I have curated a list of the ten best books on art and creativity that will ignite your imagination and nurture your artistic spirit. Are you an artist searching for inspiration to fuel your creativity? Or perhaps you’re an ardent art lover looking to deepen your understanding and appreciation of the artistic world.
Art is a powerful form of self-expression, allowing us to convey emotions, tell stories, and challenge societal norms. Whether you’re a seasoned artist seeking fresh perspectives or someone who appreciates the beauty and ingenuity of artistic creations, these carefully selected books on art and creativity will serve as beacons of inspiration.
Art and creativity go hand in hand, and understanding the creative process can be as enlightening as witnessing the final masterpiece. These books on art and creativity will take you on a journey through the minds of artists, unveiling their struggles, triumphs, and the unique ways in which they channel their creativity.
So, grab a cosy spot, a cup of your favourite beverage, and get ready to embark on a journey of artistic exploration. These ten books on art and creativity will unlock new realms of inspiration, offer valuable insights, and invigorate your passion for artistic expression. Prepare to be captivated by the transformative power of art and creativity!
Books on Art and Creativity
The Artist’s Way – Julia Cameron
One of the most popular books on art and creativity. Since its first publication, The Artist’s Way has inspired the genius of Elizabeth Gilbert, Tim Ferriss, Reese Witherspoon, Kerry Washington and millions of readers to embark on a creative journey and find a deeper connection to process and purpose. Julia Cameron guides readers in uncovering problems and pressure points that may be restricting their creative flow and offers techniques to open up opportunities for growth and self-discovery.
Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear – Elizabeth Gilbert
Whether you long to write a book, create art, cope with challenges at work, embark on a long-held dream, or simply to make your everyday life more vivid and rewarding, Big Magic will take you on a journey of exploration filled with wonder and unexpected joys.
Readers of all ages and walks of life have drawn inspiration from Elizabeth Gilbert’s books for years. Now, this beloved author shares her wisdom and unique understanding of creativity, shattering the perceptions of mystery and suffering that surround the process – and showing us all just how easy it can be.
By sharing stories from her own life, as well as those from her friends and the people that have inspired her, Elizabeth Gilbert challenges us to embrace our curiosity, tackle what we most love and face down what we most fear among books on art and creativity.
The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life – Twyla Tharp
What makes someone creative? How does someone face the empty page, the empty stage and making something where nothing existed before? Not just a dilemma for the artist, it is something everyone faces everyday. What will I cook that isn’t boring? How can I make that memo persuasive? What sales pitch will increase the order, get me the job, lock in that bonus? These too, are creative acts, and they all share a common need: proper preparation. An interesting one among books on art and creativity.
For Twyla Tharp, creativity is no mystery; it’s the product of hard work and preparation, of knowing one’s aims and one’s subject, of learning from approaches taken in the past. It’s a process undertaken every day. It’s a habit. The Creative Habit is not merely a look inside the mind of a remarkable woman with remarkable skills, but a programmatic, inspiring, encouraging guide to help each of us achieve our fullest creative potential among books on art and creativity.
Art & Fear: Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking – David Bayles and Ted Orland
Art & Fear is about the way art gets made, the reasons it often doesn’t get made, and the nature of the difficulties that cause so many artists to give up along the way. Drawing on the authors’ own experiences as two working artists, the book delves into the internal and external challenges to making art in the real world, and shows how they can be overcome every day—a good one among books on art and creativity.
First published in 1994, Art & Fear quickly became an underground classic, and word-of-mouth has placed it among books on art and creativity. Written by artists for artists, it offers generous and wise insight into what it feels like to sit down at your easel or keyboard, in your studio or performance space, trying to do the work you need to do. Every artist, whether a beginner or a prizewinner, a student or a teacher, faces the same fears – and this book illuminates the way through them.
The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment – Eckhart Tolle
While not solely focused on art, Eckhart Tolle’s “The Power of Now” has profound implications for artistic expression. By guiding readers to embrace the present moment and detach from ego-driven thoughts, Tolle illuminates a path to profound creativity. Artists seeking a deeper connection with their work will find Tolle’s teachings transformative. A different but necessary one among books on art and creativity.
Ways of Seeing – John Berger
‘Seeing comes before words. The child looks and recognizes before it can speak.’
‘But there is also another sense in which seeing comes before words. It is seeing which establishes our place in the surrounding world; we explain that world with words, but word can never undo the fact that we are surrounded by it. The relation between what we see and what we know is never settled.’
