Books for Illustrators

16 Best Books for Illustrators: Artists’ Essentials

Table of Contents

You are passionate about illustrations, and the world is filled with people who are eager to help but have you ever thought about taking help from books? Wondering, why suddenly we are talking about books.

Well, books are a form of art primarily used to create a lasting impression and be remembered. So, when you opt to take help from books, there are more chances that you may remember the content for longer, and it can be easier to implement.

Undeniably, when talking about any specific profession like illustration or animation, we can’t miss books for illustrators that are excellent assets. Reading a book regularly can help designers or illustrators learn new things about design and enhance vocab. They can accumulate more words as they process. In short, books can aid in improving communication skills and overall design knowledge.

Outstanding Illustration Books You Must Read

Whether finding illustration styles for children’s books or just beginning a career and looking for inspiration and a unique style, we have created a series of essential books that every illustrator should read at least once in their lives.

Reading any of these books will never be a waste of time because they all provide helpful insights into the illustration world and advice for aspiring illustrators.

1. Becoming A Successful Illustrator

Anyone considering a future in illustration (or looking for a boost in their current job) will find Becoming a Successful Illustrator to be of great value after reading this book. This is the second edition, so it is entirely up to date. There is guidance from working illustrators (and those who hire them), helpful advice on how to find work, market yourself, and operate your illustration business, and tons of motivational imagery in this book.

2. How to Draw Cool Stuff

For book artists just beginning their careers, this “A Drawing Guide For Teachers And Students” is a real gem. It is a comprehensive how-to handbook on illustration fundamentals, including a shading manual and a detailed explanation of the foreshortening technique. It covers the quality and diversity of lines and how they appear on different illustration mediums. This book is not restricted to illustrators or artists but is a guide for all.

To demonstrate to readers how they can turn simple forms into aesthetic visuals, the author has utilized a welcoming tone and simple language. This book also gives you plenty of practice, which guides you through the illustrating process and imparts valuable knowledge regardless of your prior experience.

3. Color and Light

A book by James Gurney, a legendary artist, has to be on our list of must-reads for illustrators. This is his second book on color and light, which is undoubtedly the best and most thorough ever. It is one of the traditional illustration books that is genuinely a guide for the realist painter.

This book demonstrates that Gurney is a master teacher in addition to being a master artist. In it, Gurney examines artists who were masters at utilizing color and light, the properties of color and pigments, how light reveals form, and a variety of atmospheric effects. Yet he avoids using technical phrases or too scientific language to explain everything in it.

4. Thinking Visually for Illustrators

Wigan has created a comprehensive and all-encompassing resource for illustrators who want to improve their proficiency and, at the same time, get inspired by the current works of other experts in this field.

The book is impressive since it offers in-depth explanations of illustration techniques and languages, which is the knowledge that any professional illustrator should have. Also, it serves as an example of how prospective illustrators and former illustration students traverse their own paths to professionalism and eye-catching works.

In light of this, the book is a highly suggested piece of reading for individuals who want to stay updated about all the latest developments in the illustration world while also being familiar with its timeless standards and classics.

5. Beyond Art Fundamentals

The book Beyond Art Fundamentals is intended for more experienced and accomplished artists who desire to push their creative boundaries. You should think about getting it once you’ve mastered the fundamental principles and procedures of creating art.

This is among the best books for illustrators that give suggestions and directions for enhancing mood, emotion, and atmosphere in artistic storytelling. It includes a significant number of beautiful pieces of art and original advice. Your painting will be more memorable and recognized if these components are present.

6. Master the Art of Speed Painting: The Digital Painting Techniques

This is one of the great books on illustration, written by Matte Painters. Master the Art of Speed Painting aims to help artists who work for movies, video games, and those who work in demanding industries.

It has everything on matte painting, digital painting software, and concept design. This book features excellent insight on helpful time-saving tips from industry experts and time-specific guidance to implement into work procedures.

7.      How To Be An Illustrator

Because of the realities of being a working artist, having business knowledge is just as important as drawing skills. How To Be An Illustrator is a fantastic resource for beginners that covers the fundamentals of running a successful illustration business, including how to put together a portfolio, contact clients, get ready for contract meetings, and manage your time and finances. Also, it has insightful conversations with nine business experts.

Rees is skilled since he has experience working with significant clients in both the US and the UK, as displayed in his book.

