Books I read to learn illustration (part 1)

As a self-taught, it is obviously important to always educate myself on something I am currently working on. During my illustration journey, I have attended numerous online classes, webinars, live sessions, and absolutely, read some books/materials. One of my favorite things to do to enrich my knowledge is through reading books. I can read whenever I am available and I do not have to rush. The book itself does not have to be very relevant, as long as you think it is interesting book, then read it. I honestly have not finished all the books I purchased, however I would be happy to share some books that I have finished. You may find all these books on Amazon, both in print or eBook version. I am going to be writing about “the books I read” quite many times on this blog, so it will be divided in several parts. If you have book recommendations and books are available on Amazon, feel free to share with me 😊.

Art Before Breakfast: A Zillion Ways to be More Creative No Matter How Busy You Are, by Danny Gregory

This book is totally encouraging. It is definitely fun to read. I like how the author can break such complex rules in drawing and just go with it. The concept “to draw without thinking” is particularly needed for someone who sometimes chases for perfection (definitely me) hahahaa. This book stimulates our creative soul to be implemented in the creative habit, daily. Instead of offering steps by step on drawing techniques, this book simply incites you to draw by following simple practical exercises. This book is a reminder that art does not have to be complicated, just look at the surrounding and the inspiration is already there. My favorite quote from this book “Studies claim that the average reader spends 22 minutes with the daily paper. What if you used that time to draw the paper instead? You’re probably missing only depressing news anyway”. It is funny, isn’t it? One thing I quite dislike from this book is just the font type. I personally prefer a standard font type because it’s easier to read.

Exploring Color Workshop, 30th Anniversary Edition: With New Exercises, Lessons and Demonstrations, by Nita Leland

This book teaches you about the color. How to put colors together, how to mix them, and this book explores in depth in numerous colors. I think it fits in all levels, both beginner and advanced artist. Moreover, this book has some fun exercises that you can try whenever you have time. Surprisingly, the author introduces you to advanced color names which I personally never heard of them before; cobalt blue, yellow ochre, terre verte, etc. This book actually helps me a lot since one of my weaknesses in drawing is always choosing the colors. So far I still pick the colors from the available palette on the internet, or just steal from some images with aesthetic colors. Well, there is nothing wrong with it. However, I always believe that to learn something completely new, it means you have to learn the basic knowledge and the foundation. The more you know about the fundamental knowledge, the better the execution will be.

Fashion Illustration Art: How to Draw Fun & Fabulous Figures, Trends and Styles, by Jennifer Lilya

My friend actually lent me this book and she used it already when studied fashion illustration. Although I do not focus on fashion illustration at the moment, I am always interested in drawing fashion and body figure. The author reveals her tricks and tips how to draw body gracefully without looking weird and unnatural, balanced proportion, and how to exaggerate your drawing beautifully. However, this book is not an instruction book, where the author will teach you step by step how to draw figures and clothes. This book, instead, will help you to identify and observe when your drawing figure goes wrong / slightly incorrect. Obviously, there is no right or wrong in art, however, according to the author, fashion industry usually demands every single details on the figure and the sketch itself should be accurate or realistic, where it showcases a portrayal of the person wearing the fashion, including the movement. Let’s say, if you are a business owner in fashion industry and you are about to launch a new collection, you definitely want to see how the garment looks like on the figure and by all means, the whole appearance. Therefore, you expect to see the garment to be fit proportionally in the figure before you can start the production. So, does it make sense?

2 Comments Add yours

  1. I just started watching some videos on the different types of programs and brushes and things… these book recommendations are perfect! I always wonder how people who are self taught get so good!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! I hope you like my book recommendations. I still have some books and I think it will be great to share as well. I also still watch some tutorial videos and indeed, they are great! However, book will let you discover “deeper” about what you are still wondering about and take you to a long fun adventure 😊


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