Any artist knows – whether your medium is paint, pencil, charcoal, words, or your voice – that sometimes the inspiration seems to come from nowhere, without even trying, and sometimes you feel like your imagination has left the building. Do you ever get that feeling where you just want to create something? Like you want to get lost in a doodle or fill a blank page?
When I get that feeling, I like to turn to books for inspiration. (I’m sure many of you are not surprised by that!) Each of these books gets my imagination flowing in different ways – but the five featured in this post are mostly relevant to visual artists. Here are five books to spark your creativity:
- Fashion Lookbook featuring illustrations by Samantha Hahn – This book is full of gorgeous fashion illustration and room for sketches & designs. I love books like this – part journal, part reference, part inspiration – because there’s always something new to look at. It’s like an activity book for fashionistas! If you love fashion illustration, I highly recommend checking out this book and/or illustrator Samantha Hahn.
- Drawing File for Architects, Illustrators, and Designers by Marc Szabo – One of my art teachers in high school had this book, and I was obsessed with it! I had to find my own copy. It’s full of simple line sketches that are both fun to look at and an incredible reference. Want to know how to draw a person on a horse? Marc Szabo has an example. Want to know how to draw people with 80s hair and clothes? Well, that’s pretty much every illustration in the book… There’s something so charming about the simplicity of it, and it’s definitely inspirational for practicing figure drawing.
- Wreck This Journal by Keri Smith – This is also an activity book with instructions on each page like “Collect fruit stickers here.” or “Scribble wildly, violently, with reckless abandon.” It’s a great book to keep near your desk for when you’re feeling stuck, or when you just want to try something new.
- How to Make a Zero Backwards by Richard Kehl – This is a funny little book, full of collage ideas and different ways to think about art and how it’s a part of everyday life. One of my favorite ideas from this book is to make an Eye Chart – but with different kinds of fruits, instruments, or dogs. This book is full of fun & funky ideas that will get your imagination flowing.
- The Pointless Book by Alfie Deyes – This book is very similar to Wreck This Journal, but a bit more on the playful side. There are connect-the-dot activities, recipes, listing prompts, and yoga positions to try. It’s another great book to spark your creative side and have a little fun at the same time.
What are your favorite books to prompt your creativity? Or do you have another way to spark your imagination?