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19 Best Business Books Artists Must Read To Be Recognized

Regardless of talent, working in art and design requires an understanding of art business

Whether you like it or not, most jobs nowadays require at least a basic understanding of business. That’s why we often see talent being left behind; business is an essential ingredient for financial stability as an artist.

That’s why this list is incredibly important if you’re an artist who wants to continue learning and developing your place in the art world. Having reached out to artists, we found this list of 19 books have the perfect combination of being approachable without being too basic. Of course, they’re also focused on art and business, with meaningful examples and advice that you can use in your own path.

This contribution was made by Stella Samuel from Brandnic

The Essential Guide to Business for Artists and Designers by Alison Branagan

This easy-to-follow-and-read guide is written with regard to a wide range of art. Whether a startup or a pro, the guide can still play a key role in your art. The author’s aim in this handy guide is to help artists and designers acquire helpful skills to help them become successful business people in the future. Personally, I recommend the book since it’s so versatile and boosts innovation.

This contribution was made by Osama from Outfitrs

Art Money & Success by Maria Brophy

This book is a gold mine for anyone in a creative field, but definitely incredibly helpful for illustration artists like me.but this book was a perfect resource to teach me the ins and outs of the art business and it helped me immensely. Just following Maria’s advice to get focused on what I really want to do was super helpful. Highly recommended

This contribution was made by Majid Fareed from James Bond Suits

How to Sell Your Art Online by Cory Huff

If you are a great artist but lack business and marketing skills. Then this book is a must-read for you.

This contribution was made by Ali Ubaid Ul Hassan from Decrum

Making It in the Art World by Brainard Carey

It is an incredible book in this the author discusses artist life, how they survive, exhibit, and earns money. This book is a guide for all the level of artists.

This contribution was made by M. Ammar Shahid from SuperHeroCorp

How to survive and Prosper as an Artist by Caroll Michels

This book is an excellent piece of knowledge for a career artist who wants to earn better. It covers all the essentials parts from a business perspective from pricing, advertising, online promotion, to consideration of specific legal guidelines. It will enable an artist to understand the commerce world in a better way.

This contribution was made by Katie Dames from Feely Feelings

Art Inc. by Lisa Congdon

There is a great misconception when it comes to art and making money. This book breaks down the practical steps needed to build you career as an artist. It’s an essential guide for anyone looking to share their art with the world and earn a living from doing so!

This contribution was made by James Dillehay from Craftmarketer

Start a Creative Recycling Side Hustle by James Dillehay

Artists and artisans around the world are calling attention to the climate crisis through their work. This book tells their stories and describes the steps for how anyone can repurpose trash into treasure as a side gig or business. With nearly 90% of consumers (source: Forbes) concerned about the environmental impact of their purchases here is the blueprint for prospering in the circular economy.

This contribution was made by Liz Brown from Sleeping Lucid

Art/Work – Revised & Updated by Heather Darcy Bhandari

As someone who also balances work and other things she’s passionate about, I believe that the best business book for artists is Bhandari and Melber’s Art/Work. The book provides fresh and updated ways to address how artists can balance the business and legal aspects of pursuing a fine art career.

This contribution was made by Julianne Buonocore from Jules Buono

Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

Big Magic was an instant #1 NEW YORK TIMES Bestseller. Gilbert shares her creative process to show us how to hone into our own most creative lives, which in turn means producing the absolute best product for sale. She states, “A creative life is an amplified life. It’s a bigger life, a happier life, an expanded life, and a hell of a lot more interesting life. Living in this manner—continually and stubbornly bringing forth the jewels that are hidden within you—is a fine art, in and of itself.” In terms of meeting business goals, she also reminds the artist that sometimes “Done is better than good.” The book is filled with stories and insights for creative business inspiration and advice for facing your deepest creative fears. Ultimately, she poses the following question to ignite the reader: “So this, I believe, is the central question upon which all creative living hinges: Do you have the courage to bring forth the treasures that are hidden within you?” This book definitely marries artistry and business more than any other book I have read.

This contribution was made by Nikola Baldikov from Brosix

Legal Guide for the Visual Artist by Tad Crawford

This classic guide for artists is completely revised and updated to provide an in-depth view of the legal issues facing the visual artist today and provides practical legal guidance for any visual artist involved with creative work. Among the many new topics covered in this comprehensive guide are: detailed coverage of the myriad developments in copyright (including online copyright registration procedures and use of art on the Internet); changes in laws protecting artists in artist-gallery relationships are explained in depth; scope of First Amendment protections for graffiti art and the sale of art in public spaces; detailed as well as new cases dealing with art and privacy; and a model contract for Web site design and much more.

