Recommended Reading

Nominate your favorite art book! Just send an email to with the title, author, and ISBN number (if you have it handy), a brief description of the book, and why you recommend it. Please specify your name as you'd like to be credited. You may request to have your name linked to your web site. As the list grows, additional categories will be added, and split onto separate pages.

Buying and Selling Art
Artist’s and Graphic Designer’s Market See Felix Eddy interview
How to Survive and Prosper as an Artist See Felix Eddy interview
Art Marketing 101:
A Handbook for the Fine Artist

Constance Smith
Art Appreciation and General Reference
Art: A New History
by Paul Johnson
See Impressionism article by John Crowther
Critical Focus: Photography in the
International Image Community

by A.D. Coleman
While Coleman is specifically discussing art photography, his series of essays from the early 1990's are just as applicable to art in any form. His comments are wide ranging, from issues of self portraiture to ways of portraying the Holocaust. Densely written, it is best taken in small bits and thoroughly considered before moving to the next essay.
Art & Fear: Observations
on the Perils (and Rewards)

by David Bayles & Ted Orland

Quoting from the back cover: this book "explores the way art gets made, teh reasons it often doesn't get mad, and the nature of the difficulties that cause so many artists to give up along the way." In this book I discovered that most (all?) artists are afraid of many things related to making their art. With humor and personal stories, the authors show how to accept the fear and get on with the process.
But Is It Art?: An Introduction to Art Theory
by Cynthia Freeland

A clear and concise introduction to thinking about art in all its guises. Freeland considers traditional art and beauty, contrasting it successfully with modern explorations of money, sex and culture. While you won't come away with definitive answers about individual works, you will understand how to evaluate art and be able to decide for yourself the merits of a wide variety of works.
The Creative Habit
by Twyla Tharp

My hands-down favorite book on creativity! Written by the incredible choreographer, Ms. Tharp describes her own life of creating: how she gets an idea, how she develops it, how she maintains the concept throughout the process. This is not a new-age meandering fluff-book, it is direct and hardworking and the exercises that she includes at the end of each chapter are goal oriented and practical.
That's the Way I See It
by David Hockney and Nikos Stangos
See Brian Bednarek interview
Secret Knowledge: Rediscovering the Lost Techniques of the Old Masters
by David Hockney
See Brian Bednarek interview
Picasso's War See Douglas Pexa interview
The Art Spirit
by Robert Henri
See Royce Deans interview
The Nude: A Study in Ideal Form
by Kenneth Clark
See David Quammen interview
The Artist's Model: From Etty to Spencer
by Martin Postle and William Vaughan

See David Quammen interview
The Undressed Art: Why We Draw
by Peter Steinhart
See David Quammen interview
From the book jacket: "...What is the mind doing when we draw? Why is so much drawing of the face and the nude figure? What is the dynamic between a clothed artist and a naked model? Steinhart makes clear that at its best, drawing is a spontaneous expression of what we see, an 'undressed art' unencumbered by affectation of calculated fashion. And he reveals its many rewards: it helps us to focus, to slow down, and to really see the world and ourselves..."
Drinking Lightning: Art, Creativity, and Transformation
by Philip Rubinov-Jacobson
Recommended by Angelles LaVeau
"Full of tips that are invaluable"
The Thames & Hudson Dictionary of Art Terms, 2nd Edition  This 240-page illustrated dictionary is handy for students, artists, art collectors, and anyone else interested in art.
The Thames and Hudson Dictionary of Art and Artists (The World of Art Series)
by Herbert Read
Art Technique
ALLA PRIMA Everything I Know About Painting
by Richard Schmid

[Note: This book is available from the author's web site for a lower price than Amazon]

Recommended by Brent Lane
This book is a treasure trove of information on oil painting and an enjoyable read. Chapters include: Good Ideas and Free Advice, Direct Painting, Starting, Drawing, Values, Edges, Color and Light, Composition, Technique, & The Magic. Richard Schmid shares his knowledge in depth about each of these topics. The color charts that teach you how to know the capabilities and range of all the pigments on your palette is worth the price alone. If all of the knowledge presented in this book is comprehended and put into practice, I don't believe there would be a need for any other book on painting.
Keys to Successful Landscape Painting
by Foster Caddell

Recommended by Brent Lane
This book has been reprinted recently. This book is an excellent book for those first working with oils. Mr. Caddell spotlights 50 common problems encountered by the beginning painter and provides simple, logical solutions. Each problem is shown in a typical beginners painting and then the author shows the solution in an improved version of the student painting.
Keys to Successful Color
by Foster Caddell

Recommended by Brent Lane
This book is geared more towards the intermediate painter, it teaches you how to successfully use color in your oil paintings. The author again uses "Keys" that show errors and their solutions. What I find particularly helpful is that Mr. Caddell tries to impart to the reader his thought processes when painting.
Brushwork Essentials
by Mark Christopher Weber

Everything an oil painter could want to know about how and why to use brushes, as well as selecting and caring for them. The great demonstration photos show details of getting the paint onto your brush and then onto your canvas, blending, scumbling, glazing, getting highlights and shadows... Weber also covers using water miscible oils and the various solvents for traditional oils. An excellent resource for any level of painter.
How I Paint: Secrets of a Sunday Painter
by Thomas S. Buechner

