"Art of" books: the case for them, and my recommendations

  • SVS OG

    Here's my video on the subject: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dNXSaVaUimU

    As an artist you need creative deposits, and one of the best sources is studying "art of" books.

    The case for "Art of" books:

    1. "Art of" books have art in them not found anywhere else, and even if you could find the art, it would be all over the place and a pain to collect. You could save them all in one file, but they would be out of context and, if you're like me, you tend to forget about files on your hard drive. I book on the shelf next to you, or sitting on your desk top gets looked at, read, and absorbed.

    2. "Art of" books are an artifact of the collective wisdom that went into the production of the project. You can tap into that wisdom when working on your own projects.

    3. If you are wanting to make films, video games, or animation, "art of" books show you the bar that you have to reach. They teach how these things were produced, they show production flow, design process, and story evolution.

    Qualities of a great art of book:

    1. A LOT of Art, there’s more art than screen grabs from the film, in fact, aside from a few exceptions there shouldn’t be any screen grabs from the film.

    2. The orientation of the book should match the orientation of the media it’s documenting.

    3. A comprehensive look at what went into the film. Don’t leave things untouched

    4. Images properly credited

    5. A good documentation of the thinking and development that went into the art. Should have lot's of Interviews and quotes from creators.

    Here's the books I shared on the video:

    The Art of Pixar: http://amzn.to/2rnICMo
    The Art of Masters of the Universe: http://amzn.to/2ti95HC
    The Art of the Croods: http://amzn.to/2sxVWgD
    The Art of Zootopia: http://amzn.to/2rXpTG1
    The Art of District 9: http://amzn.to/2sYAxuz

    Do you guys have any favorite "art of" books we should know about?

  • @Jake-Parker Hi, this week Iam intensively watching your courses, so Ive heard a lot about 'creative deposits' 😉 BTW I really like the way you structure and describe things, you are a very good teacher. But anyway, have you heard about '21 DRAW' books? I don't have them yet, but my favourite Australian artist was giving them great recommendations. Here is the link https://www.21-draw.com

  • I have five "Art of" books and I wish I had about a hundred more. So far I have: The Art of Moana, The Art of Howl's Moving Castle, The World of Edward Gorey, The Art of Loish, and one on Pablo Picasso. Sometimes the library will have some cool ones. I checked out one about the Far Side recently.

    I agree, they are so inspiring and great for creative deposits.

  • If I had all of the money in the world I would spend it on art books and fresh produce. It would be the best life.

    I feel like there are always SO many art books out there that I want to own. And lately it seems like any movie that comes out comes with an art book, so there are always plenty of new ones coming down the pipe! Thanks for the suggestions Jake.

    I happen to also be a big fan of sketchbook style art books, everyone should check out The Skillful Huntsman for a sweet example of what I mean. I love it when artists I follow just release sketchbooks or concept art collections from their personal projects. So amazing to leaf through.

  • SVS OG

    @Jake-Parker "Designing Secret of Kells" is a really great one too 🙂

  • Pro SVS OG

    This collection is always on the grow. My favorites are

    The Art of Rise of the Guardians
    The Art of Ratatouille
    The Art of How to Train your Dragon 2 (lots of Nico Marlet´s awesomeness)
    The Art of Alice: Madness Returns
    The Art of the Boxtrolls
    The Art of Dreamworks Animation

    The latter has one major flaw in that it does not credit the images, but contains lots of art from films that have no "Art of" book by themselves.
    I also highly recommend the Disney Archive Series, with production art from all Disney´s 2D films.

  • Pro SVS OG

    @Kevin-Longueil I want this one so bad, but it cost 100 USD if I order it from here....I have occasionally spent this much for a book, but it takes some thinking over .... 😞

  • SVS OG

    @smceccarelli $50 for shipping! if there was any way i could ship one to you to save a bit i would have no problem doing that! I cannot seem to find one locally online for you at the moment though..not even Powell's books - i'll keep my eyes peeled though 🙂

  • Pro SVS OG

    @Kevin-Longueil I found one by the mythical StuartNG books (and where else?). If you do not know this shop, you should check it out:


    It is an internet reseller based in California that specialises in art books and comics and has literally everything you could ever dream of in this field.
    I have ordered from him several times, but the shipments costs are very high from the US, plus I often have to pay a customs fee. On more than one occasion, books were sent back or just lost at customs, so I have become very weary of ordering anything from the US.
    When I travel to the US, I can ask him to time the shipment so that it reaches me at the hotel - or just wait for a used copy to come to Amazon at a reasonable price.

  • Oh I love them all, they are so inspiring! love Collecting them. Tangled
    art of Rio
    Art of Loish
    Kung fu Panda
    The Book of Life! my favorite!
    Art of Frozen is the last one I bought.

    Next on the wish list is The Pirates and Boxtrolls

  • I also have many "art of" book! Love to use them as reference of simply look through them! My favorite is Art of Wreck-it-Ralph! I HAVE to buy Zootopia and ratatouille!!

  • One of my favourite art books is 'the Art of Kubo and the Two Strings'. Pages filled with art with the artists name underneath, descriptions of characters and their characteristics.
    They also have amazing spreads on thumbnail storyboards to really set scenes.

    I also love (although not an art of book) The Skillful Huntsman. Really amazing ideas these guys had, and they show you so many techniques of character design and how to start simple e.g. Using the silhouette approach. There backgrounds and scenes as well are amongst the most amazing I've seen, the detail, mood, and tone are fascinating and help create so much atmosphere.

  • I have some art books I keep looking at every so often, here are a few- Sorry I know some have been mentioned already:

    Spectrum Fantastic art books (I used to collect these when I was first getting into doing digital art around 2004)
    the art of Dreamworks Animation (amazing stuff)
    Harry Potter page to screen
    the art of Rise of the Tombraider (I wish I had the first art book as well but it was limited numbers or something and now it's crazy expensive to get a copy)
    The skillful huntsman
    The art of Alice Madness Returns
    The Chesley Awards (art to drool over)
    An old AOI Images annual from the 80's I found in a second hand bookstore (amazing quality of Illustration back then).
    Art history books- I love the Pre Raphaelites and Alphonse Mucha.
    I have too many books now, I need a bigger house.

  • An out of print book that can be purchased used is "The Art of Will Eisner". If you have an interest in comics, graphic novels, composition in any genre of art it is well worth a look.

    Will pretty much created the graphic novel and today the comic industry's Oscar award equivalent is "The Eisner Award".

  • Here are a couple of "Art of" books that I like that haven't been mentioned yet.

    Art of Journey
    Monster Hunter Illustrations (1 and 2)
    Okami Official Complete Works

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