92 books like Creative Illustration

By Andrew Loomis (illustrator),

Here are 92 books that Creative Illustration fans have personally recommended if you like Creative Illustration. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Carlson's Guide to Landscape Painting

James Gurney Author Of Color and Light: A Guide for the Realist Painter

From my list on color and painting.

Why am I passionate about this?

My name is James Gurney and I've been a professional illustrator for National Geographic and Scientific American for over 40 years. Although I went to art school, everything I know about drawing and painting comes from studying art instruction books, and from sketching directly from nature. I'm best known for writing and illustrating the New York Times bestselling Dinotopia book series, published in 32 countries and 18 languages. I designed 15 dinosaur stamps for USPS and a set of five dinosaur stamps for Australia Post. My originals have been shown in over 35 solo museum exhibitions. My book Color and Light has sold over 200k copies and was Amazon's #1 bestselling book on painting for over a year.

James' book list on color and painting

James Gurney Why did James love this book?

John Carlson, himself a noted American Impressionist painter and teacher, addresses all the common elements faced by landscape painters, including design, light, perspective, color, clouds, trees, and composition. While the book was first published in 1929, Dover has reprinted the 1958 edition, so the language is a little more accessible to the modern reader without sacrificing Carlson's forthright style. Although the 58 diagrams are in black and white, the book's chief value is its practical principles and insights.

By John F. Carlson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Carlson's Guide to Landscape Painting as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Written by a famous American painter and teacher, whose landscapes are found in many of the world's most noted museums, this book is known as one of the art student's most helpful guides. It provides a wealth of advice on the choice of subject; it tells what to look for and aim for, and explains the mysteries of color, atmospheric conditions, and other phenomena to be found in nature.
Through his profound understanding of the physical nature of landscapes and his highly developed artistic sense, John Carlson is able to explain both the whys and the hows of the various…


Book cover of The Practice and Science of Drawing

Robh Ruppel Author Of Graphic L.A.

From my list on timeless art advice.

Why am I passionate about this?

In the “meme-ification” of the world, the long-form version of learning and practicing skills is getting lost. True discovery happens after a thorough and deep understanding of the subject. Truth is a multilayered, complex exploration that is hard to sum up in a single sentence. 

Robh's book list on timeless art advice

Robh Ruppel Why did Robh love this book?

The Practice and Science of Drawing is one of the few books worth reading every page of. I thumbed through it for years before finally reading it. The author breaks down drawing into two major categories, that of line and that of mass, and how they are distinct from one another, yet how they are intertwined in their ability to render form. An awareness of both concepts is crucial to a full education of the artist.

By Harold Speed,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Practice and Science of Drawing as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Much of the learning to practice as well as to appreciate art is concerned with understanding the basic principles. One of these principles is what Harold Speed calls "dither," the freedom that allows realism and the artistic vision to play against each other. Very important to any artist or work of art, this quality separates the scientifically accurate from the artistically accurate. Speed's approach to this problem is now considered a classic, one of the few books from the early years of this century that has continued to be read and recommended by those in the graphic arts.
In this…


Book cover of Oil Painting Techniques and Materials

James Gurney Author Of Color and Light: A Guide for the Realist Painter

From my list on color and painting.

Why am I passionate about this?

My name is James Gurney and I've been a professional illustrator for National Geographic and Scientific American for over 40 years. Although I went to art school, everything I know about drawing and painting comes from studying art instruction books, and from sketching directly from nature. I'm best known for writing and illustrating the New York Times bestselling Dinotopia book series, published in 32 countries and 18 languages. I designed 15 dinosaur stamps for USPS and a set of five dinosaur stamps for Australia Post. My originals have been shown in over 35 solo museum exhibitions. My book Color and Light has sold over 200k copies and was Amazon's #1 bestselling book on painting for over a year.

James' book list on color and painting

James Gurney Why did James love this book?

