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    The Artist's Reading List

    I know there's a (huge) thread of people's libraries of art books, but I thought it might be a useful reference to have a single list of the cream of the crop of books to learn from (I'm going to exclude purely "art books" because the list would just get huge). Obviously, there's plenty of gaps and probably some obvious omissions I've somehow stumbled over, but if you'd like to contribute, I'd be much obliged.

    Hope somebody finds this useful.

    The Artist's Reading List

    All of Andrew Loomis' books are long out of print, and even picking up a used copy is going to run you a hefty bill. There have been rumors of a reprint, but I wouldn't count on it. I'm not posting any links, but there are PDFs of all of his books easily found on the web.

    The Artist's Reading List
    Figure Drawing for All It's Worth

    - Andrew Loomis
    Description: N/A
    Topics: figure, drawing

    The Artist's Reading List
    Successful Drawing

    - Andrew Loomis
    Description: N/A
    Topics: drawing, perspective

    The Artist's Reading List
    Creative Illustration

    - Andrew Loomis
    Description: N/A
    Topics: composition, color, illustration

    The Artist's Reading List
    Fun With a Pencil

    - Andrew Loomis
    Description: N/A
    Topics: basics


    Eye of the Painter

    - Andrew Loomis
    Description: N/A
    Topics: painting

    The Artist's Reading List
    Bridgman's Complete Guide to Drawing From Life

    - George Bridgman
    Description: My personal favorite anatomy book. Used by such great illustrators as Jeffery Jones & Frank Frazetta to learn anatomy, it's filled with wonderful illustrations of dynamic anatomy. No, it doesn't have the most complete collection of every muscle in the body, but Bridgman organizes and illustrates the muscles that are important for artists. His methods of construction are immensely helpful
    Topics: anatomy

    The Artist's Reading List
    Drawing Lessons from the Great Masters

    - Robert Beverly Hale
    Description: Hale is one of the great instructors of art in the past 100 years, and his books carry on this legacy. The book is broken into chapters beginning with different principles to drawing, followed by a collection of master drawings which Hale proceeds to analyze in extreme detail. Learn from the masters like never before.
    Topics: drawing

    The Artist's Reading List
    Anatomy Lessons from the Great Masters

    - Robert Beverly Hale
    Description: Similar to "Drawing Lessons," this book has an emphasis on anatomy and learning it from the old masters.
    Topics: anatomy

    The Artist's Reading List
    Master Class in Figure Drawing

    - Robert Beverly Hale
    Description: Since Hale was mainly known for teaching anatomy, it's only natural that his famous course by put into book form. Hale again uses old master drawings to illustrate his explanations.
    Topics: anatomy

    The Artist's Reading List
    Hawthorne On Painting

    - Charles Hawthorne
    Description: This bite-sized book can be a little odd to read since it is largely a compilation of criticisms of student works by Hawthorne without illustrations of the pieces he's discussing. That said, there's a plethora of great painting wisdom to be found within.
    Topics: painting

    The Artist's Reading List
    Oil Painting Techniques and Materials

    - Harold Speed
    Description: Though some of the material is dated (I seem to recall him talking about some new brushes known as "filberts"), there's a ton of useful knowledge. Necessary read for painters.
    Topics: painting


    The Practice and Science of Drawing

    - Harold Speed
    Description: N/A
    Topics: drawing

    The Artist's Reading List
    Artistic Anatomy

    - Illustrations by Paul Richer, Edited by Robert Beverly Hale
    Description: With original plates from Paul Richer, this is a translated & edited version by Hale.
    Topics: anatomy

    The Artist's Reading List
    Atlas of Human Anatomy for the Artist

    - Stephen Rogers Peck
    Description: Perhaps one of the best artist's reference guide to anatomy. It features a mix of photos, highly rendered illustrations, and simple sketches to help understand complicated forms. A must-have reference guide.
    Topics: anatomy


    How Pictures Work

    - Molly Bang
    Description: Probably my favorite book on composition. It explains some very complicated principles in a remarkably simple manner.
    Topics: composition

    The Artist's Reading List
    Understanding Comics

    - Scott McCloud
    Description: Scott McCloud is a real expert on comics and this book is great way to wrap your head around a lot of the theory of comics. A good backbone for anyone interested in comics.
    Topics: comics

