Books for Beginners

I recently received an email from an old student seeking advice and inspiration for launching a career in art. She only asked one question- a surprisingly good question. What books influenced, inspired or helped you in your career?

I’m not sure I can pinpoint any one book that was of particular significance for me when I was starting out but, I can recommend these books.

Inside the Painter’s Studio by Joe Fig
This is a series of simple Q+A’s with contemporary artists and a glimpse inside their day-to-day life at the studio. To most recent illustration grads, the notion that he or she will actually make a livingĀ  by drawing pictures seems like a fairytale. This practical portrayal of life as an artist can help make a fantastical career seem a tad more real. Includes incredible artists such as Julie Mehretu, Dana Schutz, Amy Sillman, Fred Tomaselli, Will Cotton and Chuck Close.

Making Movies by Sydney Lumet.
If you haven’t the slightest interest in films and how they are made (or were made), this one might not work for you but, I found it fascinating. Most useful are his words about developing a consistent theme throughout a project and how that theme informs the entire process from set design, costume, music, and color. It’s a valuable lesson that correlates to drawing, painting, illustration, and design.

A Smile in the Mind
A must have for anyone entering the field of design and related practices such as illustration. These are great examples of the origins of conceptual image making and visual wit.

How to think like a great Graphic Designer by Debbie Millman
Illustration in publishing is really just one facet of the larger practice of graphic design. And, designers are the ones who seek out illustrators and give them money to make pictures. So, get to know the people in this book.

Hope these help. I would love to hear your favorite, inspirational books!

Design books Illustration books art books chris silas neal christopher silas neal Debbie Millman Sydney Lumet

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    I once had an awesome beginner design book, but I loaned it to a friend and never saw it again. It had some great rules...
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