John Berger’s Ways of Seeing is one of the most stimulating and influential books on art in any language. First published in 1972, it was based on the BBC television series about which the Sunday Times critic commented: ‘This is an eye-opener in more ways than one: by concentrating on how we look at paintings . . . he will almost certainly change the way you look at pictures.’ By now he has. A huge one among books on art and creativity.
The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles – Steven Pressfield
A succinct, engaging, and practical guide for succeeding in any creative sphere, The War of Art is nothing less than Sun-Tzu for the soul among books on art and creativity.
What keeps so many of us from doing what we long to do?
Why is there a naysayer within? How can we avoid the roadblocks of any creative endeavour—be it starting up a dream business venture, writing a novel, or painting a masterpiece?
Bestselling novelist Steven Pressfield identifies the enemy we must face, outlines a battle plan to conquer this internal foe, and then pinpoints how to achieve the greatest success.
The War of Art emphasizes the resolve needed to recognize and overcome the obstacles of ambition and then effectively shows how to reach the highest level of creative discipline.
Think of it as tough love . . . for yourself.
Whether an artist, writer or business person, this simple, personal, and no-nonsense book will inspire you to seize the potential of your life. A must-read among books on art and creativity.
Steal Like an Artist – Austin Kleon
A quick read among books on art and creativity. Artist Austin Kleon’s beautifully illustrated bestseller teaches readers how to use their surroundings and their own creativity to discover their own artistic paths. Filled with clever infographics and words of wisdom from Kleon, and peppered with quotes from other successful artists, Steal Like an Artist, is an inspiration for both veteran and aspiring artists everywhere.
Unlock your creativity.
An inspiring guide to creativity in the digital age, Steal Like an Artist presents ten transformative principles that will help readers discover their artistic side and build a more creative life.
Nothing is original, so embrace influence, school yourself through the work of others, remix and reimagine to discover your own path. Follow interests wherever they take you-what feels like a hobby may turn into you life’s work. Forget the old cliché about writing what you know: Instead, write the book you want to read, make the movie you want to watch. And finally, stay Smart, stay out of debt, and risk being boring in the everyday world so that you have the space to be wild and daring in your imagination and your work. A popular one among books on art and creativity.
The Zen of Creativity: Cultivating Your Artistic Life – John Daido Loori
Zen Buddhism is steeped in the arts. In spiritual ways, calligraphy, poetry, painting, the tea ceremony, and flower arranging can point us toward our essential, boundless nature. Looking for something different? This one is for you among books on art and creativity.
Brilliantly interpreting the teachings of the artless arts, Loori illuminates various elements that awaken our creativity, among them still point, the centre of each moment that focuses on the tranquillity within; simplicity, in which the creative process is uncluttered and unlimited, like a cloudless sky; spontaneity, a way to navigate through life without preconceptions, with a freshness in which everything becomes new; mystery, a sense of trust in the unknown; creative feedback, the systematic use of an audience to receive noncritical input about our art; art koans, exercises based on paradoxical questions that can be resolved only through artistic expression. Loori shows how these elements interpenetrate and function not only in art, but in all our endeavors.
Beautifully illustrated and punctuated with poems and reflections from Loori’s own spiritual journey, The Zen of Creativity presents a multilayered, bottomless source of insight into our creativity. Appealing equally to spiritual seekers, artists, and veteran Buddhist practitioners, this book is perfect for those wishing to discover new means of self-awareness and expression—and to restore equanimity and freedom amid the vicissitudes of our lives. An interesting one among books on art and creativity.
The Gift – Lewis Hyde
The Gift brilliantly argues for the importance of creativity in our increasingly money-driven society. Reaching deep into literature, anthropology, and psychology Lewis Hyde’s modern masterpiece has at its heart the simple and important idea that a ‘gift’ can inspire and change our lives. A must-read among books on art and creativity.
This handpicked selection of books on art and creativity is designed to inspire artists and art lovers alike. From unlocking your creative potential to exploring the rich tapestry of art history and contemporary practices, each book offers unique insights, guidance, and inspiration. Embrace the power of art, ignite your creativity, and embark on a journey of self-expression with these invaluable resources. Happy reading, and may your artistic endeavours flourish!
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Are there any books on art and creativity you’d like to add to this list? Would you please share in the comments section below?