12 Best Books For Illustrators Update 05/2022

Books For Illustrators

Passionate about drawing? You need the best picture books. In this post, we list the best books for illustrators, whether you’re just starting out or you’re a pro. If you want to learn how to do illustration, we have books that will help you learn the basics and books that will inspire you.

Every book on this list is important, and it’s sure to teach you something new. In case you want more art lessons, check out our list of how-to-draw videos. Want something more broad? Here are the best drawing and art books.

The Addictive Sketcher

The Addictive Sketcher

An enthusiastic and practical guide to all things drawing 

Addictive Sketcher: Adebanji Alade is having a lot of fun with his art, and he wants you to join him. Alade, an artist, teacher, and TV host, talks about the basics of sketching, starting with the tools he uses. Then, he talks about how to make marks with contours, angles, and ghosting. It’s accompanied by simple photos, short walks through, WIPs, and finished art.

The artist spends a lot of time talking about important art concepts like composition and perspective, and he or she shows a lot of finished art, annotated art, and a simple explanation of terms. There are a lot of different types of things you can sketch in this book, like people on public transportation, statues, and markets. It’s possible for most artists to do all of them, and Alade gives practical advice for each one. To get away from your desk and start sketching the outside world, this is the one for you.

365 Days of Art

Nurture your creative thinking with daily challenges 

Lorna Scobie has written a book called 365 Days of Art: A Creative Exercise for Every Day of the Year. It has illustrations for each day of the year. It brings together a lot of different art challenges that are meant to make the user think outside the box and improve their artistic skills and thinking. Tasks range from simple things like making a pattern on a grid to more difficult ones, like learning about calligraphy, which are more difficult.

Becoming a Successful Illustrator

Get ready to enter the world of illustration

Becoming a Successful Illustrator is a must-read for anyone who wants to start a career in illustration, or who wants to improve their current job. This is the second edition, so it’s up to date. There’s a lot of advice from illustrators and people who hire them, as well as practical advice on how to find work, how to market yourself, and how to run your own illustration business. There’s also a lot of beautiful art.

Fifty Years of Illustration

This book charts contemporary illustration’s rich history.

There is a book called “Fifty Years of Illustration” by Lawrence Zeegen and Caroline Roberts that talks about how illustration has changed over time. It talks about “the rampant idealism of the 1960s.” It also talks about “bleak realism” and “overblown consumerism.” It’s important to look at the social and economic factors that affect the way art is made and the other way around. He also uses essays and artist profiles to look into how modern illustration has changed popular culture. This is a book you can keep on your bookshelf and go back to over and over again.

The Sketchbook of Loish: Art in progress

The Sketchbook of Loish Art in progress

This illustration book explains the sketch process 

Loish, a well-known illustrator, made this book to show how she works. The Sketchbook of Loish: Art in progress shows you how her first sketches turn into her stunning final work. You can see her speedpaints, studies, and first drafts. She also has some great advice for illustrators and people who want to be illustrators.

Two great tutorials will show you how to start sketching, and you’ll even get some unique art. This book has a lot of beautiful things in it, and it’s a great way to learn more about a well-known artist and a great read for anyone who likes illustrations.

Picture This

A fascinating insight into the psychology of image composition.

One of the best books on composition for illustrators was written by Molly Bang in 1991. It’s short, beautiful, and a little weird, but it’s one of the best. Picture This: How Pictures Work talks about how pictures work. It talks about the mechanics, or the “nuts and bolts.” But she also asks more general questions: Why are diagonals so interesting? Because curves make you feel calm. Because red is hot and blue is cold. At just 96 pages, you could read this in one sitting.

Color and Light

An indispensable illustration book for any artist.

We had to put James Gurney on our list of books illustrators should read. His first book, Imaginative Realism, is about how to paint things that don’t exist. We could have chosen that one instead. Color and Light: A Guide for the Realist Painter is a second book by him. It’s thought to be one of the best, most detailed books on color and light ever written.

People who were good at using color and light are talked about in this book by Gurney. He also talks about how light reveals form, the properties of color and pigments, and a lot of different atmospheric effects. But he doesn’t use jargon or terms that are too technical. This book shows that Gurney is not only a great artist, but a great teacher as well.

Figure Drawing for all it’s Worth

A hugely influential instruction book for figure drawing.

Andrew Loomis is one of those artists who do things that aren’t just art, but that are also art. If you don’t know who he is, you’ll know his work because he is the best at figure drawing. You don’t have to copy Loomis’ very unique style in Figure Drawing for All It’s Worth. Instead, you should learn about the principles that make it work. Starting out, this is the best place to learn one of the building blocks of illustration. There’s enough here for even the most seasoned artists to pick up a new trick or two, too.

How To Be An Illustrator

How To Be An Illustrator

A must-read illustration book for beginners.

If you want to be an artist, you need to be able to draw, but also know how the art world works. How to be an Illustrator is a good book for people who are just starting out as illustrators. It explains how to put together a portfolio, find clients, prepare for contract meetings, and manage your time and money. It also has interviews with nine people who work in the field. In the past, Rees has worked with big clients in the UK and the United States, so he knows what he’s talking about. His book also looks smart.

Show your Work

Invaluable self-promotion advice for illustrators.

You should read Austin Kleon’s book Steal Like an Artist for anyone who wants to be creative. Afterwards, what do you do? Show what you’ve made. Many people find it scary and frustrating at this point. As a “writer who draws” in his own words, Kleon talks about how to become “findable.” In his book, Show Your Work, Kleon talks about the difference between networking and using the network, and how you can be found. You don’t have to be a genius, share something small every day, and stay around, which pretty much sums up the whole book. ‘It’s not about me,’ Kleon says. Is it self-discovery?

Champagne and Wax Crayons

An engaging and insightful book for illustrators at any stage of their career.

Champagne and Wax Crayons: Riding the Madness of the Creative Industry is a book by Ben Tallon. It starts off with the title: “I failed my GSCE art.” Is like Hunter S. Thomson and Ralph Steadman mixed together in one person. From that failed exam, through art school, and the early days of freelancing, he tells you how he became a freelance illustrator and where he is now. He works for some of the best clients in the world today. He writes in simple, funny language, and all of his work is accompanied by his signature scratchy drawings, which make it even more fun. This is a good book for anyone who wants to start a freelancing job of any kind.

Lost in Translation

The perfect illustration book to get the creative juices flowing

A book about business and self-promotion came after a lot of books about how to draw. This one helps people remember why they love drawing in the first place. In the book Lost in Translation: An Illustrated Compendium of Untranslatable Words from All Over the World, there are tips on how to make illustrations. There are 50 drawings about words in different languages that don’t have a direct translation into English, but that’s not all. Ella Frances Sanders, an author, says that the Japanese language has a word for how sunlight passes through the leaves of trees. In Finnish, there’s a word for how far a reindeer can go before needing to rest. These written definitions are very long. Her illustrated definitions are not correct.

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