    The Artist's Reading List
    Making Comics

    - Scott McCloud
    Description: Anyone interested in drawing comics needs to have this book. Scott McCloud, in comic book format, goes over all of the elements of making comics in thorough detail.
    Topics: comics, drawing

    The Artist's Reading List
    How To Draw Comics the Marvel Way

    - Stan Lee
    Description: N/A
    Topics: comics, drawing

    The Artist's Reading List
    Anatomy for the Artist

    - Sarah Simblet & John Davis
    Description: N/A
    Topics: anatomy

    The Artist's Reading List
    Alla Prima: Everything I Know About Painting

    - Richard Schmid
    Description: N/A
    Topics: painting


    The Artist's Reading List
    Art Spirit

    - Robert Henri
    Description: N/A
    Topics: art, painting

    Last edited by Noah Bradley; June 15th, 2011 at 01:48 PM.
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    The Artist's Reading List
    The Technical Pen

    - Gary Simmons
    Description: Demonstrates proper technique, care of pens, use of color, and a wide variety of strokes/textures.
    Topics: Pen Technique

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    Nice list.

    I'll add my vote to the Harold Speed books, as well as the Richard Schmid book - good down to earth art education. The "Hawthorne on Painting" is very subjective (good if you only paint on the beach in direct sunlight) and I didn't get that much out of it personally. And "The Art Spirit", whist sometimes inspiring and full of some decent painting gems, is a bit too esoteric and 'arty farty' for my taste - I still recommend it, but I wouldn't suggest a beginner to read it looking for any practical advice.

    There's also a legal free pdf of "The Practice and Science of Drawing" on the net here -> http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/14264

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    Good list, Noah.


    Tristan Elwell
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    Good list, couldn't disagree with most of them.

    By way of additions I'd suggest Hereward Lester Cooke- "Painting Techniques of the Masters".
    http://www.amazon.com/Painting-Techn...6818486&sr=8-9
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    Description- Curator of Painting at the National Gallery discusses a vast array of art concepts and points at masterworks to illustrate his points and observations. I'm surprised it's not more popular/widely known than it is as it's an eye opening book. I'd rate it up there with Speed or Loomis.

    Out of print but much easier to find than the likes of Loomis, used copies for 25 USD on a bad day and I've seen them as low as 10 which, for a book from the 70s with 100 colour prints and 190 b/w ones is almost robbery.

    Topics- art , general, theory, composition.

    Last edited by Flake; March 11th, 2009 at 09:12 PM.
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    Aphotic Phoenix: Thanks for the contribution. Never heard of it. Have to check it out.

    Puck: Thanks. And yeah, with book recommendations it tends to get a little subjective, but that's unavoidable I guess.

    Elwell: I think a few of these books I heard about in some of your comments, so thank you, Elwell.

    Flake: Oh! Good call! Definitely one I completely overlooked, but a great read. Actually already had it on my list to check out from the library again. Thanks for adding that.

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    The Artist's Reading List

    Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain
    http://www.amazon.com/New-Drawing-Right-Side-Brain/dp/0874774195/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1236837343&sr=1-1

    Description: Talks about unlocking your right brain's potential. If you're just starting out the BIGGEST asset this book can give you, is to learn how to see. This is a MUST READ for beginners, but long time artists may have already seen bits and pieces of the book from elsewhere.
    Topics: Realism, Proportion, General Drawing Technique?



    This book did wonders for my understanding of art. It was a dusty old book, all wrinkly, and fading yellow. (this was the old version of the book, without the section on colors). Being a little bit older now, (I was 11 back then), I read that book, somehow understood it, and felt like I jumped 5 years ahead of all the other kids, just reading it.

    Lol, It sucks that I'm asian. I can't help it if I look like a million other people.

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    The Artist's Reading List
    Art in Theory 1900 - 2000: An Anthology of Changing Ideas

    this is not a 'how to' book by any means, but moreover my suggestion for essential understanding of concepts which have defined the role of modern art (and the many facets of Modernist art) in the 20th century. this book is like extracting the foundation of knowledge of kev's post history in a beastly 1200+ page form.

