books / reviews

Books, books and more books

Over the course of my artistic journey I’ve compiled quite an extensive library.  I’ve got books on a wide variety of subjects: quilting, bookmaking, surface design, mixed media, art history, business etc etc.  You get the idea – I have a lot of books!  I thought it might be fun to do a blog post every so often about some of my favorite books in a particular subject.  In this post I’ll share my favorites on the subject of inspiration/creativity and business…

On the subject of inspiration…


(click the name of the book to go the Amazon page)
The Blank Canvas, Inviting the Muse:  I read this book for the first time back in 2010 and I re-read it every so often.  It really helped me

Show Your Work!Austin Kleon packs a lot of helpful information and insights into his books.  I am halfway through this one and I can already recommend it just on what I’ve read so far.  He has a very straightforward way of writing, no “artspeak” to get in the way of the message or the point that he’s trying to make.  His first book Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative is also a must read.  I made the mistake of lending my copy to someone and I never saw it again which is why you don’t see it in this pile.

Minding the Muse: I just finished this book a couple of weeks ago.  It’s not a very thick book, only 100 pages or so but it’s a great read.  She shares her insights on the entire creative process from start to finish and then goes beyond with chapters on tracking your work, becoming a public figure, marketing and developing and nurturing your own self esteem.  I highly recommend it.

The View From The Studio Door: How Artists Find Their Way In An Uncertain World 1st (first) Edition by Orland, Ted published by Image Continuum Press (2006): Another addition to my library back in 2010.  This was written by the same folks that wrote Art & Fear and it’s another one of those books that I pick up and re-read every so often.

The Confident Creative: Drawing to Free the Hand and Mind and Making Art a Practice: How to Be the Artist You Are  I love Cat Bennett’s books.  Not only are they filled with some great advice and information on creativity and drawing but the pages are sprinkled with some wonderful illustrations.

On the subject of business…


Art, Inc.: The Essential Guide for Building Your Career as an Artist: This is another one of those small but mighty books.  Chapters include: Embracing yourself as an artist, Exploring income streams, promoting, licensing and selling your work, exhibitions and galleries and a lot more.

Art-Write: The Writing Guide for Visual Artists: This book should be on every artist must read list and it should have a permanent place in your studio.   Being able to write an effective artist statement, bio, elevator speech is so important and this little book will give you the tools and resources to do just that.  Think about it – you can’t stand next to and talk about every single one of your artworks when they’re on display so your artist statement needs to be able to do that for you.   I highly recommend this book.

The Artist’s Guide: How to Make a Living Doing What You Love: I picked this book up several years ago on a whim when I was browsing a local bookstore and read it cover to cover.  Broken down into four sections: Taking charge of your professional life, Circulating your work, Supporting your Work and Maintaining your practice it’s a comprehensive guide to navigating making a living as an artist.  There’s a companion website for the book here and if you scroll to the bottom of the page you’ll find a link to her podcast on writing an artist statement and other subjects.

Photographing Arts, Crafts & Collectibles: Take Great Digital Photos for Portfolios, Documentation, or Selling on the Web (A Lark Photography Book):  I bought this book when I was getting ready to do the photography for my first book “The Sketchbook Challenge: Techniques, Prompts, and Inspiration for Achieving Your Creative Goals and it helped me immensely.  This book is an invaluable guide for any artist, no matter what medium they work in, who wants to take better photos for juried show submissions, their website, portfolios or brochures.

Digital Essentials: The Quilt Makers Guide to Images, Files and More!:  An excellent guide to the principles of managing and understanding digital files.

Business and Legal Forms for Fine Artists (Business and Legal Forms Series)  I have the third edition of this book but there is now a fourth edition.  There is also a Business and Legal Forms for Crafters version.

Those are all books that I’ve read, used and recommend.   I’m slowly working my way through this pile:


Think Like an Artist: and Lead a More Creative, Productive Life, Art Without Compromise, Imagination in Action: Secrets for Unleashing Creative Expression, Living Color: Painting, Writing, and the Bones of Seeing and The Art of Rivalry: Four Friendships, Betrayals, and Breakthroughs in Modern Art

That’s it for these piles of books, in my next book recommendation post I’ll be sharing some of my favorite books on surface design.

Have you registered for my Artistic Development 101 class yet?


This online class begins Sunday June 4, 2017 and runs for 8 consecutive weeks. Click here for more information or to register for this class.

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