Home Magazine Top 5 Art Books to read

Goals for 2021: love art and want to read more? Well, we have got you covered if you are an art lover or an artist. Here is our list of five art books to start your year right! 

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2021 has come and still things are feeling a bit stuck to 2020. We know the feeling… but have you tried to challenge yourself and make a list of things to do during the lockdown/quarantine? Creating art is always a good idea, even if you have no clue of what you are doing or even if you feel like you don’t have a single artistic skill. But if you don’t feel inspired to start out just yet, we prepared a list of five art books that you should read to get you into the vibe!

1. Steal Like An Artist by Austin Kleon

Have you heard the Pablo Picasso’s saying, “Good artists copy, great artists steal”? Well, Austin Kleon brings that in his book by reminding artists that through imitation, they will find their own style. Copying other artists is a very intuitive skill- we do not mean copying literally, but more in the imitation ground where artists tend to imitate what they like through their practice. If you are an artist you will find three useful lessons in this book:

  1. Failure is key to find your signature style (A guide to help you find your Art Style)
  2. Procrastination and boredom are productive- the root of creativity


“Steal Like an Artist” by Austin Kleon book, Workman Publishing, 2015.


2. Art Matters by Neil Gaiman

The readers say that this is not a book only for creative writers, but it is a book where creativity and ideas bloom through the pages. In this book you can expect an inspiring and easy reading with quotes and ideas that will make you think forever. Gaiman inspires the reader to be ‘idiotic’, to have as many ideas as possible because ideas are the root of life and happiness. Ideas make living more interesting and ideas and books are indeed stronger than guns. This will certainly be a pleasurable reading with charm and humour!



“Art Matters” by Neil Gaiman, Headline, 2018.


3. Seven Days in the Art World By Sarah Thornton

As the title says, this book is divided into seven day-in-life chapters, each focusing into different things about the artworld: Auctions, Art School, Art Fair, Artist Studio, Art Prize, Art Biennale and Art Magazine. Thornton wrote a savvy and smart guide of the interconnectivity of the different aspects of the artworld, raising awareness of the subtle power in between them. The writer opted to give an extremist voice to her writing examples which works incredibly well to give the reader a different insight on the artworld.


“Seven Says in the Art World” by Sarah Thornton, W. W. Norton & Company, 2009 .


4. How to Be an Artist by Jerry Saltz

If you never heard of Jerry Saltz, it’s time for you to grab a piece of his iconic writing. The Pulitzer Prize-winner has a way with words like very few other current art writers and, in this book, Saltz present us a book with sixty-three chapters of tips and tricks on how to become an artist. A book for the art enthusiasts that claims that art is for everyone. With practical and inspirational ideas and hints, you will love this book! And who knows but maybe you will start painting in this new lockdown.


“How to Be an Artist” by Jerry Saltz, Riverhead Books, 2020.


5. You Are an Artist by Sarah Urist Green

Last but not least, “You are an Artist” by Sarah Urist Green is a must read if you are an artist or if you are looking for inspiration to start creating. With more than 50 prompts, this book could not be a better way to finish off this list. This creativity guide shows you that any person can make art and that you do not need to have the technical skills to do it. Art can be learnt! Full of insights and techniques, this book shows the reader the processes of art making to any level art enthusiast. 


“You Are an Artist: Assignments to Spark Creation” by Sarah Urist Green, Penguin Publishing Group, 2020.


Cover image: “Steal Like an Artist” by Austin Kleon book, Workman Publishing, 2015

Written by TaniaTeixeira

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