Dreaming about a new colorful art book that looks stylish on your coffee table? Of course, it’s not the deciding factor in buying it. However, the design is just as important. So in this article, we’ve cast the net wide to present you with the most outstanding art books you owe yourself to read in 2022. Here you’ll find many exciting things: Japanese and Chinese masters, pro tips for animators, parallel universes, and perspective lessons. So, are you ready to embark on a fantastic journey through the world of art books?
The number of novelties in the modern book market is growing every year. The unusual presentation of its representatives amazes the reader’s imagination. And here we are talking about art books, which attract all art lovers. So you may be wondering why such publications arouse so much interest from the audience.
Well, art books carry the personal feelings of the passing events. They are like handwritten diaries or notebooks of the past, similar to travelers’ or observers’ notes. They are presented as sheets of paper lavishly decorated with sketches, collages, or some words in the margin.
The modern art book is a unique presentation of printed information in the form of an image collection, sketches, and colorful pictures, united under one cover. Agree that such a presentation of material can’t fail to find fans.
The main rule of such publications is to describe and comply with the author’s plot. The buyer receives a themed album, which attracts a bright cover, reproduces famous movie stories and popular anime, and guides the reader through the path of favorite video games, movies, comics, or books.
Creative art editions are replete with content and stories, significantly expanding the circle of interested users. This fact makes them objects for personal inspiration or a universal gift. So here we distinguish the following types:
✔️ Travel albums. They are compact and don’t take up much space in luggage. They reflect the most memorable moments and exciting photos of sights in the countries seen. In addition, the book can include a description of the area, historical facts, and exciting features of the cuisine.
✔️ Artbooks in the form of a workbook. It’s an indispensable attribute for creative people. They will interest artists, event planners, and photographers due to their wide variety and convenient structure. One can work out ideas and draw sketches or future constructions in them.
✔️ Editions in ezine format. These are popular magazines that include reviews of movies or online games. Such a book will be a natural gift for art lovers since it rediscovers facets of famous works.
✔️ Individual diaries. It is a modern way of reflecting and storing information. They follow a chronology, recalling life events.
In this article, you’ll find some of the artbooks presented above, as well as those based on events from the life of specific creative personalities, literary works, or biographies of artists. However, all variants of editions are united by an exciting presentation of information, uniqueness, detailing of facts, descriptions, and images.
Want to make the most of this fall? Then check out this year’s selection of the best art books. You can’t think of a better way to combine business with pleasure.
# 1 – Hokusai: Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji
Katsushika Hokusai is one of the most famous Japanese engravers of the 19th century. And even if you’re only remotely familiar with his artwork, you have probably heard that Hokusai is the creator of one of the most famous works of Japanese art: The Big Wave. So how did he manage to become famous?
All the stars came together for him: talent, innovation, and a little luck. During his life, Hokusai created thousands of pictures under dozens of names, but the most famous were those dedicated to Mount Fuji. We all know that the Japanese worship Mount Fuji since many works of art are devoted to it, whether in poetry, prose, paintings, prints, or music.
Hokusai, as a great master, couldn’t avoid this theme. And no matter how well you understand the artist’s work, Hokusai: Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji will bring you much aesthetic pleasure. And perhaps it will even inspire you to create your masterpieces. Who knows what secrets such art books hold? Many would appreciate that it is available in a luxurious silk binding. We recommend buying this art book in hardcover.
Suppose you want to enjoy the artist’s work thoroughly. Plus, the book comes with an additional explanatory booklet, Hokusai: Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji, details the master’s series of prints dedicated to this natural landmark. Of course, you may notice that the book has a narrow scope and focuses on only a fraction of Hokusai’s career, but its actual value lies in the excellent presentation of the material.
# 2 – Creating Characters for the Entertainment Industry
Over the years, the art of character design has accumulated knowledge, techniques, and tricks that artists use today to bring all kinds of ideas to life. So have you ever wanted to look behind the scenes of this process? Then this book is for you and the vast experience of the best artists developing original character designs for animation, illustration, and video games.
