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Book Spotlight: Post your fave art books


Well, I'm out of town and enjoying a vacation right now, but I'm really digging into some books that I bought yesterday. Blew some money yesterday on books and been reading the hell out of them.

So I thought we here could post some of our favorite books and maybe get some insight on our next purchases if we get some money to burn holes in our pockets.

(to set up an image link, here's what you do: www.booksite/imagecode.jpg[./img][,/url]
obv, fill out the right way with the links and without the commas or periods.

Anatomy for the Artist
Essentially just got it yesterday, but it's got tons of great reference photos and some insights that drawn anatomy books might otherwise miss. Does an okay job explaining things, but uses photos and overlays to really show the most accurate anatomy explanations I've seen anywhere.
Perks: incredibly reference pictures with decent lighting.
Flaws: explanation may be weak if you're new to anatomy.

Color and Light: A Guide for the Realist Painter
Nice insight into the inner workings of colors. Got this recently too, so I am a little limited on thoughts quite this far. Still, GREAT color theories and I have learned so much in just a car ride. has taught me on the use of gamuts, which I have NEVER heard of before but seem essential to color theory. Also discusses some supplies you might use and really explores how light sources will affect what you perceive as the color for the light.
Perks: fantastic for applying color theroy
Flaws: Not found any yet, honestly.

Anatomy: A Complete Guide for the Artist
Very cheap and dependable book that shows plenty of interpretation of the human form in Sheppard's style. Very subjective, but actually insightful. Breaks down systems very clearly and explicitly, and uses tons of halftone drawings to illustrate the bones and muscles in 3060 degree rotation per 15 degree increments. Still, cannot compare to getting to see a real skeleton in real life. But incredibly useful in the meantime.
Perks: very detailed drawings, cheap, plenty of variety
Flaws: subjective, some figures appear fairly outdated

Life Drawing
Shows some ways and directions to develop powerful portrait in mainly pastel or charcoals. He does a great job of breaking down shadows and lighting, but really falls short it seems on anything related to color control. also subjective to a maor degree in representation. Teaches techniques but may be weaker on anatomy in exchange.
Perks: Excellent technique walkthroughs
Flaws: weak on anatomy at times compared to other life drawing books

Facial Expressions
Wide variety of faces, though they tend to be over-acted at times. Still worth a look and EXCELLENT for faces for animated/ caricatured faces. Another weakness was the age range, in that the youngest pictured was 18. Upper range was solid though.
Perks: wide span of ages, ethnicity and facial structures
Flaws: no youth pictures, expressions are overacted at times, occasionally too small to see essential details.

Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain
Indispensable if you're a new artist or someone that seems to be stuck in a rut. Has critical exercises I base a lot of my critiques on in some ways. If you spend time with this book, practice and concentrate on what is taught, you will improve.

Perks: it's like the bible for new artists
Flaws: may seem low-level after a point for some people. VERY BASIC at times.
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Mr. Red Flag

Both books are incredibly comprehensive and both under 20 USD.

Arshes Nei

Masticates in Public

Basically a bible for artists - learning how to have faith in your art making.

Don Seegmiller is great at showing how to work with both Photoshop and Painter

One of my favorite constructing the figure from the mind books to date.

Probably one of the best encyclopedia of anatomy books to date for drawing. I've have Simblet's book but find it overrated.

Out in October - looks promising if this is a translation of Bamme's German books.

Got me interested in doing research on great master works just from the lessons that helped me with anatomy.

Great way of getting people to understand composition

One of the best watercolor books out there

Great art book in terms of looking at Painter artwork. Cover artist is Anry (the person who is known for that cat licking avatar) http://anry.deviantart.com/gallery/

Pretty prolific pinup artist. I love looking at his oils and found out many other artists by reading this book

While I also own the Hultgren book too, I found this one much more informative.

I have Frazetta's other books but It's great to just see the sketches and how artists think.

Same reason I have the Frazetta book - I also own a Sargent book with sketches too. Love them.

I also keep Brigman around a lot - George Bridgman Life Drawing, Constructive Anatomy, Human Machine etc...


