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Top 10 books on Art that every Artist must-read

Updated: Aug 5, 2023

The best way to learn anything in this world is to submerge yourself in the land of books, and what better way exists to fall in love with art than this? Someone has correctly said, "Books are man's best friend". We know, how helpful a good book can be.


As artists, we struggle to find the best art books that can teach you about art, creativity, art marketing and business. so, we have compiled a list of the Top 10 must-read books for every artist. Use our book recommendations for artists and be the best version of yourself.


As you read, remember to add your book review in the comments, or suggest us any books we may have missed.



Here are the 10 best books you really need to read as an artist!


1. POCKET FRIDA KAHLO WISDOM: Inspirational Quotes and Wise Words from a Legendary Icon

AUTHOR - HARDIE GRANT


Frida Kahlo was one of the most loved artists of her time. Frida, an artist of the 20th century is still an inspiration to many young and emerging artists, thanks to her eclectic taste and love for colour, print and hauls of jewellery. Written by Hardie Grant, this book on art holds wonderful and inspirational quotes and words which will move mountains in your artistic soul. As an artist who loves to get bouts of inspiration from such legendary artists, this is the best pick for you.


This book has snippets of artistic wisdom and art advice. From a young age, Kahlo forged her own path, overcoming polio as a child, and stoically battling the after-effects of a tragic road accident that left her with lifelong injuries. Pocket Frida Kahlo Wisdom is an inspiring collection of some of her best quotes on love, style, life, art and more, and celebrates the Mexican icon's immense legacy.


2. THE BUSINESS OF BEING AN ARTIST

AUTHOR - DANIEL GRANT

The words artist and business together are a very obvious way of telling what this book is all about. For artists who need to gain insight as to how to market and sell their artwork, and all the tips and tricks required to be a successful artist, this is the guide that will set you through and forward.


Visual artists are taught many skills and art techniques around art in the various art schools and university art programs, but rarely are they taught, how to put their art skills to use and actually make a career and money out of it. The Business of Being an Artist book by Daniel Grant has knowledge of how artists can develop a presence in the art industry that leads to art sales. This book also shares information on how artists can learn to sell their work directly to the public, with tips on art marketing. Artists will also learn how to find a suitable art gallery to team up with for sales and commissions. This book also has relevant information on how to set up a contractual relationship with the dealer that is both equitable and profitable. Among the other topics covered in the book, "The Business of Being an Artist" are: the range of exhibition opportunities for emerging and mid-career artists; how to set prices for artwork; when or if artists should pay to advance their careers; how artists may communicate with the public; applying for loans, grants, and fellowships; areas of the law that concern artists; using art materials safely; online sales and marketing, and much more.


In addition to all of this priceless information, The Business of Being an Artist includes a unique discussion of some of the emotional issues that face artists throughout their careers, such as working alone, confronting stereotypes, handling criticisms and rejection, the glare of publicity, and the absence of attention. Without a doubt, The Business of Being an Artist is a must-have book for every artist ready to turn their talent into a successful business.



3. THE CREATIVE HABIT: LEARN IT AND USE IT FOR LIFE

AUTHOR - TWYLA THARP

For creative minds, this book comes from the author's own experiences of developing creative skills and maintaining them for life. The pieces of advice in the book written by Twyla Tharp are really helpful for those who need to find their creative escape!


Whether you are a visual artist, musician, businessperson, or simply an individual seeking to expand your creative vision, The Creative Habit provides you with thirty-two practical exercises based on the lessons Twyla Tharp has learned in her impressive thirty-five-year career, as one of the world's leading creative artist and choreographer. In the chapter, "Where's Your Pencil?" Tharp prompts you to observe the world -- and put it down on paper. In "Coins and Chaos," she gives you a simple way to organise creative thoughts. In "Do a Verb," Tharp ignites your mind and body as coworkers and sets you in action. In "Build a Bridge to the Next Day," she reveals how to clean the clutter from your mind overnight. Tharp leads you through the painful first steps of scratching for ideas, finding the spine of your work, and getting out of ruts and into productive grooves. The wide-open realm of possibilities can be energizing, and Twyla Tharp explains how to take a deep breath and begin.


4. SHOW YOUR WORK

AUTHOR - AUSTIN KLEON

The book tells you how to discover your creativity and explore new forms of it. It also provides you with an insight into the ways of being recognized as an artist. From developing your art skills to getting in the art marketing line, from being acquainted with artistic knowledge to being a part of the community, this book tells you everything.


Show Your Work! by Austin Kleon is a book that tells why generosity trumps genius. It s about building an identity, about using the network instead of wasting time networking. It s not self-promotion, it's self-discovery let others into your process, then let them steal from you. Filled with illustrations, quotes, stories, and examples, Show Your Work! offers ten transformative rules for being open, generous, brave, and productive. In chapters such as You Don t Have to Be a Genius; Share Something Small Every Day; and Stick Around, Kleon creates a user manual for embracing the communal nature of creativity which he calls the ecology of talent. From broader life lessons about work (you can't find your voice if you don't use it) to the etiquette of sharing and the dangers of oversharing to the practicalities of Internet life (build a good domain name; give credit when credit is due), it s an inspiring manifesto for succeeding as any kind of artist or entrepreneur in the digital age.


