I've got a general question that I bet gets asked all the time.
My current reference library consists of some books on anatomy & expression. I've got a few by Da Vinci, an extensive reference of muscles and bones and I've recently purchased Hogarth's books on anatomy & expression of body and hands.
I'm looking to expand my library with books on composition, lighting, and I don't know what else I might need... So do you guys have any recommendations on good books to study, ideally available through Amazon? I'd also appreciate if you could recommend other fields that are important to study through reading rather than through observation.
As I said, I'm sure that these questions get asked all the time but searching the forums for "books recommended" turned up nothing useful...
Anything and Everything by Andrew Loomis is essential in my estimation. In particular "Creative Illustration"", Figure Drawing for All It's Worth", and "The Eye of the Painter". They are all out of print but fugitive PDF's can be found on-line.
I also have a set of the old Famous Artists correspondence course. I know it sounds cheesy but they were compiled in a less cynical time and have chapters written by some real illustration heavy-weights such as Rockwell, Albert Dorne, Fred Ludkens, John Whitcomb, Austin Briggs, Al Parker, Robert Fawcett etc. Again, hard to find (got mine on ebay), I know that the Animation Archive site has published them in part.
I'm also a big fan of the ubiquitous "How to Draw"Jack Hamm books. Really solid and specific info in them, particularly if you actually take the time to read them.
Since I do a fair amount of storyboarding, I've really learned a ton about storytelling and composition from a number of books on cinematography. Namely "Shot by Shot" and "The Five C's of Cinematography".
My background is in animation so I've alos drawn immense inspiration and technical knowledge (particularly a lot about posing and composition) from various animation sources, most useful in my estimation is "The Illusion of Life" as it covers the whole gamut of disciplines employed in producing animation.
Two books I would recommend are “Alla Prima; Everything I Know About Painting”, by Richard Schmid; and “Picture This; How Pictures Work” by Molly Bang, on composition.
Also, there’s the link in my sig called “Concept Art 101”, which is free.
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Thanks guys. I'm going through various online resources like the ones here at CA, and those Loomis books look great, thanks for the tips. I'll definetily look more into those. Time is the most limiting factor for me right now. I want more TIME to study goddammit!
One reason for asking for books specifically is for me to be able to study AWAY from the computer. It's way too distracting in itself, you have too many options on things to do to really be able to focus on reading. "I'm just gonna check my mail" and there went another hour... Plus, it's uncomfortable to read from the screen and yada yada...
So while I appreciate tips of all kinds of resources, books that are available for sale is really my prime quest for the time being.
I find Bridgman's anatomy book to be very helpful. It really helped me improve my knowledge of the forms of the human body.
Also, if you want some good books about animal drawing/creature design, Jack Hamm's How to Draw Animals and Joe Weatherly's Guide to Drawing Animals are both good ones. I learned a lot from Weatherly's book just by searching inside it on Amazon.com (I don't even own it)!
Hogarth's book on cloth wrinkles and folds is also a pretty good one.
If you can, print out the PDFs That's what I did then put them together in a binder. I hate reading books on the computer. Admittedly, I have access to a high speed laser printer and that makes the job bearable.
Check out Vilppu's work. My room mate took some classes with him, and she does amazing figure work out of her head. I've seen books by him around, and I believe that he also has a few instructional DVDs.
Yeah, so I printed out the "Figure drawing..." one, and when I'm through with that I guess I'll print the rest, and then move on to other suggestions like Jack Hamm and Vilppu etc. For now I'm just psyched with these ones I found... I'm definitely saving this thread for future reference.
"purchased Hogarth's books on anatomy & expression of body and hands."
I've been told that Hogarth is great from studying gestures and figure invention and everything but anatomy from, because his characters have balloons for muscles... hehe =)
Anyway, check this page out for Marshall Vandruff's recommendations on anatomy books and other subjects, and if you're lucky enough to live in SoCal, then go to those seminars!
I glanced through some of the books listed above:
Yes, Bridgeman, yes Richard Schmid, yes Molly Bang, yes Nicolaides (if you can handle it! I honestly haven't used it yet...)
Books that have helped me also include the Animator's Survival Kit (because I'm interested in learning animation, which should improve my gestures and skills in general when applied to illustration, my main area of interest) and Force by Mike Mattesi ; I had some revelations after I read part of it late one night and had figure drawing class the next day.
I also bought other art books in general that aern't necessarily made to be instructional, but should be studied nonetheless. Dover publications has tons and tons of old master artbooks that you can buy and do gesture drawings and master copies from as regular self assigned homework assignments... Scott McCloud's books on Understanding Comics and making them also helped out... and books like the concept art of Star Wars and their descriptions gives another POV of how things happened in the concept art industry, for that company anyway
Alla Prima - Everything I Know About Painting (Richard Schmid)
Harley Brown's Eternal Truths for Every Artist (Harley Brown)
Drawing Manual (Glenn Vilppu)
Constructive Anatomy (George Bridgman)
Figure Drawing (Henry Yan)
Drawing Lessons from the Great Masters (Robert B. Hale)
Figure Drawing Without a Model (Ron Tiner)
Atlas of Human Anatomy for the Artist (Peck)
The Drawing Book (Sarah Simblet)
Classical Drawing Atelier (Aristides)
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