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12 Inspiring Books Every Artist Needs To Read

Learning about other artists’ thought processes and beliefs is an ideal way of paving your own path in art!

Art is a process. It’s a vision of an idea, and the expression of that idea in sensory form. Reading about other artists’ ideas and creative processes just seems to get the creative juices flowing.

Not only are these books offering insightful ways to develop your artistic idea, they also tell some fascinating stories about art in our society. It’s so important to keep up to date on how art is viewed as you progress your creative process, because it will affect how your end result is perceived. For all these reasons, these books are simply must reads for artists!

#1 Art & Fear by David Bayles

Art & Fear by David Bayles Get this book or read more reviews of it by using the links below

This book deals with dealing with the temptations and resistance that every artist deals with when it comes to art making in day to day life.

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

#2 The War of Art By Steven Pressfield

The War of Art By Steven PressfieldGet this book or read more reviews of it by using the links below

Similar to Art & Fear, this book deals with struggles faced by artists daily and gives guidance on living a creative life.

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

#3 Create: Tools from Seriously Talented People to Unleash Your Creative Life by Marc Silber

Create: Tools from Seriously Talented People to Unleash Your Creative Life by Marc SilberGet this book or read more reviews of it by using the links below

Many of us think of creativity as something distant and incompatible with daily life―a skill that artists get to use, but not the rest of us. Maybe you feel like a land-locked surfer, yearning for exhilarating rides. Or maybe you live for the few hours a week when you can take photographs, paint, or write. It’s time for a new mindset.

Create shows you how to rediscover the artist within you. Overcoming the barriers to innovation is easier than you think. People who make a living in the creative arts know that there is a cycle to unlocking the imagination. Visualize, know your tools, work your craft, refine, share. When you tap into this cycle, you’ll find ways to operate at your highest state in all aspects of life. Marc Silber, best selling author, award-wining creative and educator, shows you how to avoid the traps of procrastination, overthinking, and self-doubt. The exercises in Create are specifically designed to help you find certainty and confidence in self-expression.

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

#4 Banish Your Inner Critic by Denise Jacobs

Banish Your Inner Critic by Denise JacobsGet this book or read more reviews of it by using the links below

Everyone has an inner critic, a subconscious deterrent that stands between the seeds of great creative ideas and the fruits of achievement. It afflicts us with a mental block as deadlines approach; makes us so afraid of being judged that we hold ourselves back and don’t share our expertise; forces us to question our ability to learn ideas and technologies quickly; and makes us doubt, discount, and kill our ideas before they see the light of day. That’s where Denise Jacobs comes in. Denise is a speaker, author and creativity evangelist who talks at web conferences and consults with tech companies worldwide.

As the Founder and Chief Creativity Evangelist of The Creative Dose, she teaches techniques to make the creative process more fluid, methods for making work environments more conducive to personal productivity, and practices for sparking innovation. In her book, Banish Your Inner Critic, Denise shows you how to defeat those barriers that are holding you back and achieve success through a positive mental attitude. Banish your Inner Critic to start doing your best work, achieving excellence, and contributing meaningfully to the world!

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

#5 Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience by Mihaly CsikszentmihalyiGet this book or read more reviews of it by using the links below

Flow is a psychological state of mind that a person experiences when they are completely engrossed in an activity. The book uses the example of a rock climber who ‘finds his flow’ when climbing up the side of a challenging mountain or cliff. The climber is only focused on the task at hand and does not think about family, work, or other aspects of his life, its all about focusing on moving up one inch at a time.

When in this state of flow, a person is able to achieve the ultimate experience imaginable while accomplishing optimum levels of performance, which leads to improved levels of productivity and creativity. The state of flow can be achieved in many aspects of life such as work, family, relationships and friends. The book describes how artists and musicians can find flow in their work as well.

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

#6 GirlBoss by Sophie Amoruso

GirlBoss by Sophie AmorusoGet this book or read more reviews of it by using the links below

If you have an entrepreneurial bug inside you and you want an inspiring story from a successful women entrepreneur who started from scratch with nothing in her pocket to becoming the top business women, you will love this book.

The author, Sophia, believes in hard work, creativity and determination so her story is for anyone who wants to believe that they can do what they love doing. I really find #girlboss an inspirational book for anyone who is eager to find out what it actually takes to be your own boss, and business lady. This book is full of advice, lessons and life challenges while keeping it entertaining, sassy, sarcastic and utterly smart.

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

#7 From the King’s Court to Kickstarter by Julie Austin

From the King's Court to Kickstarter by Julie AustinGet this book or read more reviews of it by using the links below

This is a must read book for every artist because it traces the patronage of art from the Renaissance through today and gives modern artists a blueprint on how to make a living as an artist with sponsorship.

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

#8 Models of Integrity by Joan Kee

Models of Integrity by Joan Kee Get this book or read more reviews of it by using the links below

Art and Law in Post-Sixties America by Joan Kee. Every artist working now needs to know something about law and this book discusses how contemporary artists have used the law to make their works happen and why that mattered to non-artists. It covers a wide range of subjects from artists using contract law, tax law, negotiation tactics, the art market and criminal law.

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

#9 Artists’ Letters by Michael Bird

Artists' Letters by Michael BirdGet this book or read more reviews of it by using the links below

Artists’ Letters is a treasure trove of carefully selected letters written by great artists, providing the reader with a unique insight into their characters and a glimpse into their lives. Arranged thematically, it includes writings and musings on love, work, daily life, money, travel and the creative process.

On the theme of friendship, for example, letters provide evidence of a creative community between peers, with support and mutual appreciation that helps to dispel the myth of the artist as solitary genius. Letters between Vincent van Gogh and Paul Gauguin show an ongoing conversation and exchange of ideas.

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

#10 The Art of Looking Up by Catherine McCormack

The Art of Looking Up by Catherine McCormackGet this book or read more reviews of it by using the links below

The Art of Looking Up surveys 40 spectacular ceilings around the globe that have been graced by the brushes of artists including Michelangelo, Marc Chagall and Cy Twombly. History of art expert Catherine McCormack guides readers through the stories behind the artworks – their conception, execution, and the artists that visualised them. In many cases, these artworks also make bold but controlled political, religious or cultural statements, revealing much about the society and times in which they were created.

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

#11 Charles Rennie Mackintosh and the Art of the Four by Roger Billcliffe

Charles Rennie Mackintosh and the Art of the Four by Roger BillcliffeGet this book or read more reviews of it by using the links below

Charles Rennie Mackintosh and the Art of The Four presents the most coherent story to date of this important group, concentrating on the entirety of their artistic imagery and output, far beyond the best known work of the 1890s, and charting the constantly changing relationships between the artists and their work.

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

#12 The Artisan Soul by Erwin Raphael McManus

The Artisan Soul by Erwin Raphael McManusGet this book or read more reviews of it by using the links below

In this book, author Erwin Raphael McManus encourages artists to first be in touch with their humanity, for to be human is to be creative. McManus talks about how artists can produce individual masterpieces based on their interpretation of life. The more soulful the interpretation, the more beautiful and fascinating the masterpiece becomes.

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

Contributors to this article
Christian Rodriguez from Crodriguez Art

Brenda Knight from Mango Publishing

Jack Paxton from Top Growth Marketing

Arfa Nazeer from SheMeansBlogging

Julie Austin from Indie Sponsor

Ross Anthony from N/A

Michael Bird from White Lion Publishing

Catherine McCormack from White Lion Publishing

Roger Billcliffe from White Lion Publishing

Rachel Davidson from Dallas Party Ride

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