My 5 Favorite Art and Business Books
Books. Anyone else out there still love tangible books? These 5 art and business books, in particular, have changed my life in a very literal sense! From the simple “How To Draw Trees” book my mom picked up for me at the thrift store, to the business tips and biographical career stories of some of my favorite artists, I wanted to share my 5 favorite art and business books with you so that you may have the opportunity to learn from them too!
They are listed in no specific order:
1. Louder Than Words by Todd Henry
I have read this book more than one time and marked it up with underlines, stars, and exclamation points each time. It’s that good!! “Harness the power of your authentic voice ” is the first thing you read when you open the book and as an artist, that is something I attempt to achieve with every painting I create. Although I think this book can apply to a wide range of businesses, as an artist, your “voice” is the unique flair you bring to an otherwise mundane image. It can take years for an artist to develop a style that is clearly their own “voice”. This book does an excellent job breaking down how to find who you are, where you are going, and how you will get there in three clear chapters titled: Identity, Vision, and Mastery. The author helps define your audience while providing advice on what it means to be a creative leader. Towards the end, Henry gives useful tips on how to practice developing your own voice to stand out from the crowd and ultimately succeed in the industry you’ve chosen to work in. If you’re just starting something new, whether it be a business, a painting, or a car build, this book is sure to motivate you!
2. She Works His Way by Michelle Meyers and Somer Phoebus
This faith based book is a breath of fresh air. It will always hold space on my studio bookshelf, as its lessons are priceless reminders in a world where we are taught to strive for more and more, no matter the cost. I would highly recommend this read to any business owner or working person who’s fell victim to the never ceasing demands of a hustle driven culture. This book will simply remind you what Jesus says our work should actually look like. In its pages you’ll learn the importance of actively resting to benefit your career and your family. It will teach you how to use social media in a more genuine and time-safe way. Ultimately, you’ll learn who’s approval you should be seeking and how to define real success. If you’re sick of social media overtaking your life, working endless hours (like I was), teetering on the edge of burnout, and not prioritizing what/who is most important in your life, then this book is for you. I would send a copy to everyone of my working friends, especially those with kids, if I could!
3. The Complete Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron
This book is for you if you’re at a creative block or have just suffered the defeat of not meeting a lofty goal. Through basic daily rituals such a guided writing prompts, and taking time to go on what the author calls “artist dates”, this book and 12 week study guide truly helps nurture your creativity back to life. While this book can kind of get a little weirdly “spiritual” in some places, I highly recommend it for people struggling with negative self talk, fear around income, jealously of others, writer block, and workaholism.
4. A Rockwell Portrait by Donald Walton
As some of you know, one of my favorite artists is Norman Rockwell. I was in the best used bookstore in our home town and happen to pick up this gem of a book! It was life changing. After reading it I have come to realize that even the greatest artists of all time sometimes struggled with the realties of the same things we deal with today. If it’s not this exact artist biography, I encourage you to pick up books on your own heroes. Whether they be artists, craftsmen, or entrepreneurs, their life stories of failure and success are sure to help you feel less lonely, encouraged, and maybe even inspired.
5. ALLLLL the How-To Books
How-to art books were the “YouTube” of my time. Although YouTube has become a helpful tool to look up and learn certain things, there’s something special about a how-to art book that seems to work best for me. I am continually on the look out for vintage sign painting books and large paper back how-to books from the past. They are not only a fantastic way to learn, but their hand drawn illustrations and simple photos are timeless and inspiring. I also keep an eye out for used college books. I kept all of my college art book because, hey , they were expensive as heck, but they are also chalk full of useful information. Here’s a list of some of my favorite how-to books with links to purchase them:
Contemporary Color Theory & Use by Steven Bleicher
Painting Light with Colored Pencil by Cecile Baird
Watercolor Landscape in Association with the Royal Academy of Arts by Ray Smith
Pinstriping Masters published by Nikko Press, A Subsidiary of Airbrush Action INC.
How To Draw Lifelike Portraits from Photographs by Lee Hammond
Beginning Glass Blowing by Edward T. Schmid
Lettering for Advertising by Mortimer Leach (Vintage)
Disney’s How To Draw Pocahontas by Philo Barnhart (any of the drawing books from Disney in the 90’s are great for practicing illustrative pin-up drawing and animal characters often found in pinstripe illustrations designs)
Any of the paper back “Walter Foster Art Books” (Vintage)
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