Most artists have art books in their collection that hold great meaning to them as art books chronicle stories of artists and artwork that are revered throughout generations of human history. Art books are great reads for artists because these books impart wisdom and inspire fresh ideas for their upcoming piece of art. Not only that, the content depicted in art books provide a boost of self-confidence for individuals who are in the long – and often times lonely – profession of being an artist. Art books are not merely about pictures and paintings, but they also include contents such as artist’s backstories and struggles, landmark works in art history, art theory, and the evolution of art. Hence, here are ten books that every artist should have in their collection, in no particular ranking.
1. Letter to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke
This book by Rainer Maria Rilke contains letters that speaks to all young people but more intimately to artists and their artistic endeavours. In this book, Rilke gives vivid insights about the demands, pleasures, and struggles of an artist’s life. He constantly highlights one of the most significant, yet painstaking aspect of an artist’s life – solitude. Rilke believes that a truly creative life is impossible to reach if an artist is unable to experience and utilize deep solitude.
2. Art & Fear
This book is for the times when self-doubt starts to creep in into an artist’s mind, filling it with thoughts of “am I talented enough” or “why am I doing art?”. This book highlights the difficulties faced along an artist’s journey that cause many to give up along the way and offers advice for getting past them. The book features the real-life observations based on personal experiences of its writers – David Bayles and Ted Orland.
3. Vincent Van Gogh’s Letters to Theo
Vincent Van Gogh has always been praised for his creative intelligence, yet this book sheds light on the difficulties that his iconic artist had to face in his time and the close relationship he had with his brother, Theo. These letters depict him grappling with all the essential problems that many artists today face too; work, life, and historic and contemporary art. This book also features Van Gogh’s ideology of painting “not as I see things, but as how I feel them”.
4. Color and Light
If you are interested to learn more about colour theory in art, then this book is a must-have in your collection. Written by James Gurney, this book features James’ extensive research on how light and colour work in the real world and how it applies to art. James explains the science behind the art in an easily understandable way.
5. The Art Spirit
One of the most inspirational books on this list is Robert Henri’s The Art Spirit. Henri believes that there is an artist in everyone. Henri spreads the thought that everyone – not only professionally-trained artists – has the opportunity to express his or her life experiences through art. Although Henri does place high regards for people who dedicate their lives to making art, he believes that all people can live creatively and be possessed the art spirit. This book is ideal for individuals who wish to dabble into art but might have concerns and self-doubts.