thou art mum

Let’s Explore Art Books and Journals

Written By Cate Laidler

Being a creative is an absolute dream. The joy of creating is one of the reasons I began to explore my artistic side. For me, the act of creating is a primal instinct and a meditative process. However, since I commenced my creative journey in 2016, I have found my practice has been enhanced by developing a certain amount of professionalism, and by the use of practical tools, habits, and perspective. This included returning to undergraduate study at university.

University study is not essential to fulfilling a dream of being an artist. There are many offline and online resources available to further an artistic vision. Even as an undergraduate, I still take online art courses if they pique my interest. We live in the information age after all, where access to art resources is widely available.

Personally, I have found art books provide a wealth of inspiration. From biographies, memoirs, instructional manuals, art magazines, to psychological tomes, there is an endless variety of books to expand your personal art journey. Books can help to demystify creativity and provide alternative ways to approach the creative process. They can also simply be a font of creative inspiration.

books and journals
books and journals

Additionally, art journaling can augment your practice and help you resolve blocks and processes. It is a good habit to get into keeping an artist’s journal. The use of a journal has become invaluable to me. 

books and journals
books and journals
books and journals
books and journals

Below are some examples of essential books for artists that I have read. These are but a few. They contain a wealth of priceless information to help you along your path. Throughout this blog, I have presented some example images from my art journals for your enjoyment, along with images of other books in my personal library that I have benefited from and enjoyed. I am currently reading Ai Weiwei’s, A Thousand Years of Joys and Sorrows, and highly recommend it.

War of Art/Steven Pressfield: This book deals primarily with ambition and how to recognize obstacles and creative blocks. Pressfield gives insight on integrating discipline into the creative process.

Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain/Dr. Betty Edwards: I am still working through this book. This is an updated of the original 1979 classic. It is a practical manual to teach you how to draw. Dr. Edwards’ helps dispel the idea that people have to be born with ‘ability’ in order to draw. 

Steal Like an Artist/Austin Kleon: Ten principles to nurture creativity and live innovatively. A fun, immersive, quick read which includes engaging artistic exercises. 

Art, Inc.: The Essential Guide for Building Your Career as an Artist/Lisa Congdon: I did an online 4-week course with Lisa in 2016 which propelled me on my creative journey. I can’t leave this off the list. An essential guide for everything related to the business of art. This book details specific strategies and tools to help enhance your business acumen and art business.

Big Magic/Elizabeth Gilbert: Need I say more? This book offers insights into the mysterious nature of inspiration. Gilbert embraces curiosity and reveals how you can let go of needless suffering. She shows us how to embrace our passions, and face down our fears.

books and journals

Want to learn more about Cate? Visit her profile page where you can read about her and find out how to get in contact.

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