Speed's book on painting builds on his drawing book, offering painting instruction as it was practiced in the Royal Academy. Although not everyone will agree with his views on modern art, his advice on tone, color, and edges is concise and inspiring, and his analysis of the old masters benefits from the insights of a skilled practitioner.

By Harold Speed,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Oil Painting Techniques and Materials as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"In any exhibition of amateur work . . . it is not at all unusual to find many charming water-colour drawings, but . . . it is very rarely that the work in the oil medium is anything but dull, dead, and lacking in all vitality and charm." — Harold Speed
Such provocative assertions are characteristic of this stimulating and informative guide, written in a highly personal and unique style by a noted painter and teacher. Brimming with pertinent insights into the technical aspects and painting in oils, it is also designed to help students perfect powers of observation and…


Book cover of Fundamentals of Composition

James Gurney Author Of Color and Light: A Guide for the Realist Painter

From my list on color and painting.

Why am I passionate about this?

My name is James Gurney and I've been a professional illustrator for National Geographic and Scientific American for over 40 years. Although I went to art school, everything I know about drawing and painting comes from studying art instruction books, and from sketching directly from nature. I'm best known for writing and illustrating the New York Times bestselling Dinotopia book series, published in 32 countries and 18 languages. I designed 15 dinosaur stamps for USPS and a set of five dinosaur stamps for Australia Post. My originals have been shown in over 35 solo museum exhibitions. My book Color and Light has sold over 200k copies and was Amazon's #1 bestselling book on painting for over a year.

James' book list on color and painting

James Gurney Why did James love this book?

The book covers basic principles, such as variety, shape, silhouette, edges, unity, rhythm, color, and texture. But his coverage of these familiar ideas is fresh and original, and he provides lots of examples. He avoids laying down rules or laws, because one generation of artists breaks the rules of the previous generation. All of the basic principles are universal enough to have remained in place despite the changing styles throughout history.

By V. A. Mogilevtsev,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Fundamentals of Composition as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This is the ENGLISH edition. To buy this book in Russian: https://www.amazon.com/dp/5904957076. | The only textbook on composition approved and recommended by the Russian Academy of Fine Arts. Written by a Head of the Drawing Department and a leading professor of drawing, Vladimir Mogilevtsev. Description: This is the 3rd and last textbook in the series of "Fundamentals of Art". The previous two editions are dedicated to Fundamentals of Drawing and Fundamentals of Painting. In the book Fundamentals of Composition, the author, on the basis of his own creative work and experience working with students, tried to show and explain how…


Book cover of Drawing the Head and Hands

Uldis Zarins Author Of Anatomy For Sculptors: Understanding the Human Figure

From my list on human anatomy for artists.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a traditional sculptor with more than 25 years of experience. Being a dyslectic student in the 2000s, I developed a systematic approach to translating medical anatomy texts into visual information that I could use while sculpting.  All the anatomy books for artists at the time were text-centered. My reference sketches became quite popular among colleagues. It was clear that visual artists perceive information best when it’s visual, and that is how I got the idea for my first book. Now the Anatomy for Sculptors handbooks are bestsellers among visual artists striving to better understand the human form.

Uldis' book list on human anatomy for artists

Uldis Zarins Why did Uldis love this book?

Andrew Loomis worked in editorial and advertising in 1930s America. At the time, most skilled artists were preoccupied with experimenting and high art. Meanwhile, the growing consumer culture required a lot of professional artists to work also on advertisements. This Andrew Loomis’ work is a manual meant to explain complicated human anatomy concepts in a simple manner – a sort of an ABCs for visual artists. It’s an excellent book for beginners!

By Andrew Loomis,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Drawing the Head and Hands as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The human head and hands are the most difficult elements in figure drawing, but world-class illustrator Andrew Loomis' classic primer offers the solution. Revered among artists for his mastery of figure drawing and clean, realist style, Loomis' hugely influential art instruction books have never been bettered. "Drawing the Head and Hands" is the second in Titan's programme of facsimile editions.


Book cover of Figure Drawing: For All It's Worth

Brian C Hailes Author Of The Dynamic Female Figure

From my list on art references for drawing the human figure.

