View Full Version : Your favorite Art Instruction/help book!

08-22-2008, 06:38 PM
Seems we have begun to compile things here, we have a "Post your Picture" thread, and "What does your studio look like?" thread as well.
In the last while a few books have been mentioned that we all really like to use to help us with our art.
If you will, add yours for us all to share. Name the title in quotations, and list all the author(s).

My favorites:
"An Introduction to Acrylics"
By Ray Smith
Part of a series of books put out by The Art School in association with the Royal Academy of The Arts.
Just a good all round intro to Acrylics/tools and methods.
Has wonderful descriptions of brushes/paints/tools and supports (canvas/paper and boards.)
I recommend this for the novice.

"Color Mixing for Artists"
By John lidzey/Jill Mirza/Nick Harris & Jeremy Galton.
Probably the best color book for any artist, as it has three sections in it....Acrylics/Oils & Watercolour.
Each section is unto itself, and you need go no further into the book if you just want to paint Acrylics.
Each page is in full true colour and shows you the mixes (recipes as it were) for achieving any specific colour you may need.
It begins with a basic Colour Palette and works with only those colours, so you always know where you are in mixing.
I highly recommend this little gem.

By R. Bradford Johnson
A little gem from the Walter Foster series of books.
From The Artists Library series. skew # AL04
About mastering the translucent techniques for landscape painting.
It is a wonderful technique book, and shows how certain effects are achieved.
Such as barn boards in old buildings/wildflowers in a country field etc.How to
draw a shingled roof and how to keep lines straight in buildings in perspective.
I have used this one a lot as a reference book for techniques.

"Acrylic Revolution"
By Nancy Reyner
This book is wonderful for the explorer and person who is looking to do something totally different.
Wonderful ideas/methods and how toos'. What tools to use, and detailed photographs accompany every set of instructions.
How to use Acrylics to the best of their capabilities and what to use for certain effects.
A wonderful read if nothing else, but a very good constant reference book as well.

Your turn!

08-22-2008, 06:54 PM
I've yet to see anything that tops Rheni Tauchid's The New Acrylics. Easily the best explanations of texture media and their potential uses that I've seen.

08-22-2008, 07:14 PM
Hmmmmmmmmm...I guess I dont really have one Im sorry to say. Guess I need to get out a bit more!!!

08-22-2008, 07:35 PM
I love Acrylic Revolution.

I also love

Keys to Drawing with Imagination by Bert Dodson (it has tons of exercises to help you draw beyond what you see in front of you)

and one I just got from the library that I am totally loving... Celebrate Your Creative Self by Mary Todd Beam

08-22-2008, 08:36 PM
although it's written for oils (and I find it EQUAL for acrylics).....I use "Fill your Oil Paintings with Light and Color" by Kevin Macpherson...a MUST HAVE!!! (I can even apply these rules to watercolor to a point!)

08-22-2008, 09:54 PM
although it's written for oils (and I find it EQUAL for acrylics).....I use "Fill your Oil Paintings with Light and Color" by Kevin Macpherson...a MUST HAVE!!! (I can even apply these rules to watercolor to a point!)

His newer book (I think it's called Inside and Out, or something like that) is also a must have!


08-22-2008, 10:05 PM
"60 Minutes to Better Painting" by Craig Nelson (Oil, but doesn't matter)
"Drawing with the Right Side of the Brain" by Betty Edwards
"The Art Spirit" by Robert Henri

I'm also just going through "Alla Prima" by Richard Schmid

I know none of these are acrylic instruction, but I still find more from these books than any of the dozen acrylic books I have. I'm looking more for Why, What, Where and When.. I think it's for us to figure out the How on our own.

08-22-2008, 10:40 PM
This is an interesting thread - went thru my art library and discovered it seems the only acrylic books I have are the collection of Rudy De Reyna books... all the many others deal with oils or watercolor or pen/ink or colored pencils - or collections of the works of various artists [and, of course, anatomy books galore]... perhaps it is because I am a detailed realist that I always took acrylics as merely a fast means of getting my renderings down and done - aside from the fact of my being so influenced by Maxfield Parrish and transcribed his methods to acrylics...

and yes, Betty Edwards' books are great to have as well...

otherwise, pertaining books deal more with "what it is I wish to render, and why" kind of thought, as am a themescapist and tend to imagine my world and its surroundings than to copy photos of it or just do scenes, however well composed they may be...

Bright Eyes
08-23-2008, 04:44 AM
Well here are a few books I found very useful:

The Painter's Handbook - Gottsegen Its a reference book on art stuff from supports, sizes and grounds, binders, pigments, paint making procedures, conservation, picture protection, restoration, and anything else you could possibly think of that has to do with painting other than actual painting technique. Has a very big section on paints, pigments, what the labels on the paint tubes mean and so forth. Has all the up to date info on safety hazards as well.

Dramatic Light in Watercolor and Oil - Howe Not for acrylic but the principles work the same. Very strait forward book. All the examples are shown with lots of pictures. Really breaks down the basics to adding light to pictures. Shows different examples for glowing light, bright sunlight, sheer light, and so on.

7 Keys to Great Paintings - Hofstetter This is a great book for overall composition and design. Has a chapter on each key. The keys are pattern, passage, focal area, color, design, the golden mean, and emotional depth. All examples are shown with lots of pictures. Every key is explained in depth.

Acrylic Revolution - Reyner A book I very much appreciate. Makes going out on a limb a lot easier. Goes into a lot of different methods and techniques to manipulate acrylic paint. Really shows how versatile acrylics really are.

Expressive Portraits - Pederson This book goes into detail on how to get the effect, mood and such for portraits. I usually do paintings of people so I found this book a big help. Its made for water color, but the methods work for acrylic as well. Shows all examples with pictures.