The power of marketing is limitless. But how does it relate to contemporary art? Marketing influences character design as much as art direction. And in this guide, you’ll learn exactly how that happens through examples of animation, illustration, and video games. That means you’ll know what to consider when creating your artwork if you want to succeed in the character design industry.
Starting with the introduction, you’ll already get valuable practical information: how to interpret the brief for these mediums or how the creative pipeline works. There’s also a lot of educational material in the book. For example, you’ll learn what goes into developing the same character for different platforms and how these subtle changes help achieve unique goals.
And you’ll also get helpful tips on dealing with the various feedback problems you may encounter along the way. The book also allows you to practice what you’ve learned with a pack of blank bonus briefs representing a balance of business needs and creativity. But, of course, you shouldn’t forget this book’s aesthetic and artistic components. You will genuinely enjoy reading it.
Creating Characters for the Entertainment Industry available on Amazon.
# 3 – Leonardo: The Complete Paintings and Drawings
Five hundred years ago not only revolutionized art but also foreshadowed the discoveries of the coming eras in various scientific fields. This edition by Taschen is timed to coincide with this event. The book reflects the breadth and diversity of the artist’s interests and offers a new appreciation for the achievements of Renaissance genius.
Based on letters, contracts, poetic works, and diary entries of the time, the book’s authors look at Leonardo’s paintings in a completely new light. And it’s surprising since the subject of the most famous artist of the Renaissance has long been studied. Nevertheless, the authors have managed to find a new angle. And now, this presentable art book in a luxurious hardcover can surprise even the most scholarly admirers of his art.
This book is intended for people who are serious about art. And such a deep dive into the world of the famous artist is sure to please them. However, casual readers will enjoy this book thanks to the incredible imagery that shows the artist’s work with detailed close-ups. As the Financial Times writes, “there’s no legal way of approaching Leonardo’s work more closely.”
Leonardo. The Complete Paintings and Drawings available on Amazon.
# 4 – Spectrum 26
We have to disagree if you think the most significant artists are a thing of the past. Spectrum’s annual collections are proof of that. The world of contemporary art is full of talented artists and exciting works. The twenty-sixth edition of the bestselling series will reveal new work from outstanding authors in various fields (illustration, sculpture, fine art, and video games).
Spectrum 26 gives you a contemporary idea of the standard you must meet if you’re an art person. There’s no room for envy, but a vast field of motivation and inspiration exists. According to the publishers, Spectrum is a world of notable artists that helps them find a wider audience. So it’s also your chance if you dream of worldwide recognition and looking for new ways to achieve it.
Spectrum 26: The Best in Contemporary Fantastic Art available on Amazon.
# 5 – Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse — The Art of the Movie
Spider-Man is a beloved character of several generations of comics fans. As for Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, it breathed new life into a familiar character and turned fans’ ideas of what a superhero movie can achieve. And here we are talking about stunning animation and artwork. This book is a unique experience of the work done on the film.
So if you’re interested in animation and adore Spider-Man or the MCU, this book will be a gift from the gods. Not only will you find incredible research into the artistic decisions behind some of the unusual characters and settings, but you’ll also find secret information about who might return in the sequel. In what other art book have you seen something like this?
Unfortunately, it’s unlikely you’ll remember anything. So what else can we say about this book? Well, in its pages, you’ll see the works of professional artists who worked hard to bring their creative ideas to life. We are sure that even those who have never opened the art book before will like this edition, as it will allow you to enjoy the incredible visual effects on the printed page fully.
# 6 – Figure Drawing for Kids
Considering the topic of the best modern art books, let’s not forget about children as well. Some artists have shown a bright talent from a young age, so if you notice your child has an irresistible urge to draw, give them Figure Drawing for Kids. This book is precious because it’s not often you find figure drawing tutorials geared toward nine to twelve years old. This guide will be a fun and exciting journey into figure drawing.
The accessibility of complex topics to young readers deserves special attention, thanks to clear examples of pop culture icons and superheroes. In addition, young artists will get a lot of valuable information about different body types from the book, which is lacking in figure drawing books intended for adults. So perhaps for you, too, this book will open up some aspects of fine art from a new angle.
