14 January 2011

Art Book Love

I'm crazy for books...but you know that if you come around here very often.  I've accumulated quite a few art technique books during my art student years.  Today I'm posting a list of my favorite "A-list" art technique books...my "go to" books when I need help.  This post doesn't include my books on artists, art history, art business, art philosophy...or my "B-list" technique books. 

Most artists hunger for good art books...we're visual learners.  Some would argue you can't learn art from a book, they're probably right.  But reading about art is one way I get motivated and inspired, and I do pick up tips and techniques.  Art technique books are nice to have around when a specific problem arises.  And, occasionally, I get more from a book than from a class or workshop.  Depends on the subject and the book.

I'm always on the lookout for new books...what are your favorites?  I don't care what area of art you prefer, if you think it's good, I need to know...please post to comments or drop me an e-mail.  Click on the images below to see my picks...a few of these books are hard to find, but most are available through Amazon.  I recommend them all.  

(Apologies to non-English speaking visitors for the regretful language divide...I only have English-language books. Of interest, a good US source for non-English art books is Nucleus in Los Angeles, California.)


  1. Hey, I think that's my stack of book.
    I believe I have most of those, don't have the Bridgemans, Sorolla or Loomis, The Loomis is probably is hard to find. Don't have Carlsons or Schmidts book but have read then enough times. Not Familiar with "Masting Composition" by Roberts. May have to look into that.
    James Gurney has a new book out, I just received and only half way through it but already think it will be on my A-list.
    Interesting post.
    See ya, Jim

  2. Thanks, Jim. I've been hearing about Gurney's book a lot lately. That does it, it's in my Amazon shopping cart. Thanks for the tip. Best, Candace.

  3. Candace,

    Thank you for posting this. I'm an art book junkie as well. Some on your list that I LOVE are:
    - Velasquez: Technique of Genius
    - Painting Secrets From a Master (Leffel)
    - Bridgeman's Drawing From Life
    - Any of the Robert Beverly Hale anatomy books.
    - Art Spirit (If you want an interesting read on Henri's life, read Bernard Perlman's "Robert Henri: His Art and His Life"

    Some books you may like are:
    - Degas: In Search of His Technique
    - Pre-Raphaelite Painting Techniques
    - Rembrandt: The Painter at Work
    - Figure Drawing: The Structure, Anatomy, and Expressive Design of the Human Form

    There are several on your list I've been wanting to get. "Alla Prima" and "Problem Solving For Oil Painters".

    Yes, I would highly recommend the "Color and Light" book by Jim Gurney. I've been reading and working with and it's totally changing the way I look at color and how I set up my palette. I've never premixed paints or thought of a gamut range of colors in a painting before. It's really opened my eyes on how to plan a picture.

    Here's a link to my list of books if you are interested. Note: It needs updating.



  4. Please Where did you get that Zorn Book from?
    I really love your collection!

  5. adebanji, I ordered the Zorn book through Nucleus Gallery. Here's a link: http://www.gallerynucleus.com/detail/3620. It's an incredible book.

  6. Gene, Thanks so much for a very impressive listing of favorites. You must have a great library. I visited your blog and website, will be back to read some of your essays and look through all the interesting items you've posted. Sounds like you had the benefits of a rigorous art education. Thanks for visiting.

  7. You are so right about the artist's hunger for books :)
    You have quite a collection...I checked some of them on amazon too! Thanks for sharing :)

  8. Great post, Candace! I have many of your books. I didn't see any Richard Schmid's in your photo (did I miss them...you have everything else)! What is so interesting is how some art instruction books "take off" in price if they go out of print (I'm sure I am not telling you anything you don't know)..but for example I own Dan McCaw's book: A Proven Strategy for Great Painting"..I paid the regular price, whatever that was, 25.00 probably. Well, come to find out now it now valued in the area of $200.
    So...I always tell everyone who isn't art book savvy to never sell them in garage sales without checking first!
    My favorite of all time is Richard Schmid's "Everything I know about Painting".

  9. Thanks, Ramesh. Hope you find something that illuminates your path :o)

  10. Celeste, Now you've got me wondering what that Dan McCaw book is all about. Can't find it through my library system. Have to keep an eye out for a "cheap" copy.

    The Sorolla book on my shelf is an example of price inflation, went for $50 to $500 in about 6 months. I believe a 2nd printing was just release and it can now be had for $150. Advice to Sorolla fans...snatch it up while you can.

    Schmid's book is definitely one of the best. Worth re-reading several times. Good comments, Celeste. TY

  11. excellent collection, some that i would love to have too... your portraits and ability to model the face is excellent. good to see your work and development on this blog:)

  12. What a great way of showing us a list....well, pile. Quite a few books that I have and quite a few more that I want. Thanks!