8. Lost in Translation

After reading so many books about entrepreneurship and self-promotion, here’s one that will remind you why you initially fell in love with drawing. Illustration tips can be found in Lost in Translation: An Illustrated Dictionary of Untranslatable Terms from Around the Globe. But this comes among the best drawing books that include 50 illustrations of words from different languages that cannot be translated into English.

According to author Ella Frances Sanders, the Finnish language has a word for the maximum distance a reindeer can go before needing to rest, while the Japanese language has a word for the way sunlight passes through tree leaves. Such definitions in writing are lengthy. Her examples in definitions are not.

9. Fifty Years of Illustration

Caroline Roberts and Lawrence Zeegen chart the rich history of illustration in Fifty Years of Illustration, highlighting “the rampant idealism of the 1960s, the bleak realism of the 1970s, the over-blown consumerism of the 1980s, and the digital explosion of the 1990s” as well as how the medium has evolved over time.

Zeegen examines how socioeconomic issues affect illustration and how they affect it in turn. He also explained the influence of current illustration on popular culture through essays and artist biographies.

Keep this textbook illustration asset on your shelves and refer to it frequently if you understand where the illustration originated.

10. Force: Drawing Human Anatomy

One of the best anatomy books for beginning and intermediate artists is Drawing Human Anatomy. This book is an artist’s anatomy guide. There are anatomy books for medical students, and then there are anatomy books for artists.

Mike Mattesi describes human anatomy as energy, movement, and force instead of a static thing, which is precisely what we want to achieve in our figure drawings.

11. Fundamentals of Character Design

The Fundamentals of Character Design is a book that includes all the details of how to build interesting characters for animation, visual development, and illustration.

Through visual and analytical methods, learn what makes people likable and memorable and how to build characters like this. Discover the fundamentals of character development as a visual language through shapes, proportions, and exaggeration from brilliant experts. This is considered one of the outstanding character design books.

12. The Addictive Sketcher

With The Addictive Sketcher, Adebanji Alade has shared the excitement of his artistic journey. Alade, an artist, TV broadcaster, and teacher, discusses the fundamentals of sketching, beginning with the tools he employs before moving on to mark-making strategies, including angles, contours, and ghosting. It is supported by uncomplicated photographs, brief walkthroughs, work-in-progress, and finished artwork.

The artist spends more time explaining fundamental art ideas like perspective and composition while offering various finished examples, annotated artwork, and a more explicit definition of key phrases.

This is the one for you if you’re eager to get up from your workstation and begin sketching the exterior world. Public transportation, buskers, statues, markets, and other specific sketching circumstances make up the bulk of the book. Alade offers helpful advice on each and says that all are doable for the ordinary artist.

13. 365 Days of Art

365 Days of Art: A Creative Exercise for Every Day of the Year by Lorna Scobie is another of the best digital illustration books, compiling various artistic mini-challenges intending to encourage the reader or artist to think creatively and develop their artistic abilities. The tasks range from easy ones, like making a design on a grid, to more difficult ones, like learning calligraphy.

14. Cartoon Drawing

One of the perfect illustrator books for all beginners. Both adults and children who aim to learn cartoon drawing might benefit from this book. It can serve as a helpful guide and a source of inspiration for beginning illustrators because it is written in easy language and is full of step-by-step instructions.

The creation of 3D shapes is covered in this book as well. It can therefore serve as a starting point for learning the fundamentals of 3D modeling.

15. Picture This

The psychology of perception and art are both present in this book. The author poses highly logical and consistent questions regarding the feelings that particular images, lines, and colors arouse and then provides concise explanations of how to make the most of your artistic toolkit to transmit your intended meaning to the spectator effectively. Although having been written more than 30 years ago, the book is still relevant today.

16. The Shape of Ideas: An Illustrated Exploration of Creativity

Everyone who wants to widen their mind to new ideas should read this book. Choose this book if you feel like you are running out of creative ideas or if your ideas are stuck. This is one compelling book that helps you visually organize your thoughts, separate good ideas from less successful ones, and allow your best ideas to take shape with paper and pencil.

Final Takeaway!

We have highlighted some excellent books, from visual storytelling to illustration techniques; they cover everything! Indeed, these are the best books for illustrators. However, it is undoubtedly not all you can read to sharpen your skills and develop your talent.

Moreover, if you are looking for illustration or animation experts to hand over your project, we are ready to assist you right away! Connect with Anideos.

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Adam is a copywriter and content strategist with years of experience covering the latest trends in technology and digital industry. Adam brings a fresh and creative approach to his writing. With his passion for writing as well as amazing research skills, he shares valuable knowledge on multiple trends.