Resource Books for Illustrators

A non-exhaustive list of books that illustrators should have on their shelves, or at least have access to. These are only books that I have, or have read personally so I would love to hear what other books people have found helpful. Click the book for the amazon link (and no I don’t get commission).

This book deals with the technical aspects of painting that are related to colour (or color if you’re american) and light. Such themes include reflected light, shadows,  colour scripting, gamut masks, and whole heap of other useful information.  As one of the quote’s on the back say “This is the book I wish I had in art school”.

This book deals more with the creative process. It looks at subjects like using reference, thumbnailing, telling a story and composition. A very useful book that should be in any illustrators library.

I’ve looked at a few different anatomy reference books and the this book has some of the highest quality illustrations I’ve seen (I’ve even seen some of the plates being re-used in other anatomy books). Two gripes I would have is that there isn’t as much about the head in this book, and finding the names of the muscles are bit of a pain to work out.

Whilst “Anatomy for the Artist” deals with the structure of the body in great detail, there is no other book that helps you draw the human form better than Andrew Loomis’ book “Figure Drawing for all it’s Worth”. It has only recently been re-published, along with “Drawing the Head and Hands” and “Successful Drawing”.

This book may not be for every illustrator but if you’re thinking about getting into children’s illustration then I highly recommend this book.

Helpful for anybody want to recreate the human face, whether realistically or exaggerated.

I bought this book a while ago and found it very interesting reading. It’s basically a conversation between an art director and Illustrator. Topics like style, do’s and dont’s, ethics and what art directors look for are all discussed. Actually flipping through the book for this post has made me want to read through it again. Useful for anyone wanting to make a career in illustration.

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