13 Must Read Books For Every Artist

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mdunnam

Here is my ultimate list of fantastic books to read for any creative person. Even if you aren’t an artist. Maybe these can inspire you in other ways. I love to read creative books as well as sci-fi, but that’s a different article all together. These books are meant to inspire, teach, and get your creative juices flowing.



A Treatise on Painting (Dover Fine Art, History of Art)

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This book contains an collection of writings by Leonardo da Vinci. It functions as a reconstruction of da Vinci’s views on art, since he planned to write a comprehensive treatise on the subject but never did. A Treatise on Painting begins with precise instructions on drawing the human body and then moves on to techniques of rendering motion. The topics that da Vinci goes over include perspective, composition, the expression of various emotions, creating effects of light and shadow, and color.


The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change

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Before you can adopt the seven habits, you’ll need to accomplish what Covey calls a “paradigm shift”. A paradigm is essentially the way an individual perceives something. Covey emphasizes that if we want to make a change in our lives, we should probably first focus on our personal attitudes and behaviors. He applies different examples via family, business, and society in general. Covey takes you through this change, which affects how you perceive and act regarding productivity, time management, positive thinking, developing your “proactive muscles” (acting with initiative rather than reacting), and much more.This isn’t a quick-tips-start-tomorrow kind of book. The concepts are sometimes intricate, and you’ll want to study this book, not skim it. When you finish, you’ll probably have Post-it notes or hand-written annotations in every chapter, and you’ll feel like you’ve taken a powerful seminar by Covey.


This book is filled with many applicable, life changing strategies. If you apply the theories in this book, it will dramatically change your life in the best way.



Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time

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Using “eat that frog” as a metaphor for tackling the day’s most challenging task, Tracy shows readers how to zero in on these critical tasks and organize their time. He details 21 practical, doable steps to stop the procrastination treadmill and get more of the important tasks done. This is a great, very quick read. There isn’t much new here, but the author does a great job of guiding you to develop a habit that makes it easier to accomplish more than the average person and do it with increasingly less effort.


The War of Art, by Steven Pressfield

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The War of Art aims to inspire other writers, artists, musicians, or anyone else attempting to channel his or her creative energies. The focus is on combating resistance and living the destiny that Pressfield believes is gifted to each person by an all-powerful deity. While certainly of great value to frustrated writers struggling with writer’s block, Pressfield’s highly personal philosophy, soundly rooted in his own significant life challenges, has merit for anyone frustrated in fulfilling his or her life purpose.


Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative

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“Steal Like An Artist” began as a lecture given by Kleon at Broome Community College that later emerged as a viral blog post. Kleon makes no effort to hide the fact that the blog post forms the skeleton of “Artist”. But even if you’ve memorized the post, Kleon layers enough muscle and flesh on it that you feel like you’re encountering his core ideas all over again. The same rush of discovery and energy awaits. The small size makes the book feel approachable, ready to provide a quick inspiration burst if need be. Kleon describes ten basic principles to boost your creativity.


Ignore Everybody: and 39 Other Keys to Creativity, by Hugh MacLeod

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MacLeod has opinions on everything from marketing to the meaning of life, but one of his main subjects is creativity. How do new ideas emerge in a cynical, risk-averse world? Where does inspiration come from? What does it take to make a living as a creative person?


Damn Good Advice (For People with Talent!): How To Unleash Your Creative Potential, by George Lois

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This book offers indispensable lessons, practical advice, facts, anecdotes and inspiration, this book is a timeless creative bible for all those looking to succeed in life, business and creativity.


Contagious: Why Things Catch On

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Why do people talk about certain products and ideas more than others? Why are some stories and rumors more infectious? And what makes online content go viral?Wharton marketing professor Jonah Berger has spent the last decade answering these questions. He’s studied why New York Times articles make the paper’s own Most E-mailed List, why products get word of mouth, and how social influence shapes everything from the cars we buy to the clothes we wear to the names we give our children. In this book, Berger reveals the secret science behind word-of-mouth and social transmission. Discover how six basic principles drive all sorts of things to become contagious, from consumer products and policy initiatives to workplace rumors and YouTube videos.Whether you’re a manager at a big company, a small business owner trying to boost awareness, a politician running for office, or a health official trying to get the word out, Contagious will show you how to make your product or idea catch on.


Creative Confidence: Unleashing the Creative Potential Within Us All, by Tom Kelley

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Why do people talk about certain products and ideas more than others? Why are some stories and rumors more infectious? And what makes online content go viral?Wharton marketing professor Jonah Berger has spent the last decade answering these questions. He’s studied why New York Times articles make the paper’s own Most E-mailed List, why products get word of mouth, and how social influence shapes everything from the cars we buy to the clothes we wear to the names we give our children. In this book, Berger reveals the secret science behind word-of-mouth and social transmission. Discover how six basic principles drive all sorts of things to become contagious, from consumer products and policy initiatives to workplace rumors and YouTube videos.Whether you’re a manager at a big company, a small business owner trying to boost awareness, a politician running for office, or a health official trying to get the word out, Contagious will show you how to make your product or idea catch on.


Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration, by Ed Catmull

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Creativity, Inc. is a book for managers who want to lead their employees to new heights, a manual for anyone who strives for originality, and the first-ever, all-access trip into the nerve center of Pixar Animation—into the meetings, postmortems, and “Braintrust” sessions where some of the most successful films in history are made. It is, at heart, a book about how to build a creative culture—but it is also, as Pixar co-founder and president Ed Catmull writes, “an expression of the ideas that I believe make the best in us possible.”


Orbiting the Giant Hairball: A Corporate Fool’s Guide to Surviving with Grace, by Gordon MacKenzie

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MacKenzie worked for the Hallmark greeting card company for 30 years, first as a sketch artist and eventually as an upper-level manager, until he escaped the “hairball” by creating his own niche. A corporate hairball is an entangled pattern of behavior or a mess of bureaucratic procedure that discourages originality and stifles imagination. A consultant for the last seven years, MacKenzie tells what he knows about creativity and what he learned about the creative process in a corporate setting.


Show Your Work!: 10 Ways to Share Your Creativity and Get Discovered, by Austin Kleon

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This book is about why generosity trumps genius. It’s about getting findable, about using the network instead of wasting time “networking.” It’s not self-promotion, it’s self-discovery—let others into your process, then let them steal from you. Filled with illustrations, quotes, stories, and examples, Show Your Work! offers ten transformative rules for being open, generous, brave, productive.


Manage Your Day-to-Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus, and Sharpen Your Creative Mind (The 99U Book Series)

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This book will give you a toolkit for tackling the new challenges of a 24/7, always-on workplace. 99U is on a mission to provide the “missing curriculum” that every creative person and team needs to make ideas happen. 99U is part of Behance, a team devoted to empowering and connecting the creative world.


I hope you enjoyed my list. These are awesome reads. They will definitely inspire you. They will also help you grow as an artist and as a person. The links are linked straight to amazon page that has several options available as well as the kindle version. Let me know what you think of these gems!

Z-Inspiring,

Michael

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