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Hokay, so, I don't know how many of you know me that well, but I LOVE books. I love them. I love them so much, when I have almost no money, I STILL buy them. Even over food. However, I also have a lot of books that I use only for reference - not art books, not fiction, no. Mostly these are dictionaries, encyclopedias, informational books, or picture books of various things. Anyway, I thought I would start compiling a list here to show you my little library of reference books.
As I'm not at home, I'm doing this from memory, so I will come back and edit this later as I remember/go home/buy more books.
If you don't mind, please tell me what reference books you have, and what you use them for! I always love to buy new ones!
Okay, here we go:
Books About Mythology/Angels/Monsters/Legends/Folklore and Superstition
- Dictionary of Angels: Including the Fallen Angels : This is one of my favourite books. It's basically a textbook of angel and demon lore, with a huge bibliography of reference for every angel, demon, and grigori you can think of! Great inspirational material for crazy ass bosses and monsters in games - angels and demons came in almost every form you've ever heard of!
- The Element Encyclopedia of 5000 Spells: The Ultimate Reference Book for the Magical Arts: This book is HUGE. This is great for things like wizards and old legends - there is so much superstition in this book, it's great for thinking up things for fantasy illustrations, novels, etc. Also it gives you a good idea for what kind of magic each culture believed in, including faerie magic, etc. Plus, it has pictures!
- The Element Encyclopedia of Witchcraft: The Complete A-Z for the Entire Magical World: This book follows up on the one above, but rather than list spells and ingredients, it deals more with the history and the make-up. Very interesting! I use it mostly for character creation, especially for fantasy!
- The Element Encyclopedia of Magical Creatures: The Ultimate A-Z of Fantastic Beings From Myth and Magic: This is my favourite out of this series! Literally thousands of mythical monsters, all at your finger tips! Really great for drawing exercises, and getting the brain fired up about creature-creation.
-New! Complete Guide To Faeries And Magical Beings: Mostly text, covers lots of myths and legends surrounding these pesky little creatures.
Books On Architecture
- Moorish Style: This is one of my favourite books! A nice, big, fully-coloured book on Moorish Architecture, which spans through most of the arab world and moorish-spain, this is a great reference for that entire period! There are even images of period costumes and settings *within* these walls, and let me tell you, the architecture of that time was so gorgeous that it's totally worth it. Really good for ideas for buildings, etc, but also for PATTERNS. There are so many crazy patterns in this book! (Since icons were illegal, you couldn't paint people or animals, so you end up with really crazy patterns instead.) Definitely recommended.
-New! Visual Encyclopedia of Architecture: Nice, thick book that covers almost everything you can imagine in the world of architecture. Mostly pre-modern, all images are etchings or ink drawings, but very informative none-the-less. Lots of building designs that totally are out of use now, and great for thinking up alien architecture!
-New! Cloisters Of Europe: Gorgeous book full of pictures of medieval cloisters. Lots of stone work and hallways and yum!
Books About People/Fashion/Cultures
- Fresh Fruits: This book is greeeeat. It's absolutely jam-packed full of pictures of real people in Tokyo, all wearing some really awesome outfits. It's great reference for character design, costume design, facial and anatomy studies... you name it! There are two or three other books by this author that I really really want, both which I have seen in stores and know are just as good as this one: Fruits and Gothic Lolita.
-New! Burlesque and the Art of the Teese/Fetish and the Art of the Teese: This book is AWESOME. If you are a Dita Von Teese fan, like women's fashion, or, um, just like looking at sexy pictures, this is right up your alley. Great reference for pretty much anything sexy!
-New! Men At Sea : Big picture book of modern-day fishermen. Lots of reference for boat, storms, and, well, fishermen! Totally covered in pictures and some REALLY nice images to boot.
-New! The Oxford Companion to Archaeology: Again, pretty much as it sounds! This book is DENSE, and only really useful if you know what you're looking for! It's not exactly something you can just read and get the jist of. That being said, if you do know what you're looking for, it's really comprehensive and useful!
Books About Space
-New! Hubble: The Mirror On the Universe: A big book of pictures taken by the Hubble Telescope!! Tell me, what more could a girl ask for?
-New! Atlas of the Skies: Journeying Between the Stars and Planets in the Discovery of the Universe : More stuff on space! This one has a nice focus on planets within our solar system - though I think Pluto was still one of them when it was published! Lots of pretty pictures.
Books About Boats/Naval Warfare
-New! Encyclopedia of Ships: Pretty much exactly what it says! Covers both Military and Civilian vessels from 5000 BC to the present day.
Books About Animals
-New! The Miracle of Flight: Book specifically about flight in nature, detailing birds, insects, etc. Lots of pretty pictures!
