4.8 out of 5 stars by 196 customer reviews on Amazon.com. It is one of the top rated art books for sale today.James Gurney's art instruction book is excellent. I followed the development of the material for this book on his blog and knew that this book was going to become a very important book about colourI was then sent a review copy - and it is indeed a very informative and helpful book - here's my book review Book Review: Color and Light by James Gurney
Paperback: 224 pagesPublisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing; Original edition (November 30, 2010)
Making Color Sing, 25th Anniversary Edition by Jeanne Dobie - Practical Lessons in Color and Design
Rated an average of 4.7 out of 5 stars based on 33 customer reviewsRanked #2 in Books > Textbooks > Humanities > Visual Arts > PaintingIf you want the bang up to date version of Jeanne Dobie's highly recommended book this is it.It also includes an updated listing of paint colours - revised for present day knowledge about lightfastness (see also http://www.jeannedobie.com/palette.html)Published in paperback in January 2011 - and hence not available when my original survey was done
Paperback: 160 pagesPublisher: Watson-Guptill; 25 Anv Rep edition (January 11, 2011)
More Books about COLOUR - recommended by practising artists
HIGHLY RECOMMENDEDRated 4.3 out of 5 stars by 69 customer reviews on Amazon This guide published in 2004 is by the best-selling author of Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain. It distills the enormous existing knowledge about colour theory into a practical method of working with colour to produce harmonious combinations.This is a must-have primer for people wanting to learn more about colour by an author who focuses on making art theory and practice accessible.
Rated 4.3 out of 5 stars by 13 customer reviews on AmazonCrespo presents 40 exercises that explore a range of watercolor techniques and challenge the artist's imagination.
This text introduces students in all the visual arts to color theory, the physiology and psychology of color perception, and the physics of color. It also offers tips for putting that knowledge into practice in a variety of media, from painting and other fine arts to interior design, architecture, fashion design, ceramics, textile design, and needlework. Four dimensions of color--"hue, value, intensity, and temperature--"are discussed in detail.
Favourite Books about being a CREATIVE ARTIST
recommended by practising artists
The Creative License: Giving Yourself Permission to Be the Artist You Truly Are - by Danny Gregory
RECOMMENDED - Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars based on 112 customer reviewsA handwritten and fully-illustrated guide offers an approach to reconnecting with one's own creative energies--using drawing as an example--that ultimately leads to self-expression and creativeness without fear.Not everybody likes the handwritten approach.
Paperback: 208 pagesPublisher: Hyperion; 12.2.2005 edition (December 21, 2005)
Questions about art instruction books
You're invited to leave your thoughts as a comment (see the end)
Art Instruction books are supposed to help people learn. So - here are some things to think about:* Is it possible to become an artist just by reading books?* Can you really learn all you need to know from books?* Do art instruction books help to make it easier to become an artist?* Can art instruction books - which show art as a simple step by step process - make it possible to speed up the process of learning how to make art?
Making A Mark - looks at art instruction books
These are links to the reviews of the state of the art book market and the publishing industry in 2009
- Making a Mark: Art Instruction Books #1: different ways of learning
my post today looks at art books and the curse of the 'five easy steps' mentality. What follows today and tomorrow are some thoughts on:* the way people learn* the way people learn about art* the nature of instruction available in art books and* the
- Making a Mark: Art Books #2 - the economics of publishing
Following on from Art Instruction Books #1: different ways of learning in this post I'm aiming to ponder and reflect on the economic of publishing and its influence on content.
- Making a Mark: Your favourite art books - what you like
This is for people who read art instruction books and those who write and publish them. Plus any would-be authors out there. It's grown out of the views expressed about art instruction books in the comments made on two posts last week
- Making a Mark: What sort of art book is missing from our bookshelves?
I've been asking what sort of art book is missing from our bookshelves. You've been volunteering your comments and views about which are the published books you like and what sort of book you would like to see on your shelves - if it were available.
- Making a Mark: Favourite Art Books - Resources for Artists
In January, this blog looked at art instruction books and you were invited to nominate your favourite art book - which lots of you did and then some!
Favourite Books about WATERCOLOUR PAINTING
recommended by practising artists
Favourite Books about WATERCOLOUR PAINTING - recommended by practising artists
Rated 5.0 out of 5 stars by 17 customer reviewsUnique among watercolor instruction books, "The Art of Watercolor" presents a comprehensive course of study that combines studio lessons on the technical properties of the medium with art history and visual theory. 150 color illustrations.
