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Let's Get Creative! Nonfiction Books for Masters and Enthusiasts Alike

Posted 9 months ago by Juliette H

Posted in Arts, Crafts and Hobbies, eBooks and Audiobooks, Education and History and Politics | Tagged with Art History, artist biographies, artistic expression, creative ability, creativity, motivation & inspiration and self-improvement

Are you looking for some artistic inspiration?

Want to sharpen your skills with a pen or paintbrush?

Want to delve into some art history?

Or maybe you’re just curious about the lives of creative professionals?

Check out these books!

Unleash Your Creativity

"Daily Rituals: How Artists Work" by Mason Currey

Daily Rituals: How Artists Work by Mason Currey

From Marx to Murakami and Beethoven to Bacon, Daily Rituals examines the working routines of more than a hundred and sixty of the greatest philosophers, writers, composers and artists ever to have lived. Filled with fascinating insights on the mechanics of genius and entertaining stories of the personalities behind it, Daily Rituals is irresistibly addictive, and utterly inspiring.

Amazon rating: 4.2 stars | Goodreads rating: 3.65 stars

"Make Good Art" by Neil Gaiman

Make Good Art by Neil Gaiman

In May 2012, bestselling author Neil Gaiman delivered the commencement address at Philadelphia’s University of the Arts, in which he shared his thoughts about creativity, bravery, and strength. He encouraged the fledgling painters, musicians, writers, and dreamers to break rules and think outside the box. Most of all, he encouraged them to make good art. The book "Make Good Art," designed by renowned graphic artist Chip Kidd, contains the full text of Gaiman’s inspiring speech.

Amazon rating: 4.0 stars | Goodreads rating: 4.3 stars

"Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear" by Elizabeth Gilbert

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert

Balancing between soulful spirituality and cheerful pragmatism, Gilbert encourages us to uncover the strange jewels that are hidden within each of us. Whether we are looking to write a book, make art, find new ways to address challenges in our work, embark on a dream long deferred, or simply infuse our everyday lives with more mindfulness and passion, "Big Magic" cracks open a world of wonder and joy.

Also available in Audio, eBook and eAudio.

Amazon rating: 4.5 stars | Goodreads rating: 3.9 stars

"Art Before Breakfast: A Zillion Ways to be More Creative No Matter How Busy You Are" by Danny Gregory

Art Before Breakfast: A Zillion Ways to be More Creative No Matter How Busy You Are by Danny Gregory

For aspiring artists who want to draw and paint but just can't seem to find time in the day, Gregory offers 5– to 10–minute exercises for every skill level that fit into any schedule—whether on a plane, in a meeting, or at the breakfast table—along with practical instruction on techniques and materials, plus strategies for making work that's exciting, unintimidating, and fulfilling. Filled with Gregory's encouraging words and motivating illustrations, "Art Before Breakfast" teaches readers how to develop a creative habit and lead a richer life through making art.

Amazon Rating: 4.6 stars | Goodreads Rating: 4.0 stars

"Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Ever Told You About Being Creative" by Austin Kleon

Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Ever Told You About Being Creative by Austin Kleon

You don’t need to be a genius, you just need to be yourself. That’s the message from Austin Kleon, a young writer and artist who knows that creativity is everywhere, creativity is for everyone. A manifesto for the digital age, "Steal Like an Artist" is a guide whose positive message, graphic look and illustrations, exercises, and examples will put readers directly in touch with their artistic side.

Also available in eBook.

Amazon Rating: 4.6 stars | Goodreads Rating: 3.88 stars

Art Then and Now

"Painted Love: Prostitution in French Art of the Impressionist Era" by Hollis Clayson

Painted Love: Prostitution in French Art of the Impressionist Era by Hollis Clayson

In this engrossing book, Hollis Clayson provides the first description and analysis of French artistic interest in women prostitutes, examining how the subject was treated in the art of the 1870s and 1880s by such avant-garde painters as Cézanne, Degas, Manet, and Renoir, as well as by the academic and low-brow painters who were their contemporaries.

Amazon Rating: 3.3 stars | Goodreads Rating: 4.13 stars

"Graffiti World: Street Art from Five Continents" by Nicholas Ganz

Graffiti World: Street Art from Five Continents by Nicholas Ganz

“Graffiti World," now updated, is the most comprehensive and bestselling survey of graffiti art ever published. The original collection of more than 2,000 illustrations by over 150 artists around the world is joined by a new section devoted to work created in the five years since the book's first edition.

Amazon Rating: 4.4 stars | Goodreads Rating: 4.01 stars

"The Guerrilla Girls' Bedside Companion to the History of Western Art" by the Guerilla Girls

The Guerrilla Girls' Bedside Companion to the History of Western Art by the Guerilla Girls

This colorful reinterpretation of classic and modern art, as outrageous as it is visually arresting, is a much-needed corrective to traditional art history, and an unabashed celebration of female artists.

Amazon Rating: 4.6 stars | Goodreads Rating: 3.95 stars

"Broad Strokes: 15 Women Who Made Art and Made History (In That Order)" by Bridget Quinn

Broad Strokes: 15 Women Who Made Art and Made History (In That Order) by Bridget Quinn

Aligned with the resurgence of feminism in pop culture, "Broad Strokes" offers an entertaining corrective to that omission. Art historian Bridget Quinn delves into the lives and careers of 15 female artists from around the globe in text that's smart, feisty, educational, and an enjoyable read.