# 7 – Morpho: Simplified Forms: Anatomy for Artists
So, great news! Because not only can young artists now get figure drawing books as gifts. For adult artists, Michel Lauricella has prepared a brief overview of how you can draw the human body with just a few simple shapes. If you’re familiar with figure drawing, you understand that thinking about geometric shapes can help make sense of the model. However, this book doesn’t reflect the traditional figure-drawing approach.
Instead, it contains a more profound knowledge, showing how you can draw all parts of the human body with a small set of shapes that can be combined and formed into more complex structures. But even if you are new to figure drawing, Lauricella has also taken care of you. The book also has plenty of essential information to help you try figure drawing, even if you’ve never tried it before.
Morpho: Simplified Forms: Anatomy for Artists available on Amazon.
# 8 – The Kitchen Studio: Culinary Creations by Artists
Creativity is a large-scale concept and is often not limited to any generally accepted framework. And, in general, how can art have any limits? However, true artists don’t leave their creativity outside the studio door. Some even let it into the kitchen. If you want to find out what comes out of it, read Phaidon’s book, The Kitchen Studio, in which 70 of today’s best artists share 100 recipes with all art and culinary enthusiasts.
They’re not just recipes; illustrations include personal photographs, paintings, collages, sketches, and even iPhone pictures. In addition, you’ll find works by Subodh Gupta, Jeppe Hein, Carsten Höller, Laure Provost, Kehinde Wiley, Ragnar Kjartansson, Philippe Parreno, and Rirkrit Tiravanija. So for lovers of candied yams for Thanksgiving, here’s a great recipe decorated in the Southern style of Charles Gaines.
# 9 – 1000 Years of Joys and Sorrows, by Ai Weiwei
Each book on this list has its unique characteristics. And after reading this article, you’re sure to find at least one art book you’ll want to get to know better. As for 1000 Years of Joys and Sorrows, we can describe it in two ways. The first is the Chinese artist Ai Weiwei’s desire to immortalize his family’s history, but not for anyone, but his children “knew their grandfather and father from their own words.”
This book is also a kind of manifesto of a century-long epic about China, told through his own life and the legacy of his father, the famous poet Ai Qing, who was banned from writing and subjected to hard labor for 20 years. So this book is the artist’s entire life, laid on the altar of freedom to explore some of humanity’s most pressing issues. And at the level of feeling, we can compare this book to the sting of a scorpion. It’s just as sharp and scalding.
# 10 – Great Women Painters
So you’ve seen that art can be very diverse. As far as the history of painting is concerned, it extends over many centuries and is, therefore, all-encompassing. But what about the women who took their first steps in painting? And here, one is reminded of a 1971 essay in which Linda Nochlin asked why there were no great women painters. And she answered her question: there were great women artists, but they were often prevented from achieving success.
Great Women Painters is an even more detailed answer. Here you can explore the work of 300 women artists, born in 60 countries from the 16th to the 21st century, in the form of A-Z critical female figures in the history of painting: Vanessa Bell, Etel Adnan, Rana Begum, Cecily Brown, Judy Chicago, Elaine de Kooning, Geneve Figgis, Katharina Grosse, Carmen Herrera, Luchita Hurtado, Shirazeh Houshiary and Julie Mehretu.
Some may disagree, but art books can be just as valuable in learning new information and sharpening your professional skills as specialized literature. Moreover, they give you a massive boost of energy and motivation that can explode your creativity. Artistic people can better understand their profession with all those classics, drawing tips, or behind-the-scenes peripeteia of an animated blockbuster.
And while we can’t deny the influence of digital platforms on the art world, books are still a source of valuable information for many artists. Quality print publications allow one to delve more deeply into a topic of interest. In addition, flipping through the pages of a visually appealing art book gives great aesthetic pleasure, which is essential for creative people.
About the Writer
Lillie Jenkins is a creative copywriter and content writer. She has worked as a copywriter since graduating school, so her writing skills are well-honed. Lillie works as a writer at the popular writing service WritingJudge. She writes publications in marketing, business, education, and personal life. More than writing, Lillie loves to travel and read professional literature.
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