Recommended Book List

  • Hey SVS'ers,

    I wanted to make a list of books that we all should check out as I'm always hunting for new reads. So, I thought we could make a list of books we think other's might find helpful.

    You can have inspiration, instruction or both. Each with 5 recommendations.

    Anyway, here are mine (in no particular order and I'm almost certainly missing obvious ones)...

    Charles Solomon The Art of the Disney Golden Books
    Jeff Kurtti The Art of Tangled
    Various Lovely: Ladies of Animation
    John Canemaker The Art and Flair of Mary Blair
    Eric Goldberg An Animator's Gallery

    Frank Thomas, Ollie Johnston The Illusion of Life
    David Chelsea Perspective! for Comic Book Artists
    Molly Bang How Pictures Work
    George Bridgman Bridgmanโ€™s Complete Guide to Drawing from Life
    Tom Richmond The Mad Art of Caricature!


  • Great idea Ace. Here's mine:

    Walt Stanchfield Drawn to Life
    Marcos Mateu-Mestre Framed Ink
    James Gurney Color and Light
    Ken Hultgren The Art of Animal Drawing

  • Secret Teachings of a Comic Book Master: The Art of Alfredo Alcala.
    How to Render by Scott Robertson
    How to Draw: Drawing and Sketching Objects and Environments from Your Imagination by Scott Robertson
    Art Fundamentals Beloeil

    I have so many others, lol i can list them all, but the above ones are good.

  • @Damien-Rambacher Yes! Three out of the four you mentioned nearly made it to my list. Both the Drawn to Life books are stunning. I remember when the first one came out, I bought it and was on a train for 6 or 7 hours and I started reading at minute 1 and didn't stop until I got there. Amazing books! Both the James Gurney books are great and his dinosaur oil paintings that are in Color & Light are just stunning! I've not read Framed Ink, but I've heard nothing but good stuff about it, so I'll be sure to pick it up!

    @Steve-Young I've never read a single book on your list haha! I'll be sure to pick them up. I'm in the UK and it looks like Secret Teachings of a Comic Book Master isn't coming out until 27th November, so I'll pre-order it. I've heard a lot of great things about the Scott Robertson books as well. My Christmas list to Santa this year is going to be pretty book-heavy I think ๐Ÿ™‚


  • Yesterday I bought the art of 'Book of life' and The art of RIO. Its just so inspiring. I like to watch animation for inspiration. I have a book about anatomy witch is very helpful, and I watch a lot of youtube video's for inspiration and instruction. Ill check out some of your suggestions Ace.

  • SVS OG

    Here are mine:

    The Art of Blue Sky Studios
    The Art of Pixar
    The Art of Rio
    The Art of Ratatouille
    Quentin Blake: Words and Pictures

    The Blue Sky Studios one is really good - a massive doorstopper of a book, so many pages and packed with a really nice variety of stunning artwork. The Art of Rio also really strong on character sketches (my favourite thing). Whatโ€™s really good about The Art of Pixar is that it has every single colourscript and so interesting to see how they use colour as an integral part of telling the story. The Quentin Blake book is lovely for fans of traditional ink, again a wide variety of his work and such great character/gestures to be inspired by.

    Instruction - again a vote for Drawn to Life by Walt Stanchfield from me.

    Oh I imagine you've probably all been here already but is the best place to preview art books - he has videos that give a really good idea of whatโ€™s inside before you buy ๐Ÿ™‚

  • @Dulcie The Art of Pixar is on my Christmas List, so hopefully Papa Crimbo will have it in his sack for me - I've wanted it for a while now. I've not got the Art of Blue Sky. I have no idea why not. I'll have to pick that one up too!

    Surprisingly, I've never been on that website! I've bookmarked it now ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks!


  • SVS OG

    Ah glad to be of help...The Art of Dreamworks is on my Christmas list so will hopefully get to see what that's like ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Rudolph's really going to have to pull his weight this year! There's a whole load of heavy books coming everyone's way ๐Ÿ™‚


  • @Ace-Connell I got it on preorder (i am in the uk) great little book!

  • SVS OG

    I haven't seen many of "The Art of..." books but I've always wanted to get a few for myself. This will be a good spot to start.

    A book I read recently that has been an inspiration for me is "Steal Like An Artist" by Austin Kleon. It's a very easy read, but it touches on the concepts of creativity and originality in a way that I think all of us as artists need to be reminded of from time to time. At the very least, for me, it seemed to remove some of the pressure involved with trying to find my own voice as an artist.

  • @shinjifujioka I added two of his books into my cart on Amazon like 2 days ago but never bought them. One was a black cover (the one you're on about I think) and the other was a yellow cover. I never bought them though haha. Maybe I should.


  • SVS OG

    My favorite instructional books are by Stephanie Pui-mun Law - They are aimed at watercolor instruction, but still have tons of great information on design and color

    I just picked up Shadowline - Art of Iain McCaig and Art of Totoro, both are just incredible!! I would recommend Shadowline to everyone!

  • Wow, thanks @Lynn-Larson - these are some more books I've never heard of. I'm learning loads from this thread haha.


  • SVS OG

    @Ace-Connell I buy one art book a month, whether it is a reference book or an art of book. I try to mix it up - different artists, or different reference. I have star wars books, one is a cutaway...OMG! This month i picked up art of how to train your dragon, but havent had a chance to look through it. Next month will be a ref book, i think i'm going to look for an arch style. Amazon has tons of them, and i get used ones. they are cheaper, and i don't have to worry about using them more ๐Ÿ™‚

  • @rich-green When we were talking about perspective before, the book I listed in my first post (David Chelsea Perspective! for Comic Book Artists) may be quite helpful.

    It's actually set out like a comic book, the whole thing, and manages to explain perspective in a really entertaining way. Here's a photo of inside to show you what I mean.



  • SVS OG

    @Ace-Connell thanks! I am adding it onto my book wishlist (which seems to have grown much longer ever since our discussions have started)!!!

  • @Rich-Green I'd apologise but we both know that it'd be disingenuous ๐Ÿ™‚


  • You have mentioned a lot of books that I would list. So, these are bit more focused on comics, but some of what's in them would apply to art in general.

    If you're interested in making comics, check out Scott McCloud's Understanding Comics and Making Comics. The first is good for understanding the general history of sequential art, the theory behind it, and a little on the story telling elements. Making Comics is good for creating comics, not just in the mechanics but it also touches on elements such as facial expressions and body gesture, perspective, and pacing.

    Another good one is Framed Ink by Marocs Mateu-Mestre, and he focuses on visual storytelling. This is a good one if you're interested in composition and story telling through your images, whether through a single image or a series of images, such as in a comic or animation or live action.

    One good general art book would be James Gurney's other book, Imaginative Realism, which helps make the transition from drawing what you see into drawing imaginary scenarios. The core idea is if you want to sell your fantastic image, base it on the real world, and this book shows you how.

  • SVS OG

    @Asatira Thanks for pointing out the James Gurney one. My wish list is getting longer by the day too!