Hit 'em right between the eyes

I've ordered the Colour and Light book in the OP, but the amazon shipment is taking its sweet time to get here...
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Very surprised no-one has linked Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain.
A very good read, especially for beginners.
Thanks, I went ahead and added this to the OP.

Also, i've updated the OP to go over perks and flaws with each book. I also left instructions with how to link inside a picture. if you are still unsure, here is the code for the fist picture of mine:

Remove the periods and you will see the image link as it is intended

Arshes Nei

Masticates in Public
The reason I didn't list it as a favorite book is that it's a recommended book for the absolute beginner. It is in no way a favorite book of mine. The reason being is that the exercises are great but the right brain/left brain stuff leaves much to be desired.

Arshes Nei

Masticates in Public

The Skillful Huntsman is a good book on working on projects for design/concept.
Look how much work into designing characters and scenes based on a story or concept.

It was one of the first books I noticed a process on working on concept than your typical art book. It's a great read on how to set up your own processes by looking at what these students did.


Hit 'em right between the eyes
Requesting this to be stickied please


Kisses for everyone!
Found this fantastic book the other day so I'm glad to see this thread!:

Framed Ink, a book on composition and visual storytelling. Anyone who wants to go into graphic novels or storyboarding or really wants to learn GREAT composition skills... this is it, definitely. :] It's worth EVERY PENNY I love it!

I also dug up my copy of this and have been re-reading it:

Perspective! For Comic Book Artists Not that anything in this book can't be applied to any other pictures, it just happens to be written in a way to appeal to the visual style of the graphic novel. Plus it reads like one too which is so fun!

Also, to add to the Gurney love, I got Imaginative Realism, which is a great book for intermediates hoping to push their works further. Plus it just has tons of great art!

Last but not least I always love pimping these books out, they're my personal favorites:


Even if you don't make comics, they're just fun reads and really mind-opening about the whole process. Enjoy!


Hit 'em right between the eyes
Can this be stickied please?


Dittoing anything by James Gurney. I have both of his recent art books. I also enjoyed his "Artist's Guide to Sketching", too, even if it was co-authored by Thomas Kinkade. :p

Other than that, I don't have many art books, though I did recently purchase "Animals Real and Imagined" by Terryl Whitlach, and that's an excellent source for tips on animal anatomy.

Arshes Nei

Masticates in Public

Just FYI the book is in print.

I also own


There is a TON of info and methods to use to learn figure drawing in Bammes books. Sometimes the drawings may seem very crude. The book's binding leaves much to be desired imo (because it interferes with keeping it open). However, this book is about 300 pages so it's worth the price


Oh awesome, I was wondering when Bamme's was going to have the English translation. I want to peek at it so badly now.

I also purchased this book a few months ago, and it is very interesting and useful:

This book is of course by the respected Bridgman, and while not as well liked by some people it is STILL an excellent deal and quite useful instead of trying to hunt down the 5 books that are edited and shown in this book. Bridgman does have his favoritism and occasionally some odd proportions with extremely wide muscular chests but otherwise I can't complain at all when he knows much more than I do as evidenced by the quality of this book. Wbut there is a wonderful artistic rendering of figures and very insightful
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Arshes Nei

Masticates in Public


Active Member
This was mentioned but not linked, Terryl Whitlatch has compiled a bunch of creatures with amazing anatomy in her book Animals Real and Imagined. There's a short video on the Amazon page for the book of someone flipping through the pages so you can see some of the creatures within. Not a step-by-step drawing book or anything, but very inspirational and very original.


RTP User
The reason I didn't list it as a favorite book is that it's a recommended book for the absolute beginner. It is in no way a favorite book of mine. The reason being is that the exercises are great but the right brain/left brain stuff leaves much to be desired.

Actually i just bought that book today and it's the 4th edition expanded and updated. So when i look at the review there are four editions of said book out.


The White Dragon

This is the book that really got me to begin to understand more serious artwork, and inspired me to learn and improve myself, giving me some basic fundamentals to begin with. I love it so much.