Why am I passionate about this?

Born at the base of the beautiful Wasatch Mountains, I began exploring and sketching the world—as most children do—at a very early age. I continued to pursue not only my artistic path through traditional schooling, higher education, and endless hours of practice, but also my love of storytelling. Intrigued by Science Fiction and Fantasy, many of my projects reflect elements of the fantastic, but I also appreciate the beauty and elegance in fine art masterpieces. I studied illustration and graphic design at Utah State University and the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. I currently live in Salt Lake City with my beautiful wife and four boys, where I continue to write, paint and draw regularly.

Brian's book list on art references for drawing the human figure

Brian C Hailes Why did Brian love this book?

This figure drawing guide is a classic, and for good reason. Artist Andrew Loomis wrote this book for those who have graduated from the fundamentals of drawing and are ready to embark on their artistic careers. The focus is on aesthetic as well as practical, and leans toward a more commercial approach rather than fine art, but will be helpful to both disciplines. Loomis includes chapters on anatomy, planes and lighting, drawing from living models, the figure in action, and costume, among others. He discusses idealization and other tricks of the trade to help the reader produce superior work. Explanatory sketches and examples of some of his own best sketches appear on almost every page. Originally published in 1943 this book continues as a solid reference for artists struggling to perfect their own skills.

By Andrew Loomis,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Figure Drawing as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The illustrator Andrew Loomis (1892-1959) is revered amongst artists - including comics superstar Alex Ross - for his mastery of figure drawing and his clean, realist style. His hugely influential series of art instruction books have never been bettered, and "Figure Drawing" is the first in Titan's programme of facsimile editions, returning these classic titles to print for the first time in decades.


Book cover of The Natural Way to Draw: A Working Plan for Art Study

Mona Brookes Author Of Drawing with Children: A Creative Method for Adult Beginners, Too

From my list on on effective strategies with drawing and learning.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a lifelong artist and drawing enthusiast, I am passionate about the world of drawing and its potential to inspire creativity and self-expression. I never planned to be an art teacher. Surprisingly, a part-time job as a school bus driver led me to develop Monart®, which has become highly successful in schools around the world. My experience enabled me to present at state art educator conferences without having any formal training. I have had the privilege of inspiring and empowering students of all ages and backgrounds. At 85, nothing makes me happier than when a former student tells me their passion for drawing has led to a successful career.

Mona's book list on on effective strategies with drawing and learning

Mona Brookes Why did Mona love this book?

My private art school offers classes exclusively in basic to advanced drawing techniques, with a focus on achieving varying degrees of realism across a range of subjects.

To accomplish this, I have designed a method that utilizes exercises and structured instruction. However, I am cautious not to impose too many limitations with my Monart® Method because I believe that too much structure can hinder students' creativity. 

Nicolaides' The Natural Way to Draw was the perfect addition for my lesson plans. The loose style effectively captures the essence of the subject while encouraging students to maintain a realistic interpretation.

The speed that is involved in his quick sketching technique makes it possible for the student to practice shape and feeling. 

The book provides clear and simple instructions with lots of illustrations.

By Kimon Nicolaides,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Natural Way to Draw as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Great for the beginner and the expert, this book offers readers exercises to improve their work.


Book cover of Framed Ink: Drawing and Composition for Visual Storytellers

Mike Mattesi Author Of FORCE: Dynamic Life Drawing

From my list on how to draw for animation, video games and comics.

Why am I passionate about this?

My career has spanned all genres of entertainment and I have taught thousands of students across three decades. I share with those learnings. I have been trained at Walt Disney Animation Studios, freelanced for Marvel Comics, been an art director in video games for decades, owned three of my own businesses in art fields, and written many books on drawing. I share with you some of my favorite books, books that you can learn from if you apply the information within and therefore gain the ability yourself to create inspired work.

Mike's book list on how to draw for animation, video games and comics

Mike Mattesi Why did Mike love this book?

