Essential Art Books For Artists

Essential Art Books For Artists

Every artist needs good learning material to progress and there really is nothing like a good old paper art book. The problem is there are so many out there, it's hard to know which ones to get and which ones to ignore.

We've compiled a list of our favorites covering various artistic subjects we think would provide you with the best foundations.

Here are the essentials:

(this is not a sponsored post, we don't make a penny on the sales of these books, just our honest opinion!)


-An Atlas of Anatomy for Artists

Cheap book filled with anatomy studies from the old masters, a real gold mine.

-Strength Training Anatomy, 3rd Edition

Great book to learn the anatomy of the muscles in various positions. This also doubles as a muscle-training guide showing what muscles are activated during various exercises.

-The Art of Animal Drawing

Really simple to understand animal anatomy book that breaks down the animal anatomy in simple shapes with explanations.

-Anatomy for the Artist

This book has great photo-references with gorgeous models. The book features see through pages allowing you to overlay the bones and muscles on top of the body which is a great way to learn how everything is connected.

Figure Drawing

-Figure Drawing: Design and Invention

This one of our favorite books of all time. It simplifies everything to simple geometrical volumes making this difficult topic extremely easy to understand.

Color Theory

-Color and Light: A Guide for the Realist Painter

Everything you need to know about colors, thoroughly explained by renowned artist James Gurney. This is one of those books everybody should have.

Concept Art

-Big Bad World of Concept Art for Video Games: An Insider's Guide for Students

This guide reveals everything you need to know if you ever plan to jump into a career as a concept artists. This is a close a shortcut you will ever get.

-The Skillful Huntsman

A great book for concept artists on how to brainstorm ideas and move forward with your designs, all the way to the final product.


-Dream Worlds: Production Design for Animation

Fantastic book on animation pre-production. It covers composition, layout brainstorming, storyboard & color scripts.


-The Animator's Survival Kit

The one an only book you should be required to buy as an animator. It's a legendary ~400 page book covering every aspect of animation.

Basic Perspective

-Perspective Made Easy

A small (and cheap!) handbook if you're starting to learn perspective. Great for beginners and has lots of info on basic perspective rules and tricks.

Perspective & Design

-How to Draw: Drawing and sketching objects and environments from your imagination

A 200+ page book filled with perspective knowledge and tips on what makes a good design; good for artists of any level.