Amazon Rating: 4.9 stars | Goodreads Rating: 4.49 stars

"Scandals, Vandals and Da Vincis" by Harvey Rachlin

Scandals, Vandals and Da Vincis by Harvey Rachlin

In "Scandals, Vandals and Da Vincis," award-winning writer Harvey Rachlin relates in exciting detail how nearly thirty of these works came to be created and how they survived burglary, forgery, revolutions, ransoms, vandals, scandals, religious sects, and shipwrecks to eventually come to their current resting places.

Amazon Rating: 3.9 stars | Goodreads Rating: 3.22 stars

Great Artist Bios

"Henry Darger, Throwaway Boy: The Tragic Life of an Outsider Artist" by Jim Elledge

Henry Darger, throwaway boy : the tragic life of an outsider artist by Jim Elledge

Engaging and arresting, "Henry Darger, Throw-Away Boy" brings alive a complex, brave, and compelling man whose outsider art is both challenging and a triumph over trauma.

Amazon Rating: 3.9 stars | Goodreads Rating: 3.68 stars

"The Yellow House: Van Gogh, Gauguin, and Nine Turbulent Weeks in Arles" by Martin Gayford

The Yellow House: Van Gogh, Gauguin, and Nine Turbulent Weeks in Arles by Martin Gayford

This chronicle of the two months in 1888 when Paul Gauguin shared a house in France with Vincent Van Gogh describes not only how these two hallowed artists painted and exchanged ideas, but also the texture of their everyday lives. Includes 60 B&W reproductions of the artists' paintings and drawings from the period.

Amazon Rating: 4.3 stars | Goodreads Rating: 3.91 stars

"Caravaggio: A Life Sacred and Profane" by Andrew Graham-Dixon

Caravaggio: A Life Sacred and Profane by Andrew Graham-Dixon

In a bravura performance, Andrew Graham-Dixon explores Caravaggio s staggering artistic achievements, delving into the original Italian sources to create a masterful profile of the mercurial painter. This New York Times and Washington Post Notable Book of the Year features more than eighty full-color reproductions of the artist s best paintings.

Amazon Rating: 4.4 stars | Goodreads Rating: 4.09 stars

"Unexpected Journeys: The Art and Life of Remedios Varo" by Janet Kaplan

Unexpected Journeys: The Art and Life of Remedios Varo" by Janet Kaplan

The adventures that fill the paintings by Remedios Varo (1908-1963) reflect the physical and psychological journeys of her own tumultuous life. Painted with a jewellike palette and old-master precision, Varo's intimate tableaux, rich with details of women's experience, tell fantasy tales of alchemy, science, mysticism, and magic.

Amazon Rating: 4.6 stars | Goodreads Rating: 4.08 stars

"Off the Wall: A Portrait of Robert Rauschenberg" by Calvin Tomkins

Off the Wall: A Portrait of Robert Rauschenberg by Calvin Tomkins

Featuring the artists and the art world surrounding Rauschenberg--from Jackson Pollock, and Willem de Kooning to Jasper Johns, Frank Stella, and Andy Warhol, together with dealers Betty Parsons, and Leo Castelli, and the patron Peggy Guggenheim--Tomkins's stylish and witty portrait of one of America's most original and inspiring artists is fascinating, enlightening, and very entertaining.

Amazon Rating: 4.1 stars | Goodreads Rating: 4.19 stars

Hone Your Skill

"The Designer’s Dictionary of Color" by Sean Adams

The Designer’s Dictionary of Color by Sean Adams

A practical and inspirational resource for designers and students alike, "The Designer's Dictionary of Color" opens up the world of color for all those who seek to harness its incredible power.

Amazon Rating: 4.6 stars | Goodreads Rating: 3.8 stars

"Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain" by Betty Edwards

Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain by Betty Edwards

Translated into more than seventeen languages, "Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain" is the world's most widely used drawing instruction book. Whether you are drawing as a professional artist, as an artist in training, or as a hobby, this book will give you greater confidence in your ability and deepen your artistic perception, as well as foster a new appreciation of the world around you.

Amazon Rating: 4.7 stars | Goodreads Rating: 3.84 stars

"Graphic Storytelling and Visual Narrative" by Will Eisner

Graphic Storytelling and Visual Narrative by Will Eisner

In "Graphic Storytelling and Visual Narrative," Will Eisner—one of the most influential comic artists of the twentieth century—lays out the fundamentals of storytelling and their application in the comic book and graphic novel.

Amazon Rating: 3.7 stars | Goodreads Rating: 4.09 stars

"Why Art Cannot Be Taught: A Handbook for Art Students" by James Elkins

Why Art Cannot Be Taught: A Handbook for Art Students by James Elkins

Elkins traces the development (or invention) of the modern art school and considers how issues such as the question of core curriculum and the intellectual isolation of art schools affect the teaching and learning of art. He also addresses the phenomenon of art critiques as a microcosm for teaching art as a whole and dissects real-life critiques, highlighting presuppositions and dynamics that make them confusing and suggesting ways to make them more helpful.

Amazon Rating: 3.7 stars | Goodreads Rating: 3.93 stars

"Learning to See Creatively: Design, Color, and Composition in Photography" by Bryan Peterson

Learning to See Creatively: Design, Color, and Composition in Photography by Bryan Peterson

Almost everyone can see in the conventional sense, but developing photographic vision takes practice. "Learning to See Creatively" helps photographers visualize their work, and the world, in a whole new light.

Amazon Rating: 4.6 stars | Goodreads Rating: 4.06 stars

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