Okay, guys, I have to stop here for now... I have LOTS of books, but it's hard finding them online when I don't have them in front of me and can't remember the titles!
Please please let me know what you use, I love reference books!
Last edited by daestwen; September 3rd, 2008 at 11:42 PM.
oooh! Sounds really good. Any good books on medieval stuff anyone?
I heart books as well. Mostly dictionaries though. Ethymology is very interesting, as are latin dictionaries.
I don't really have reference books, but I have The Art of Middle Earth art book, which is awesome, just to gaze at, but also to study.
EDIT: those books really sound awesome!
also, I actually have a book (very thin, it's more of a leaflet, actually) on weapins through the ages. Very superficial and quick, but some great weapons! I don't think you can get it outside some war museum in England though...
hmmmmm.... This may be a short list without my art books ...
BUT here we go - These are the books I use as reference - not all of them are specifically "reference" books, but then I use pretty much everything for reference of one kind or another. Some are from memory, as I don't have all my books in my studio with me. yet. That will change.
In no particular order ... except the first one. which is always first. Always.
Demon Haunted World - Science as a Candle in the Dark by Carl Sagan.
The Mythic Image - Joseph Campbell
Heaven and Earth, unseen by the naked eye.
Star List 2000 Essentially a list of stellar bodies and their locations as of the year 2000.
The Hero's Journey - Joseph Campbell
Please Understand Me - Briggs/Meyer personality typing based on Jungian ideas. Awesome.
The Writer's Guide to Creating a Science Fiction Universe
Guns, Germs, and Steel: The fate of human societies - Jared Diamond
The Third Chimpanzee - " "
The Spanish Civil War Osprey Men At Arms series.
The Japanese Army of World War II " "
American Civil War Calvary Almark Publicantions
American Soldiers of the Revolution " "
More of the same from several different nations - most WWII or before.
A book on Witchcraft upstairs that I do not recall the title of.
A series of Myths and Legends, I think done by Time Life ages and ages ago. Good enough for me to keep, but also upstairs.
The Prince - Machiavelli
As A Man Thinketh - okay, but really not that great. Still thumb through it every now and then.
The Flight of the Dragon - an aged book on the theory and practice of art in China and Japan.
If I were to include my art books, this list would be much, much longer.
Books that I want: Anything well written and thoughtful on cultures. Cultures are what define us as human beings, so to me, to understand ourselves and each other, we need to understand our respective cultures. Specifically, I'm looking for recommendations on pretty much anything non-western. Of particular interest this moment, Meso-American cultures and Africa. Also China (pan-china really) and Japan.
Most of them are written with few pictures. However, Heaven and Earth is pretty awesome, because it's all visual, and goes from the micro to the macro. Quite the visual journey! The Almark and Osprey book series are sort of a mix - they have both extensive text and pictures. Very good reference for uniforms of all sorts.
The rest are all written
my preference is towards the visual as well. Hence my gobs of art books that I've not listed
But these days, most of my visual reference comes from the web. which probably isn't a good thing...
Oh, the myths and legends series is more visual as well. so.
PS - do magazines count? I've got lots of National Geographic floating around...
Damn... and i was trying to save as much of my paycheck as possible
The Kyoto Costume Institute's Fashion: A History from the 18th to 20th Century - Photographs of clothing from the colonial period through modern times, AWESOME reference for costume and clothing construction/details
The Complete Encyclopedia of Elves, Goblins and other Little Creatures - HUGE collection of fairy and creature stories, folk tales from all over the world, ranging from the very childish to the very adult (like Russian Bath House pixies)
Toulouse-Lautrec and Montmartre - The catalog from the traveling show, excellent resource of poster art and other awesomeness from the Belle Epoque.
Hotel La Chapelle - because his photography is always inspiring, lush and candy-looking
Process Recess by James Jean makes me want to cover my sketchbook in awesome and lvl up LOTS. One of the most beautiful books I have ever seen.
For magazines - Any issue of Moda, National Geographic
Also, highly recommend Taschen's art books - I have one on the Romantics, Waterhouse, Symbolists, Alchemy and Mysticism, Art Nouveau, Fashion (the one listed above), etc. EXCELLENT photographic reference, and some good reading material if you care for a more rounded, meaty reading/eyecandy experience.
Last edited by JessiBean; September 3rd, 2008 at 09:47 PM.
If you can ever find it - The Glass Harmonica. A very strange take on much lore, some facts(if I remember correctly) and illustrated.
... wiat - what exactly are we counting as "art books?" Books about art, or graphic novels, or or or what?
I want a clarification!
Hokay! Updated the original post.
Shane, I meant books on/about art, simply because i was talking more natural-world (or culturally related) reference, rather than art books which have been covered in other threads.
edit: I still have more books, but I'm tiiiired.