Thomas Buechner, former director of the Brooklyn Museum and the Corning Museum of Glass, has spent a lifetime studying and making art. He has work hanging in the Metropolitan Museum of Art and in the Smithsonian. This book is the culmination of his learning about the process of making art, his process in particular. Very readable, this book is like a conversation with a close friend, sharing the peculiar ups and downs of creating art. It is filled with practical information as well and nearly 100 of Buechner's paintings are shown, demonstrating a point that he is making. A lovely and informative book that I have read several times.
The New Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain
by Betty Edwards
A very popular beginner's book. The author believes anyone can learn to draw. The book is filled with exercises designed to develop drawing skills.
The Artist's Complete Guide to Drawing the Head
by William L. Maughan
See Virginia Tupper interview
Drawing Realistic Textures in Pencil
by J. D. Hillberry
See Virginia Tupper interview
Colored Pencil Explorations
by Janie Gildow
See Virginia Tupper interview
Colored Pencil Solution Book
by Janie Gildow & Barbara Benedetti Newton
See Virginia Tupper interview
The Complete Colored Pencil Book
by Bernard Poulin
See Virginia Tupper interview
Exploring Colored Pencil
by Sandra McFall Angelo
See Virginia Tupper interview
Color Pencil Portraits Step by Step
by Ann Kullberg
A great book for choosing skin tone colors
See Virginia Tupper interview
Non-Adhesive Binding Books without Paste or Glue
by Keith A. Smith
For the beginning book binder
See Douglas Pexa interview
Figure Drawing Technique and Anatomy Reference
Drawing Lessons from the Great Masters
by Robert Beverly Hale

Recommended by Art Krummel
This book is essential reading for the serious student of the human
form. Though the title says "drawing lessons" all of the lessons are
based on the human form with the exception of one donkey. The author has written easy to understand lessons based on a master's drawing that illustrates the point he is trying to make. The book will take the reader through the whole gamut of the process of drawing beginning with chapter one - Learning to Draw. Other chapters include chapter 2 - Line, or chapter 5 - Position, Thrust, or Direction. The final chapter, chapter 7 - Driving All the Horses at Once, puts all of the previously mentioned skills together to show how they all work together to produce wonderful art. The 272 pages contain 200 illustrations done by the greatest artists in history. I return to this book time and time again to review techniques or drawing processes that I feel I've lost touch with. Add this to your library.

Anatomy Lessons from the Great Masters
by Robert Bverly Hayle and Terence Coyle

Recommended by Art Krummel
This is a book of Anatomy Lessons that begins where normal anatomy books leave off. Co-author Terence Coyle used his notes collected from years of lectures on human anatomy given by Robert Beverly Hale. With Hale's blessing he paired the notes up with 100 master drawings and thus "Anatomy Lessons . . ." was born. The book is broken down into 8 chapters, each on a major area of the body. The first chapter is on the rib cage, which is subdivided into titles like "Rib cage lateral aspect" or "Rectus Abdominus". The titles give the impression of more dry anatomy but the accompanying text is anything but dry. The muscle shapes are described with easy to understand terms like "elongated diamond shaped muscle" in referring to the trapezius. Each major body area is covered in detail with seperate chapters including ones for the foot, the hand, and the neck and head. The final chapter contains numerous anatomical reference plates. If you only can bring yourself to read one anatomy book, this is the one to read. It is a must for the serious student of figure drawing.

Master Class in Figure Drawing
b y Robert Berverly Hale

Recommended by Art Krummel
This book is structured using the same order of topics as is "Anatomy Lessons. . .". Again the lectures are paired with master's drawings that best illustrate the lecture's topic. Most of the main topics are broken down into five sub-topics: massing, planes and values, landmarks, muscles and finally bones.This book differs from the first two in that the text appears to be the actual lectures as presented by Mr. Hale. As is the case with most good art teachers Hale has a way of using simple analogies and descriptive phrases to convey the complex topic in an entertaining and easy to understand way. The lectures make me wish that I'd known about this man while he was still teaching. Now I have to settle for his lectures in a written form. There are invaluable little treasures of information that won't be found elsewhere. I feel my figure drawing library is complete now. Take a look at this book yourself, you won't put it down.

The Art of Figure Drawing
by Clem Robins
Illustrated with many impressive figure drawings of both male and female models, this book is divided into three sections: Elements, Techniques, and Problem Solving. If you've ever felt your drawings look overworked, you might appreciate the author's philosophy that "you are to be a poet, not a reporter, when you draw."
Constructive Anatomy
by George B. Bridgman
See Virginia Tupper interview
Anatomy for the Artist See Felix Eddy interview
Human Anatomy Made Amazingly Easy
Christopher Hart
While the title is arguably exaggerated, this book offers a simplified approach to figure drawing. The book includes sections on the head, face, skeletal structure, muscles, hands and feet. Additionally, more advanced drawing concepts are covered, including asymmetry, foreshortening, weight-bearing poses, negative space, and lines of action. If you are feeling overwhelmed at the task of rendering the human form, this book might be a choice.
Strength Training Anatomy: Your
illustrated guide to muscles at work

Frederic Delavier
Admittedly, this title seems a bit out of place on a list of art books, but it is a terrific reference for studying musculature (and an outstanding weight training guide, too). This book provides very detailed drawings of both males and females in a comprehensive variety of weight-training positions, such as barbell curls, chin ups, lunges, crunches, etc. In each illustration, the muscles being worked by that particular exercise are colored in red. Home Page