View Full Version : Can you recommend Books to help Illustrators?

11-03-2004, 01:29 PM
new to this thread, and not yet in the illustrator-job ;) , I would like to know if you can recommend some books on the subject

I have : "Writing with Pictures" by Schulevitz, and find it excellent with lots of information.
What I want to supply this, is a book containing more about media in illustration (pencil, ink, watercolor, colored pencils, acrylics, gouache egg). Does not have to concentrate on childrens books (must be included). But I focus on hand-made illustrations (not computermade egg).

I don't have acess to english books other than on www (and that is splendid :clap: ), but it means I often buy "blindly" - at least when the book-shops not has the "look inside"-feature, or peoples comments.

I have seen 4 books on www that might suit my wish:
1. "Illustration Childrens Books, creating pictures for Publication" by Martin Salisbury
2. + 3 .Catherine Slade: "Encychlopedia of Illustration techniques" and "Manual of Illustrations Techniques".
4. Jill Bossert: "Childrens book illustration"

Do you know if these books are informative on media and how-to or step-by-step lessons?

Or do you recommand others?

11-03-2004, 03:35 PM
The Illustrator's Bible by Rob Howard


11-03-2004, 09:01 PM
sorry i can't be of good help but i wanted to welcome you to the forum :wave: i actually had a great college course that explored a diff. technique every class. kept on a sm. scale...like 5 x 7 so we could manage that homework & that of all the other classes (heh, if you didn't mind a 2am bedtime every night).
i'd say check out some book illos. you really love & look at them intensely & then try to emulate them by whatever means. keep em' on a small scale...like only pinpointing one part of a larger illustration--that way you keep it experimental & not try & invest too much time. if you don't have a big enough variety in your art material closet...if you know a fellow artist...see if you can borrow some supplies to 'try' or maybe keep your eyes out for a 'assortment lot auction' online, like ebay. there are lots of people in the same predicament that go out & pay big bucks for a bunch of supplies & then hardly use them...if you can get em' dirt cheap it makes it all the more fun.
after you start exploring you'll know if you lean more towards, drawing, painting or mixed media. the best way to know is to get do'in some samples & your 'gut feeling' will lead the way.
have a great journey & feel free to share w/ us along the road!
all the best 2 u~~~jen

11-04-2004, 02:07 PM
I had some general information books on illustration when I first started, but I have since passed them on to others who were just starting out. Most of mine now are pretty specific.

I have looked through The Illustrators Bible at the bookstore, and thought it looked pretty good. I'm sure it would be helpful, as are the other books that you already listed.

Also, on Amazon.com, I did a simple search for "materials and techniques" and got a pretty good list of books to choose from. If you are doing illustration by hand, many of the materials and techniques are the same as those for all artists.

11-04-2004, 04:30 PM

thank you for replying :)

11-04-2004, 07:14 PM
I have gotten a lot more out of magazines than books lately. Artists magazine has had wonderful stuff. International Artist is considered by many the best, but I haven't seen it.

My all-time favorite books are the old Art Instruction School books, which you can find sometimes on eBay. It's the correspondence school that has that famous ad where it asks you to draw that mouse or pirate and send it in. I have some of the course books from the '40's, and they're awesome. They used all the top illustrators of the day to write and draw the lessons. It's truly the type of stuff that dies with the artists... unless you can find the books.

11-04-2004, 09:49 PM
Yeah - I've got a few like that, not those specifically, but ones I've run across here and there, from used book stores mostly. Older books, though, books that have some real substance. I would recomend them but they are all out of print, so finding any is a matter of luck for the most part.

I guess it's because these books were published durring the "Golden Age" of Illustration. Many contemporary books just seem to be lacking. I've noticed this in business books as well. I have a couple of awsome business/sales books originally published in the early 1900's. I've got more mileage out of them than any contemporary book in my library.

Don't get me wrong, though, there is some really good contemporary stuff available. As I sit here thinking about it, I'm sure that there are quality books in any age, it's just a matter of finding them.