    The Artist's Reading List

    Art & Fear: Observations On the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking

    is about drawing ghosts or something.

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    I'd also like to add this little piece of advice: Borders often has good reference books in their bargain section. I got a large, hardcover, full color photo-encyclopedia of guns for $8. Yeah, I felt like a creeper buying a huge-ass gun book, but it's great reference! There's another one on WWII that I might go get too, since it's $10. Keep you eye peeled, there are some good deals in that section.

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    The Artist's Complete Guide to Drawing the Head
    The Artist's Reading List


    This is hands down the best head drawing book I've ever come across.

    The Human Figure: John H Vanderpoel
    The Artist's Reading List


    A classic. The text is dry and dense, but it has fantastic examples of how to simplify the features on the head and render form through tone. Try to find an older copy if you can; reproductions in early editions reveal much more gradation than in recent editions.

    Rendering in Pen and Ink: The Classic Book on Pen and Ink Techniques for Artists, Illustrators, Architects, and Designers
    The Artist's Reading List


    A thoroughly comprehensive book on drawing in pen and ink subjects of all kinds landscapes, portraits, architecture, etc.

    Dream Worlds: Production Design for Animation
    The Artist's Reading List


    Tons of pre-production artwork for animation and a great primer on composition. An amazing resource for those studying environment design.

    The Undressed Art: Why We Draw
    The Artist's Reading List


    As the title suggests, this is not so much a how to draw book as it is a why we draw book. An insightful little read that almost seems written in defense of those who keep coming back to pencil and paper in this age of instant digital photography. This book gave me a deeper appreciation for the ritual of figure drawing and for the models who work so hard to provide us with inspiration.

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    The Artist's Reading List

    Keys to Drawing by Bert Dodson.

    The next book you should read after New Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain.

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    It is fun to know how many of these books I already own. I think I have half of them. You don't have to get all of these, but having only a few of them are well worth the money to have.

    "It's all about the triumph of intellect and romance, over brute force and cynicism." Craig Ferguson on Dr. Who
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    Cool thread! I came here this morning specially for that purpose!
    However, I'm more looking for book to READ ( dosent mather if there is no image in it ). Biography maybe. storys and whatnot, anything that can improve and motivate someone.

    I was thinking going for the "art spirit".

    Even If I don't agree completely with this book, I found that it was a good start and understanding for me when I started drawing. So for anyone looking for a different approach.

    "drawing from the right side of the brain" can be a good option as well.

    STIKY!

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    Thanks to Google I found this website, Scribd, where there are many free books in pdf. It's nice to handle a book in paper, but for people wanting to save a bit, there's an alternative here

    Andrew Loomis - Successful Drawing
    Andrew Loomis - Fun with a Pencil
    Andrew Loomis - Figure Drawing for all it's Worth
    Bridgmans - Complete Guide to Drawing from Life
    Kimon Nicolaides - The Natural Way to Draw
    Ron Tiner - Figure Drawing Without a Model
    Stanley Maltzman - Drawing Nature

    When my daughter was about seven years old, she asked me one day what I did at work. I told her I worked at the college - that my job was to teach people how to draw.
    She stared back at me, incredulous, and said, "You mean they forget?"

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    OK, so all together, minus Loomis and going for the most affordable price with the more expensive stuff like 'Alla Prima', the list tops out at around $550. That's no small chunk of change, but considering how much you'd pay going with Academic publications, its actually not that bad. At some universities you might pay as much for a single class, to say nothing of the required booklist costs. If you drop Alla Prima (check out a couple things from the library), you can get it down to around three bills.

    Now all we need to do is write up proposal to Amazon, and convince them to come down on the price by like a hundred bucks, if we order everything at once.


    Also, we should give a shout to Dover, for keeping the paperbacks so affordable.
    http://store.doverpublications.com/by-subject-art.html

    Last edited by Jasonwclark; May 4th, 2009 at 04:35 PM.
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    Really though, no one should need all of these. Each one might have some nugget of unique info, but really once you've read and worked through a few good figure drawing books, reading several more probably isn't going to make that big of a difference. You can easily get a satisfactory collection for under $100.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jasonwclark View Post
    Also, we should give a shout to Dover, for keeping the paperbacks so affordable.
    http://store.doverpublications.com/by-subject-art.html
    One could put together a complete art education using only titles from the Dover catalog.


