3 Must Read Books for Artists + a Pep-talk from Ira Glass

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I didn’t know if I should write a post telling you about the books I love for artists because who reads books anymore? Right?

No, you know what? Wrong!

I read books still, and I know for damn-sure my mother-in-law still reads books. So, that’s at least two of us.

I wouldn’t be the person I am today with out these three books.

Probably the most popular of these three is Art & Fear: Observations on the Perils and Rewards of Artmaking. The two authors, David Bayle and Ted Orland, make it clear that this book is for you:

“This is a book about making art. Ordinary art. Ordinary art means something like: all art not made by Mozart.” Art_Fear_book_cover

If you’ve ever had any doubt about your ability or any doubt about your art, this book is for you. Here’s a link to buy this book for less than $2. You have to buy this book because you’re going to want to underline and re-read every other passage.

“Look at your work and it tells you how it is when you hold back or when you embrace. When you are lazy, your art is lazy; when you hold back, it holds back; when you hesitate, it stands there staring, hands in its pockets. But when you commit, it comes on like blazes.”

Now, Art and Fear might be the only art book you ever need, but if you’re like me, one person’s encouragement is just not enough. Twyla Tharp, a successful choreographer, can tell you how to be creative everyday in her book, The Creative Habit: Learn it and Use it for Life. 

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When I started reading this I thought, “wow, this woman could be my new best friend.” A good book will make you fall in love with the author for being so god-damn smart. See what I mean:

“Art is the only way to run away, without leaving home.”

Speaking of falling in love, do you want to fall in love with drawing? Maybe you already have. But like any love or obsession, your love of drawing can wane, especially when we spend so much time on the computer. Zen Seeing, Zen Drawing: Meditation in Action is the perfect book to keep around for when you need to get back into drawing, or if you’d like to take a different approach to drawing.

By combining seeing, drawing, and meditating, Frederick Franck will encourage you to see the world around you unlike you ever have. I love how we, as artists, are constantly trying to motivate one another. Saying, “this worked for me, try it for yourself.” 4fc9e893e7a08bba145d4110.L

“Here seeing/drawing becomes ever so much more than ‘creating’ pictures, even more than meditation. It is the direct confrontation with life in the raw, in a wild chaos that is beyond all you have ever dreamed of in your philosophies.”

I saw Ira Glass last winter at the Washington Pavilion, and I don’t know why, but I wasn’t expecting him to inspire me so much. He definitely is an artist who is rooting for you. I’m including this last little blip of creative inspiration because Ira Glass should write a book for artists.

Tell me what books you think are must reads for artists. []

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