This contribution was made by Caleb Leigh from Visuals by Impulse

The Win Without Pitching Manifesto by Blair Enns

A must-read for creative entrepreneurs, written by someone who truly understands creative-types and the challenges they face. There’s a reason it’s sold over 15,000 copies and still holds a near perfect rating. The book focuses on finding better clients who respect the work that goes into design – getting them to come to you instead of constantly searching.

This contribution was made by Norhanie Pangulima from Centriq

The Artist’s Guide by Jackie Battenfield

The book is thorough and concise and the author’s style is engaging and informative. The author has successfully been making a living selling her art for over 20 years. She also teaches professional development programs for artists at Creative Capital Foundation and Columbia University. If you love your art, and you want to make money from it, read this book. Buy one for yourself, your friends and your family.

This contribution was made by Norhanie Pangulima from Centriq

I’d Rather Be in the Studio by Alyson B. Stanfield

The author of the book is an art marketing expert and consultant. She wrote this book to help you get your art out of the studio and into the spotlight. She’s worked with professional artists for more than 20 years and is the voice behind the widely-popular blog, The Art Biz Blog. Her book covers everything from social media and blogging secrets to insightful newsletters and artist statement tips.

This contribution was made by Laura Di Franco from Brave Healer

Your High Vibe Business by Laura Di Franco

Your High Vibe Business, a Strategic Workbook for Badass Entrepreneurial Success is sixteen chapters of actionable exercises, beginning with crafting your business vision all the way to researching speaking gigs. The two expert authors behind this collection of badassery have made the mistakes so you don’t have to, and share the short cuts and secrets to business development it takes most people decades to master. Any one of the chapters in this book is likely to move you forward in your business in a big way. Follow it from start to finish and get ready for a transformation you didn’t expect.

This contribution was made by Elandas Miller from Kicking It Sports

The E-Myth Revisited by Michael E Gerber

This is a great book that helps give readers an understanding of what running a business truly is. It explains the business owner in 3 different ways: The Manager, The Entrepreneur, and The Technician. Many artists are known as Technicians. These are the individuals who does the day to day tasks in the business. Some artists get confused about what it truly means to be an entrepreneur. The point of a business is to create something that lives on its own without you taking care of the daily tasks. A business is its own living entity. The E-Myth helps explains to the readers the difference between working on your business and in your business. It takes you down the path of a baker who opened her own shop and struggled throughout her journey. If you have already started a business, you may have already experienced some of these shortcomings. The author tells the story in a way that is compelling and drops many gems.

This contribution was made by Elandas Miller from Kicking It Sports

The Linchpin by Seth Godin

The Linchpin explains to its readers the importance of becoming the best version of yourself and how you can become an asset to the world by standing out. It gives us an explanation on the mindset necessary to create and run a successful business. The book talks about the lizard brain which is what controls many of our every day decisions. It keeps us from being our best selves, keeps us from launching our products, and keeps us from taking necessary risks. The book helps the readers acknowledge these thoughts and give them ways to overcome them. As an artists, there are many obstacles that stand in our way and The Linchpin helps with reminding ourselves that we are the boss of our minds.

This contribution was made by Danica Vince Cruz from Danica VC Media

Crushing It! by Gary Vaynerchuk

Artists have a clear passion for what they do, but don’t always think they can build it into a thriving business. Gary Vaynerchuk explains practical tactics that show just how possible it is to leverage your art into a side hustle or full-time practice. The book also features case studies of other artists and their path to success.

This contribution was made by Danica Vince Cruz from Danica VC Media

Creative Calling by Chase Jarvis

Developing your own creative voice, understanding what risks to take, and integrating yourself with a welcoming community are foundational when it comes to building a business from your art – but these things don’t always come easy. Chase Jarvis, a world-renowned photographer, author, and entrepreneur, helps you embrace the uncertainty that’s part of the process.

This contribution was made by Jack Choros from Sophisticated Investor

Art Money Success by Maria Brophy

There is a popular belief that anybody who makes art for a living has to be a starving artist. Maria’s book proves that idea isn’t true.. She offers a lot of great insight into how to price art and how to license it for sale so that an artist can earn residual income. It’s a great business minded book for somebody who is more artistically inclined and maybe doesn’t know as much about how to handle the business side of things.

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Written by Zak Parker

Journalist, writer, musician, professional procrastinator. I'll add more here later.

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