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  • Joëlle Barg

My top 5 artbooks for beginners

Nowadays I earn money with my art, but it hasn't always been this way. I had to learn, just like any other artist. Of course, you can have a talent for making art, but if you don't invest time and effort you won't see much improvement. That is why I'm sharing my top 5 artbooks for beginner artists. This top 5 is however my opinion, there are many other books from which you can learn.

Starring Joelle is holding up two art books that are useful for beginner artist

Figure drawing: design and invention
An artbook by Michaell Hampton that is about figure drawing

Are you interested in figure drawing? Then this book is an amazing start. In this book Michael Hampton splits up the body into 8 seperate parts and teaches you step by step how to pose and construct figures in every way imaginable.

This book teaches you to observe form and flow, but also the mechanics of each body part. If you want to learn how to draw people I highly recommend this book. This book is also usefull for intermediate artists.

Available on: Amazon

Color and Light
An artbook by James Gurney that is an in depth archive that explains how color and light work in art

How do we perceive color and light? “Color and Light” is a book by James Gurney in which he parses and explains how light affects colors. To this day I still regularly grab this book to learn more about light and the theory behind it.

It might not surprise you, but there is a lot of science behind the making of art. Some famous artist like Da Vinci devoted their life to acquire knowledge about this specific topic. Everything you need to know about color and light is written in this book.

Available on: Amazon

The animator's survival kit
An artbook by Richard Williams that teaches you how to animate

Do you like animated movies and wish you could make art like that? Then you need this book! I'll be honest with you, animation is a very hard skill to acquire. However, it is a very rewarding skill if you're patient enough to learn.

In this book Richard Williams takes you by the hand and teaches you about the "12 principles of animation". It also includes in depth visual breakdowns. If you have even the slightest bit of interest in learning animation, then this book will teach you all the basics.

Available on: Amazon

Perspective for beginners - Dutch
An artbook that teaches perspective for beginners

Is it your dream to be able to draw landscapes and cities, then you need to learn about perspective. It is one of the fundamentals of art. Perspective is a more geometric form of art than it is intuitive. But there are a lot of smaller steps to grow in this artform.

The writers of "Perspective for beginners", Arcas and González, take you by the hand in this learning proces. With the usage of beautiful watercolor paintings they explain every term and teach you everything there is to know about perspective.

Available on:

An artbook filled with concept art of the movie Wreck-it ralph

Something I am particularly fond of is storytelling. If the same applies to you then "The Art of Wreck-It Ralph" could be a huge inspiration for you. This book takes you behind the scenes and into the world of concept and visual development, from worldbuilding to characters.

This artbook isn't a step-by-step guide, but it does show you how to be creative within a narrative. If you haven't seen this movie, you can look up any recent animated movie that you liked titled: "The Art of...".

Available on: Amazon

art and books

These five books helped me grow and develop my art and skills as an artist. But the very best way to grow as an artist is to simply take the first step and start creating. Go outside with a pencil and some paper and draw the things around you. Observe people, take a closer look at colors and light, try to come up with stories. Improvement comes to us when we invest time, effort and learn from others. Create as much as you can and you will steadily start to see your art evolve.

There are countless books from which you can learn. I had to scour my bookcase to pick just five artbooks. Which books haven't I mentioned but would've been a great addition to this list?

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