5. ART AND FEAR: Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking

AUTHORS - DAVID BAYLES AND TED ORLAND

Art and Fear, just like the name, relates to every single artist and all of their fears and insecurities. This book not only connects you to the problem other artists face but also leads you to their solutions and ways to handle all your worries. By connecting all the dots, you will know the real side of being an artist too.


This book is about the way art gets made, the reasons it often doesn't get made, and the nature of the difficulties that cause so many artists to give up along the way. Drawing from the author's individual experiences as two working artists, the book dives deeper into the challenges external and internal of making art in the real world and shows how you can overcome them every day.



6. THE ARTIST'S GUIDE: How to make a living doing what you love

AUTHOR - JACKIE BATTENFIELD

The Artist's Guide: How to Make a living doing what you love, is a book that proves to be of great help and guidance to all the visual artists out there who want to build a career out of their skills and put them out in the world as professional work, make money and build a thriving artistic career.


Providing real-life examples, illustrations, and step-by-step exercises, Battenfield offers readily applicable advice on all aspects of life as an artist. Along with tips on planning and assessment, she presents strategies for self-management, including marketing, online promotion, building professional relationships, grant writing, and portfolio development.


Each chapter ends with an insightful "Reality Check" interview, featuring advice and useful information from high-profile artists and professionals. The result is an inspiring, experiential guide brimming with field-tested techniques that readers can easily apply to their careers.


7. CREATIVE BLOCK: Get Unstuck, Discover New Ideas. Advice & Projects from 50 Successful Artists

AUTHOR - DANIELLE KRYSA (The Jealous Curator)

Facing a creative block and being stuck in it uncomfortably is something every artist has faced at some time or the other, and these are the times when you need inspiration the most. This book does exactly that! With colourful pictures of artworks of all kinds, this is all you need to find your creative escape back again.


Creative block presents the most crippling—and unfortunately universal—challenge for artists. No longer! This widely-read and one of the bestselling books provides solutions for overcoming all manner of artistic impediments. The blogger behind The Jealous Curator interviews 50 successful international artists working in different mediums and collates their insights on how to conquer self-doubt, stay motivated, and get new ideas to flow. Each artist offers a tried-and-true exercise—from road trips to 30-day challenges to cataloguing the medicine cabinet— that will kick-start the creative process. Abundantly visual with more than 300 images showcasing these artists' resulting work, Creative Block is a vital ally to students, artists, and creative professionals.


8. THE ART SPIRIT

AUTHOR - ROBERT HENRI

This volume brings to you art history, musings and all the experiences and learning of the famous American painter Robert Henri. Compiled by his pupil, it gives you an insight into the world of art through the eyes of the famous artist, and his ideas on the subject.


The Art Spirit is a classic work of advice, criticism, and inspiration for aspiring artists and lovers of art". Art when really understood is the province of every human being." Henri, who painted in the Realist style and was a founding member of the Ashcan School, was known for his belief in the interactive nature of creativity and inspiration, and the enduring power of art. Since its first publication in 1923, "The Art Spirit", has been a source of inspiration for artists and creatives from David Lynch to George Bellows. Filled with valuable technical advice as well as wisdom about the place of art and the artist in American society, this classic work continues to be a must-read for anyone interested in the power of creation and the beauty of art.


9. DESIGN AS ART

AUTHOR - BRUNO MUNARI


The book, Design as Art written by Bruno Munari takes you into the real world but with a view that's upside down. Filled with illustrations, it does not only talk about the artistic skills of the hand, but the artistic skills of the mind too. It allows you to look at everyday objects and ordinary things with the lens of art, and discover creativity in unusual ways.


This book is a stack of ideas on thinking outside the box. It teaches you the importance of presentation and an aesthetic approach to life and art.

Munari shares the Bauhaus ideal that art and life should be fused as one. The designer’s job is to respond to the needs of the time. Art should not be divorced from everyday life, an ideal world where we go to find beauty; visual quality should be part of everyone’s ordinary experience.



10. KEEP GOING: 10 ways to stay creative in Good Times and Bad

AUTHOR - AUSTIN KLEON

Keep Going: 10 ways to stay creative in good times and bad, is another book by the author Austin Kleon which is filled with comics, pictures, illustrations and quotes, giving 10 basic tips to keep in mind as an artist. It contains all the positive affirmations an artist would need, to, do exactly what the book says, keep going!


Even on days that are tougher than others, this book sets you on a path to keep working to reach your goals. It addresses ways to fix issues related to creativity and keep innovating even in times of hardship. The work of a creative person is never finished. Instead of having a finish line, it’s more like a loop, in which you keep coming back to a new starting point after every project. In Keep Going, Austin Kleon writes about designing a system to be creative every day and keep moving on to the next project, regardless of success or failure.






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