The Science of Art - Martin Kemp I must say this is my favorite of all my art books. Its a lot bigger than most my books and doesn't have as many picture references. But its awesome!!!!:thumbsup: Its more of a study book. Goes really in depth on the old masters, their mathematical equasions and how they came about all the technical methods they used. Really goes into the actual history of art, and shows why and how advancements where made. Has a whole lot of information on the way people see. Perspective, distance, and everything and anything science of composition. Really good book on every thing, and I really mean everything composition.

Most of these books (excluding The Science of Art and The Painters Handbook) I got from North Light Books. Its a book club. The pricing was really good. If you do plan on getting the books I highly recomend going through them. The other two I got of Amazon.com.

08-23-2008, 05:09 AM
The four books on Acrylic painting I would recommend are :-

Acrylic Revolution by Nancy Reynor
The Northlight Book of Acrylic Painting Techniques.
Acrylic School by Hazel Harrison.
The Encyclopedia of Acrylic Techniques by Hazel Harrison.

The best & most comprehensive book in my humble opinion is the last one.

08-23-2008, 08:53 AM
:wave: What a great thread! Thanks Kathleen!

I have SO many art books for all different media but the one I have used most for study is Carlson's Guide to Landscape Painting. I'm going to have to take a look though at some of the ones recommended here.


08-23-2008, 09:47 AM
To break through the "I can't draw barrier" Drawing on the Right side of the Brain by Betty Edwards is definitely a good one.

To put into perspective the relationship/struggle of the artist with their art, creativity and the rest of the world, a really to the point book is Art and Fear by David Bayles and Ted Orland

Lady Carol
08-23-2008, 09:54 AM
Acrylic Mixing Directory - Ian Sidway
Examples of colour mixes from any combination of acrylic paint.

08-23-2008, 11:43 AM
Right now, my favorite would be "Drawing the Human Head" by Burne Hogrth. It helped a lot more than floundering around in those life drawing classes.

My next most used book is "Acrylic Mixing Directory," by Ian Sidaway. I also use "Color Mixing for Artists" by John Lidzey, Jill Mirza, Nick Harris, and Jeremy Galton.

Although it isn't a book, I find "American Art Collector" magazine a great visual resource. It is really just a magazine loaded with pictures of contemporary realism currently selling in galleries. The color reproduction is high quality and it is interesting to see all the different styles and techniques being used. It also gives some pricing information. This magazine is always on my sofa. I love looking through it!

08-23-2008, 12:15 PM
There's also one called [or so I believe, since it presently is in storage] "How to Get Hung [without losing your neck]" - not an acrylic book, but dealing with being an artist and showing works... and yes, have all of Burne's books - great for getting those perspective and action shots, and Andy Loomis' books also worth getting [Bridgeman's book, too, is great - if you want all to look like body by Michaelangelo... :eek:] :lol:

08-23-2008, 12:50 PM
Although it isn't a book, I find "American Art Collector" magazine a great visual resource. It is really just a magazine loaded with pictures of contemporary realism currently selling in galleries. The color reproduction is high quality and it is interesting to see all the different styles and techniques being used. It also gives some pricing information. This magazine is always on my sofa. I love looking through it!
If you have this months edition John Roof is featured in it!:)
(A man that is going places and says "HI" to everyone here)

08-23-2008, 01:53 PM
I would second the mention of the book "The New Acrylics" by Rheni Tauchid. It's not a book about making an acrylic painting step-by-step, but it is very thorough in covering just about all aspects of painting with acrylics. It goes into detail on mediums, pigments, grounds, brushes, etc. and gives lots of ideas for creative ways to use acrylics (pigment transfers, stained glass effects, glazing, scumbling, collage, ...).

For drawing, the book "Drawing From Life" (I have the 2nd Ed) by Clint Brown & Cheryl McLean is excellent and inspiring, with lots of detailed explanations and exercises as well as tons of example drawings in all manner of styles. Alas, it's very expensive!

08-23-2008, 02:13 PM
Thanks everyone, this is getting interesting.
My book list is getting bigger by the post:lol:
Keep 'em coming, It is just great that you are willing to share like this

08-23-2008, 03:08 PM
For drawing I like Robert Kaupelis "Learning to Draw" and "Experimental Drawing" Watson-Guptill publishers. Some of his exercises are actually fun. I have some of the Acrylic books mentioned here, such as, "Celebrating Your Creative Self," which I love.

I will try to find the book ynutp mentioned "Color Mixing for Artists." John Lindzey is one of my favorite watercolorists.

08-23-2008, 03:23 PM
John Lidzey is such a favorite that I got his last name wrong. It's been a long day :eek:

08-23-2008, 03:59 PM
Mine is the pencil by Paul Calle he uses the pencil like the old etchers , a very unique technique with the pencil, its out of print now but a worth while book to have.
My other one is by Robert Vickrey on egg tempera but you can use his techniques for acrylics too, he has a few out and all of them are pretty good.
the other is pretty much anything on Maxfield Parrish or Patrick Woodrolfe two of my favorties. (I love Patrick Woodrolfe imagination)

Shirl Parker
08-25-2008, 03:15 PM
Are any of ya'll familiar with the Painting and Drawing Channel? It's an online source to watch videos of different art techniques. Previously you had to tune in at the exact time the show was playing which could be a little tricky because the times were listed in UK time. Now they have a feature called TV Anytime, where during the week that the videos are showing on the TV Now portion, you can watch them anytime during that week. They are quite worthwhile to watch and cover multiple media types.

For example, thinking of Carol, there is a video available right now on using color pencils. There is also a figure drawing in watercolor, and a Jackie Simmonds video on pastel.

Here is the link: