Must-Read Books on Art for Every Artist and Art Student

I am always looking for books that will inspire, inform, and push me in my creative path because I am both an artist and an art instructor.

Over the years, I have discovered many amazing books on a variety of subjects linked to art, including perspective, anatomy, art theory, drawing, painting, teaching, and more. I want to share some of my favorite books on these topics with you in this blog post, all of which I heartily endorse.

Whether you are a novice or an experienced artist, these books will provide insightful information and helpful advice to help you develop your abilities and broaden your appreciation of art. So let’s get started and look at some of the top art books I’ve found!

Harold Speed, a well-known painter and instructor, wrote this book as a handbook on oil painting techniques and materials. It focuses on form, tone, and color while discussing subjects including painting technique, painting from life, materials, a painter’s training, and more. A comprehensive examination of several painters’ painting techniques is also included in the book, along with close to 70 images and sketches that serve as text illustrations. Although it is written with serious amateurs studying the technical elements of oil painting in mind, anybody who enjoys art will find the author’s insights into the mind and workings of the artist fascinating.

I’ve discovered as an artist that traditional art methods may be learned from earlier masters. Fundamental concepts like tone, texture, color, and drawing were all highlighted by greats like Andrew Loomis and Harold Speed. I was also influenced by Harold Speed’s book “The Practice and Science of Drawing.”

The author’s commentary on old master paintings inspired me to pay closer attention to tonal variations and lost edges. I found the book to be thoroughly documented and full of insightful truths that have helped me on my artistic journey. I would recommend this book to serious students and professionals who value traditional art techniques and see art as a way to elevate the human soul through the expression of tones, edges, drawing, and color. While I was familiar with some of the material, I found the comprehensive approach to teaching foundational disciplines to be engaging.

If you are a teacher, I would suggest reading the contents and sharing this knowledge with your dedicated students. Despite having painted for many years, I have found that this book and others, such as “Carlson’s Guide to Landscape Painting” by John E Carlson, have provided me with a strong foundation in traditional oil painting techniques and have helped me improve as an artist. I am always seeking to learn and grow on my artistic journey and am grateful to have these resources available to me.

The well-known American painter and instructor who wrote this book is widely recognized by art students as a valuable resource. It covers a wide variety of landscape painting-related themes, such as selecting a subject, comprehending the effects of color and atmospheric factors, and methods for achieving various effects in the painting. The author, John Carlson, utilizes his in-depth knowledge of the physical characteristics of landscapes and his highly developed aesthetic sensibility to illustrate the rationale behind various methods and strategies. The book also offers guidance on texture, glazing, varnishing, bleaching, retouching, and framing as well as practical painting topics like how to utilize a canvas, palette, colors, brushes, and other tools.

The book contains 34 copies of the author’s own artwork. 34 copies of the author’s own work are reproduced in the book, which also has 58 diagrams for clarification. In the preface, Howard Simon points out that the book is beneficial for both new and more seasoned painters since it thoroughly discusses the mechanics of landscape painting while also offering a wide-ranging philosophical viewpoint.

In his book, Basic Human Anatomy, Roberto Osti offers artists a comprehensive, yet flexible and holistic approach to the human body. Drawing on the simple yet powerful formula used by some of history’s greatest artists, Osti provides a step-by-step guide to mastering the essential foundation skill of drawing the human form from the inside out. Through a series of progressively organized lessons, readers will learn to replicate the underlying structure of the body, conceptualize its front and side views using basic shapes, add detail using simplified depictions of complex bones and joints, and master the feet, hands, and skull to create realistic renderings of the human form.

Throughout the book, Osti never loses sight of the fact that this understanding should lead to the creation of art, and he provides readers with numerous visuals, examples, and exercises to ensure that they can apply this deeper knowledge of anatomy to finished drawings for maximum impact. With its elegant prose and abundance of excellent illustrations, Basic Human Anatomy is a valuable addition to any artist’s bookshelf and sets itself apart from other human anatomy titles with its simplicity and clarity.

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