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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
- Illustrations by Paul Richer, Edited by Robert Beverly Hale
Description: With original plates from Paul Richer, this is a translated & edited version by Hale.
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.
How Pictures Work
- Molly Bang
Description: Probably my favorite book on composition. It explains some very complicated principles in a remarkably simple manner.
- 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.
- 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
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.
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 Attachment 616708
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 10:12 PM.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.