    Tristan Elwell
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    Not sure if this is the right thread to ask, but is Itten's "The Elements of Color" a worthwhile buy?

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    The Artist's Reading List
    Stanchfield's Drawn to Life Vol. 1

    This one actually just came out, and it's one of two volumes. The second can be found here. A bit of background. Walt Stanchfield was an animator at Walt Disney, and he became the one to turn to learn about drawing and animation. His lectures and accompanying notes were highly sought after by the animators in the studios, and he taught a number of the big names including Glen Keane.

    I just got the first volume today, and I had underestimated the size. You have around 400 pages of Stanchfield's notes and drawings, covering the basics of anatomy, line and silhouette, a full chapter going into details of gesture drawings, how to see. This pretty much a must have for those interested in animation and those who want to learn ways of getting life into your drawings. I enjoyed the pdfs when I had them, and I'm glad to have this one to study over.

    "It's all about the triumph of intellect and romance, over brute force and cynicism." Craig Ferguson on Dr. Who
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  38. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Asatira View Post
    The Artist's Reading List
    Stanchfield's Drawn to Life Vol. 1

    This one actually just came out, and it's one of two volumes. The second can be found here. A bit of background. Walt Stanchfield was an animator at Walt Disney, and he became the one to turn to learn about drawing and animation. His lectures and accompanying notes were highly sought after by the animators in the studios, and he taught a number of the big names including Glen Keane.

    I just got the first volume today, and I had underestimated the size. You have around 400 pages of Stanchfield's notes and drawings, covering the basics of anatomy, line and silhouette, a full chapter going into details of gesture drawings, how to see. This pretty much a must have for those interested in animation and those who want to learn ways of getting life into your drawings. I enjoyed the pdfs when I had them, and I'm glad to have this one to study over.
    Holy shit! That's an excellent find!

    And my previous question still stands. Does anyone know how good Itten's "The Elements of Color" is?

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    cool thread, this should be a sticky

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    Thanks Tons, I was just thinking about starting something like this

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    http://www.amazon.com/Pen-Ink-Book-T...0795263&sr=1-1

    The Pen and Ink Book - JA Smith
    Every time someone has a question about pen and ink I direct them to this little gem. A huge amount of info on this particular medium... not to mention a lot of darn good drawing advice.

    Oh yeah, meant to add this...

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    http://www.amazon.com/Illusion-Life-...0795004&sr=1-1

    The Illusion of Life: Disney Animation - Ollie Johnston and Frank Thomas
    A must-have for animators.

    Last edited by CCThrom; August 20th, 2009 at 03:09 PM.
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    Here are two books which I thought are pretty good.
    My reviews are on Amazon themselves, the ones with flipping-page videos.

    Check their companion website drawingforce.com to get a sense of what to expect from the books.

    Force: Dynamic Life Drawing for Animators
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/dp/0240808452

    Force: Character Design from Life Drawing

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/dp/0240809939

    Last edited by Parka81; December 13th, 2009 at 08:19 AM.
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    Some limited previews of anatomy books I found on Google Books



    Last edited by Parka81; August 27th, 2009 at 06:18 AM.
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    Can anyone reccomend any reading materials regarding "Shape Language". It was mentioned quite abit in one of Coro's bits of the Composition class, but without much of an in depth "This is what is ment", so I wanted to look it up ^_^. Tried looking on amazon, mostly just came up with acctual language books :op

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    The Artist's Reading List

    Classic Human Anatomy: The Artist's Guide to Form, Function and Movement Valerie L. Winslow

    This book is like a reference book for people trying to understand terminology used in other figure drawing books. If you get a term that makes you go "huh?" this book is like your encyclopedia to look it up, pronounce it correctly and what its about .

    It's also one of the more well organized books I ran into. I guess the best way to put it is like owning a cookbook that uses "blanch" but you have no idea what that term is. If there was a cooking reference book it would tell you cooking terms. This is what this book is in terms of learning artistic anatomy.

    I know there are other books out there that talk about Anatomy like Goldfinger's book, but this is very good for a beginner to intermediate trying to understand things. Peck's book goes great with it.

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