BTW - Ted - if I had to pick one magazine it would be International Artist.

11-05-2004, 10:41 AM
I couldn't help but do a little looking on eBay, and found a set of books from the Art Instruction school when they had Norman Rockwell as one of their instructors:

link (http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&category=29223&item=6934387883&rd=1)

11-05-2004, 01:58 PM
Thanks Ted! I just had to go and put a bid on it! Too Cool!

I was at our local used book store the other day and picked up a book published in 1964 titled 22 (subtitled - 22 famous painters and illustrators tell how they work) by Mary Anne Guitar.

It includes, most notably, an interview with Norman Rockwell. Other names I recognize: Will Barnet, Austin Briggs, Stevan Dohanos, Albert Dorne, Robert Fawcett, Al Parker, Ben Stahl and John Whitcomb.

I've been too busy to read much of it yet, but I'm itchin' to get into it.

Hey, I just clicked to check my bid and cross checked the artists listed in 22 with those shown on the e-bay listing and all of them exept one are in 22. Very interesting.

11-06-2004, 03:16 AM
What kind of information is in the Famous Artist books that's so great and you can't get elsewhere? Could you give some specific details?

11-06-2004, 08:49 AM
The main thing about them is that the top illustrators of the day actually created most of the lessons.

You get everything from figure drawing to composition to hand lettering. For example, in the books I have, which unfortunately isn't the complete set, you have sections on:

"Depicting Western Life and Episodes" by Charles M. Russell

"Child Anatomy" by Clare Briggs

"The Comic Strip" by Sidney Smith

"Illustrating Boy Life" by Norman Rockwell

So essentially you have each topic covered by the individual who was at the time considered the top of his field in that area.

I wouldn't say each topic is covered exhaustively. But what you get are those personal tips from the top working professionals.

Nothing can substitute for the physical experience of having a good teacher, of course, but then, we're talking books. And most books are specific to one area of art, whereas if you can find this series of books, they cover everything. The important thing is to find books and art that inspire you.

11-15-2004, 12:31 PM
I'm in a simular postition, I would love to becomean Illustrator I just have to wait a couple fo eayr before I can take a proper illustraation course for a degree andyways I found out about this book The Illustrator's Bible by Rob Howard and bought it off Amazon and it is fantastic, the writer also a professional illustrator goes into detail about all types of medium, I highly reccommend this book :D

02-28-2005, 03:42 AM
I just came across this thread while doing a search for illustration classes, and would like to add Andrew Loomis' book Creative Illustration which I suppose was also written in the 40's, and astonishingly is available for free download at: http://www.saveloomis.org/ along with a number of his other works.

Scary Terry
03-04-2005, 04:34 PM
Loomis' Creative Illustration is one of the best books on the subject ever. To be able to download it for free is a gift no artist should pass up.

The Famous Artists Schools books worth getting are the Commercial Art Course books -- not the Painting or Cartooning courses. Don't get 'em confused with the Art Instruction Schools booklets, some of which are worthwhile -- but not in the same league as the FAS books.

Terry Beatty

03-09-2005, 03:23 PM
Here are the ones I have that are specifically or somewhat geared toward illustration, and as near as I can tell ... these are the best you can buy, even if some are a bit outdated.

'Creative Illustration' - Loomis
'Figure Drawing For All It's Worth' - Loomis
'The Student's Guide To Painting' - Faragasso
'Perspective For Comic Book Artists' - Chelsea

'Exploring Illustration' - Fleishman
'Exploring Drawing for Animation' - Pappas
'Exploring Elements of Design' - Thomas
'All About Techniques In Illustration' - Parramon
'The Illustrators Bible' - Howard


03-09-2005, 04:29 PM
i found many handy lists of books in those 'sticky' subjects at the top of this forum list.. mind you, you have quite the list here!

that andrew loomis site is wonderful thx for that daal