5 Books For Artists That Are Must Haves

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5 books all artists must have

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Why these five books for artists

I love my art books and there are so many wonderful books for artists out there to learn from. These five books however have inspired me to no end and have made this list because they aren’t only art books. They’re also books that will help you grow as an artist and develop necessary skills to support your craft. So with no further ado, let’s move onto the first on our list of the best books for artists!

Hawthorne on Painting

If I was ever asked to recommend just one book on art/ painting it would be Hawthorne on Painting hands down. It represents the artistic insights of one of the finest teaching painters of the twentieth century. This is one of the best books for artists and will help you gain great insight into color by going through it. Hawthorne’s ability to see color and make others see color is a lesson that will aid student and professional painters alike.

You will come back to Hawthorne on Painting again and again for years to come. It is not a book that you read once and put away. Rather, you will find that you need to re-read it again and again to remind yourself of the rich lessons it offers.

Selected Essays by John Berger

5 Books all artists must have

John Berger and his Selected Essays, is a must read. His writing is exquisite. You may or may not agree with all of his ideas and opinions on art, but it is beyond a doubt that they are all insightful. I personally read Berger because I enjoy his writing but also because I want to become a better writer myself. I hope to soak up his good writing and that it will help me when it comes to writing artist statements, project proposal etc.

Taschen Leonardo Da Vinci book

5 books all artists must have

This is a beautiful book of the drawings of Leonardo Da Vinci. You can never go wrong when it comes to Da Vinci’s Drawings. Study the incredible line work of the Italian master while also learning about his graphic work and life. I personally use this book to study his drawings by copying them – I find one can understand them on a completely new level when physically copying them. Taschen really puts together so many lovely books for artists and this, along with the next book on the list here are no exception.

The complete works of Vermeer

5 books all artists must have

This is a gorgeous volume of Vermeer’s complete works. It goes without saying that Vermeer’s paintings are breathtaking. You will find wonderful close ups that let you see details of his work that you never would have noticed before. This is one of those books for artists that will never cease to inspire you before you head to your studio.

Manage your day to day

5 books all artists must have

What happens day to day is what makes up your life. Setting up good daily habits will help you and your art to thrive. I personally struggle to maintain a good schedule and wish for a good daily routine, this book Manage Your Day to Day, is helping me to get there. May it do the same for you.

Other books for artists to inspire you

If your appetite for art books is just getting wet… Here is a list of the best drawing books for artists I put together, to help you learn and grow in your drawing skills.


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    Hello! I'm Elisabeth Larson Koehler

    Art Studio Life exists for you to be able to stay inspired, learn, and improve your skills.

    Elisabeth Larson Koehler creator of art studio life
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    12 thoughts on “5 Books For Artists That Are Must Haves”

      1. I was taking an art class, and one of my most favorite class mates was a 92 year old halocaust survivor who had started painting in her eighties and made beautiful art.

        1. Hello Roy, Thanks for sharing that – that is wonderful that she started painting in her eighties! That must have been a wonderful learning experience to be able to be in the same class with her. I have had so many students who didn’t start painting until much later in their life and it is remarkable to see how much progress they make.

    1. Branislav miokovic

      My favourite book on arts is ” Art and Visual perception” by Rudolph Arnheim. By far the best ever explanation about the secrets of good art.

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