Artistic Inspiration

I have had this sitting on my sidebar as a blogpost- but decided it would be much easier to keep up to date as a page ;)

The Art Books I Like

This is a continually running post I am setting up- I will link it in the sidebar for the express purpose of recording the wonderful art books I like :) There are three categories- drawing, painting and inspirational. That's pretty much self explanatory :D. There is no particular order to these, just the one I felt like ;)


The Big Book of Drawing by Lee Hammond. Lee's books are ALL great books for teaching drawing. They are what I would call intermediate to advanced level drawing books, for those who already understand the basics of perspective. Lee's books are all about making your drawings REAL. She has some really great tips, and I highly recommend trying them out- some seem a little fussy or finicky BUT are actually very helpful if you have complicated pictures you want to draw :)

Lifelike Drawing in Coloured Pencil by Lee Hammond. This one takes the steps from her graphite books a lot further- teaching you how to add colour. I admit, I liked it because she used Prismacolor pencils- which I happened to have :D

Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain by Betty Edwards. This is a really good book for the beginner artist. Yes, it CAN help the more advanced, but typically it works best for those who want to learn from scratch :)

The Sierra Club Guide to Sketching in Nature by Cathy Johnson. I love Cathy's books, and she also has a number of CD's at her website that are worth checking out since many of the older books are far too overpriced (and it is not money going to her!!). The CD's are compilations of information from her older books and modern updates. Definitely look for these :) This particular book is a guide to sketching while out and about- in different media.

Sketching Your Favourite Subjects in Pen and Ink by Claudia Nice. Claudia's books are really the definitive work on sketching in pen and ink. If you want to learn some of her tricks, then her books will definitely teach you how to make the most of that pen you are too timid to try :)
How to Keep a Sketchbook Journal by Claudia Nice. This is a simple book that just gives some helpful suggestions on making your own sketchbook journal- my favourite part is the little bag she made for her tools though :)

This book is designed to show you how to do botanical portraits in the coloured pencil medium. Ann doesn't tell you how to use the medium much, but she does give great information on how to use the tricks of the medium to make your botanical portraits work really well.
It is a fantastic guide to CP botanicals and if you are wanting to expand your CP vocabulary, I highly recommend it.
What it DOES have:
tips, tricks and techniques for giving botanicals life and texture
Good information on how to do a botanical study
Tips on how to compose your picture
Great tips on how to develop the shading on your plants.
Step by step demos
A basic palette listing for botanical studies
What it does NOT have:
basic how-to descriptions on using CPs
Step by step, follow-along tutorials
How to draw information
It is a book aimed at the experienced artist, with at least a little knowledge of the coloured pencil, who wishes to take it further into realism.
I give it a 4 **** star rating out of 5 because I did think it might have been nice if there were a couple of tutorials and a few more steps in some of the demos. That being said, the gallery at the end is beautiful ;)


Creating Nature in Watercolor by Cathy Johnson. This is great tips and tricks book for actually painting from nature. Like most of Cathy's books it is full of ideas, and worth buying :)

Creating Texures in Pen & Ink with Watercolor by Claudia Nice. Goes with her pen and ink drawing books, only this one adds paint too. Buy as a companion to the pen & ink book and enjoy the full versatility of inks :)

Beautiful Botanicals by Bente Starcke King. If you ever had the idea of becoming a botanical artist, then this book is a good start. She has several tutorials you can follow through, plus tips and techniques to try.

Create Your Own Artist's Journal by Erin O'Toole. One of my favourites because it is such a nice record of HOW to make your journal, by telling you how SHE made hers!

The Watercolorist's Essential Notebook by Gordon MacKenzie. One of the more unassuming books, this is full of techniques to use when painting with watercolors- worth the look.


When Wanderers Cease to Roam: A Traveler's Journey of Staying Put by Vivian Swift. This is a glimpse into the sketchbooks of an artist- she has compiled pictures from her journeys and her current staying home life. It's a fun read, and sure to get you thinking :)

The Creative License: Giving Yourself Permission to Be the Artist You Truly Are by Danny Gregory. Many people credit this book with making them want to draw again- although in some ways it IS an how to book, it is also inspirational for making you WANT to do it, and not be worried about HOW you do it. As with all of Danny's books, he illustrated it himself, his drawings are definitely quirky and very lively :) It's a great book for those just starting back into drawing.

Everyday Matters by Danny Gregory. This is Danny's journal- one of self discovery and realisation. It's a heartwarming read :)

An Illustrated Life: Drawing Inspiration from the Private Sketchbooks of Artists, Illustrators and Designers by Danny Gregory. I consider this one to be the most inspirational of Danny's books- because here you get to glimpse into the sketchbooks of all kinds of artists! This book is sure to inspire anyone of an artistic bent, into wanting to make their own journals. If you can only buy ONE inspirational book, make it this one!

The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady by Edith Holden. I love this book- not because it was written long ago, so much as the life it shows in it. The author's story is somewhat tragic, but her paintings and nature notes should definitely grace EVERY homeschooler's shelf, and artists are