Recommended art books for self learning
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  1. #1
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    Recommended art books for self learning

    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...

    Thanks in advance!

    - Current project <- Crit away!
    - The Whyatt Sketchbook Any tips appreciated

    Quote Originally Posted by Venger
    sometimes your first thought is always right
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  2. #2
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    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.

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  4. #3
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    Hi Whyatt,

    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.

    I think you are awesome, and I wish you the best in your endeavors, but I am tired of repeating myself, I am very busy with my new baby, and I am no longer a regular participant here, so please do not contact me to ask for advice on your career or education. All of the advice that I have to offer can already be found in the following links. Thank you.

    Perspective 101, Concept Art 101, Games Industry info,Oil Paint info, Acrylic Paint info, my sketchbook.
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  6. #4
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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.

    Thanks guys!

    - Current project <- Crit away!
    - The Whyatt Sketchbook Any tips appreciated

    Quote Originally Posted by Venger
    sometimes your first thought is always right
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  7. #5
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    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.

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  9. #6
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    A personal favourite is The Natural Way to Draw, by Kimon Nicolaides. No clear-cut recipes, not much hard information, he just makes you draw...

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  11. #7
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    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.

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    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.

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  15. #9
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    I'm eyeing through the Loomis book right now and it frigging ROCKS! A real eye-opener... Thank you so much! I will get back to all of your suggestions eventually as I really need the study, but damn.

    I don't know how I managed before without this... Well I guess I didn't, but still. You know what I mean. Thanks!

    - Current project <- Crit away!
    - The Whyatt Sketchbook Any tips appreciated

    Quote Originally Posted by Venger
    sometimes your first thought is always right
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  16. #10
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    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.

    Thanks, everyone!

    - Current project <- Crit away!
    - The Whyatt Sketchbook Any tips appreciated

    Quote Originally Posted by Venger
    sometimes your first thought is always right
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  17. #11
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    Ollie Johnston and Frank Thomas: The Illusion of Life: Disney Animation
    Great book not only for aspiring animators, but for all figure drawing.

    My catastrophybook
    I'm afraid of nothing, it's the only way to be.
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  19. #12
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    Hehe, yeah Skelendur already recommended that one. But two votes count higher than one.

    Right now I'm going through Loomis' "Figure drawing...", Hogarth's "Dynamic anatomy" and Da Vinci's "Treatise on painting."

    I'll see what happens after that.

    - Current project <- Crit away!
    - The Whyatt Sketchbook Any tips appreciated

    Quote Originally Posted by Venger
    sometimes your first thought is always right
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  20. #13
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    Ever heard of Bridgeman? Some of his books like constructive anatomy, the human machine & bridegeman's complete guide to drawing from life r invaluable

    My sketchbook- http://www.conceptart.org/forums/sho...08#post1707608
    "If art is to nourish the roots of our culture, society must set the artist free to follow his vision wherever it takes him"
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  21. #14
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    "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!

    http://marshallart.com/seminars/resources/index.html


    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

    Good luck and have fun!

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  23. #15
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    Books I like the most so far:

    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)

    Woke up this morning, found out my signature was gone..
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  24. #16
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    Robert Beverly Hale: "Drawing Lessons From The Great Masters," "Master Class in Figure Drawing," and his translation (with Terence Coyle) of "Albinus On Anatomy."

    For painting pick up a copy of "Hawthorne On Painting."

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