Marcos has been a DreamWorks concept artist for many years and shares his trade secrets in this beautifully illustrated book about composition. I myself have taught composition for decades and Marcos does a great job of sharing tools to direct an audience’s eye to where you want them to look. Learn how to do this in your own illustrations. Composition is one of the most important skills to learn in art and one of the least successfully and clearly taught.

By Marcos Mateu-Mestre,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Framed Ink as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The ultimate guide to visual storytelling! How to make the audience ""feel"" the story while they are ""reading"" the story. Using his experiences from working in the comic book industry, movie studios and teaching, Marcos introduces the reader to a step-by-step system that will create the most successful storyboards and graphics for the best visual communication.

After a brief discussion on narrative art, Marcos introduces us to drawing and composing a single image, to composing steady shots to drawing to compose for continuity between all the shots. These lessons are then applied to three diverse story lines - a train…


Book cover of 365 Days of Drawing: Sketch and Paint Your Way Through the Creative Year

Grace Sandford Author Of Cute-O-Rama: You Can Doodle Anything!: How to Draw More Than 125 Super-Cute, Super-Easy Things

From my list on books for doodlers, scribblers and those who never stopped drawing.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a children’s book illustrator who has been passionate about illustration and art from a young age, and I am fortunate to have illustrated over 30 books for publishers worldwide. I have always believed drawing is for everyone and that you should not stop after childhood. Drawing can improve your mental health, enhance your way of visually communicating ideas, or just be a new way to have fun. I hope that my book and the books I have recommended inspire at least one person to pick up a pencil and have a go!

Grace's book list on books for doodlers, scribblers and those who never stopped drawing

Grace Sandford Why did Grace love this book?

365 Days of Drawing is such a positive and personal book. It feels like an art diary that I can take in my bag for whenever I get a quiet moment between hectic moments of life. You can look back on your year through the prompts and see how much you have improved, whilst taking some time to practice your craft and to do something that you enjoy.

It is perfect for those who want to draw more but don’t know where to begin.   

By Lorna Scobie,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked 365 Days of Drawing as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Get lost in your creativity with 365 Days of Drawing, a thoughtful and inspiring art journal designed to help you carve out moments of self-expression.

Lorna shows you that drawing does not have to be scary - it can be done with any materials, in any colour, in any style and can be done anywhere.

Each activity has been given a loose category: imagination, tutorial, relaxation, colour theory, and observational, so that you can practice a broad range of drawing skills. Each 'theme' is designed to expand your creative skills and spark the artist within.

With helpful prompts and pages…


Book cover of Drawing Lessons from the Great Masters

Robh Ruppel Author Of Graphic L.A.

From my list on timeless art advice.

Why am I passionate about this?

In the “meme-ification” of the world, the long-form version of learning and practicing skills is getting lost. True discovery happens after a thorough and deep understanding of the subject. Truth is a multilayered, complex exploration that is hard to sum up in a single sentence. 

Robh's book list on timeless art advice

Robh Ruppel Why did Robh love this book?

Hale’s book uses master drawings as the basis for his analysis. He shows the critical thinking that went behind the draftsmanship and offers a few choice words on conceiving a solid shape before trying to render it. Style is great but style without understanding is just a bad xerox of an idea. Hale offers a deeper dive into understanding what all those bumps and lumps are and more importantly, the hierarchy to where they sit and what to emphasize. Mindless rendering never helped anyone.

By Robert Beverly Hale,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Drawing Lessons from the Great Masters as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A book whose sales have not diminished but rather increased dramatically since its publication 45 years ago, this bestselling classic is the ultimate manual of drawing taught by the late Robert Beverly Hale, who's famed lectures and classes at New York City's Art Student League captivated artists and art educators from around the world.

Faithfully producing and methodically analyzing 100 master drawings-including works of Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Rodin, Goya, and Rembrandt among others-Hale shows how these artists tackled basic problems such as line, light and planes, mass, position and thrust, and anatomy. With detailed analytical captions and diagrams, every…


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