Rated 4.5 out of 5 stars by 22 customer reviews on Amazon.comThe most thorough guide to watercolor materials and techniques ever assembled in a single volume, this is the book for anyone working with watercolors, from beginners to experienced artists looking to develop more professional skills.
A practical, stimulating, and superbly illustrated book for the intermediate watercolourist who is looking for greater challenges in their work. Shirley Trevena's watercolours are visually inspiring, vibrant with colour and strong in composition. This book shows what stunning results she achieves and how she does it by taking risks with watercolour. Taking you through her paintings from the first concept to the finished watercolour, Shirley explains and illustrates her techniques for producing exciting, luminous and colourful watercolours. Although watercolour is a difficult medium to handle, Shirley maintains that you get the best results if you have no sense of fear and just let yourself enjoy watercolour's fascinating versatility. In Taking Risks With Watercolour Shirley Trevena teaches her own prize-winning techniques and encourages the reader to experiment with colour, composition and tone to produce exciting still life, landscape and flower paintings.Contents include: * What shall I paint? * Composing a picture * Large scale and small scale * Getting started and making marks * Developing the painting * Taking risks with colour * Experiments with tone * Bold textures and patterns * Getting it wrong * Moving on
Favourite Books about OIL PAINTING
recommended by practising artists
ALLA PRIMA II: Everything I Know About Painting - and More EXPANDED EDITION - by Richard Schmid with Katie Swatland
This is the second edition of Richard Schmid's famous book - now revised and expanded - but still based on the original book which was enormously popular and went through 13 printingsAverage Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars based on 22 customer reviews)
Paperback: 328 pagesPublisher: Stove Prairie Press, LLC; 1ST edition (2013)
Fill Your Oil Paintings with Light & Color Paperback - by Kevin MacPherson
Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars based on 70 customer reviewsA book which is very popular with a number of oil painters. Considered to be full of good tips and advice
Paperback: 144 pagesPublisher: North Light Books; New edition edition (March 1, 2000)
The Oil Painting Book: Materials and Techniques for Today's Artist
Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars based on 45 customer reviewsGoodreads: 3.79 average rating, 24 ratings, 4 reviews, added by 58 peopleThis is probably the most useful book when it comes to looking at oil painting materials. It also has excellent sections on on oil painting techniques.A book for those wanting to ground themselves thoroughly in the knowledge needed to become an oil painter
Series: Watson-Guptill Materials and TechniquesPaperback: 176 pagesPublisher: Watson-Guptill; New edition edition (March 1, 1999)
Grupp on Painting: Direct Techniques in Oil - by Emile A. Grupp (Author), Charles Movalli (Editor), John Lavin (Editor)
Regarded as one of the best books for learning about "alla prima" painting
Hardcover: 167 pagesPublisher: Watson-Guptill Publications; 1st edition (1976)
Capturing the Moment in Oils - by David Curtis (Author), Robin Capon (Author)
RECOMMENDED - Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars See all reviews (9 customer reviews)David Curtis is an enormously popular English painter of landscapes and marine scenes who works in both oils and watercolour. This book will appeal more to the artist looking to improve the quality of their work rather than those who need step by step instruction
In praise of older books and other people's habits when buying books
I use sites and bookshops which sell second books to buy art books which are out of print. Some of the best art books I've got are ones you can only buy second hand - and often they're in very good condition
- Greywaren Art: Thoughts on Book-Buying
Maggie Stiefvater on buying art books
- MAKING A MARK: In praise of older art books - free and digital
Seriously, I've come very late in the day to the notion of buying used books on the internet. I've also only just started to investigate the digital books which are available to read for free (or download as a file) on the Internet.
- MAKING A MARK: In praise of older art books - used and low cost
Why buy second hand art books? Here's a few reasons:* you can buy books you'd NEVER see on the art bookshelves of a book shop* you can buy classic art books which are no longer in print.
- MAKING A MARK: What types of art book do you like best? (MAM Poll Results)
The headline results (below) completely contradict the direction art instruction publishers have been taking of late - towards 'dumbing down' and ever simpler books for beginners with lots of pictures and very little text.
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Last updated on August 19, 2014
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