10 Art Books That Will Nourish Your Creative Soul This Month

Art Books

Photo: Annie Spratt
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Much of the world has gone digital, but there’s nothing like a hard copy of a book. Holding printed matter in your hand feels real (in a way digital does not) and valuable. The text is not set in stone, but a book suggests that you’ve got something timeless in your possession. You can return to it time and again and it’ll always be the same. For art books, this means you can spark your creative spirit and nurse it for years to come. But you don’t have to stop there. New publications are released every day, ranging from DIY to photography projects to comics that’ll make you smile.

Want to build your personal library? It’s easier said than done; the sheer volume of releases over the past month can be overwhelming. To help you on your quest, we’ve selected a variety of creative books that are sure to speak to you, whatever your interest may be. You can learn the story behind the legendary Bill Cunningham or admire the drawings of BoJack Horseman. When you feel crafty, you can learn how to make your own paper houseplants. And don’t be afraid to choose something that’s outside of what you’d normally pick because you never know how it will inspire you.

Check out 10 of our top art book picks for this month.

Looking for new art books? Scroll down for our list of 10 new creative publications to check out.

Botanical Line Drawing: 200 Step-by-Step Flowers, Leaves, Cacti, Succulents, and Other Items Found in Nature by Peggy Dean

Learn how to draw some of the most popular types of plants today, and best of all, there are no skills necessary to start with this book. It begins by showing you simple doodles that expand into more elaborate drawings.



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Made Out of Stars: A Journal for Self-Realization by Meera Lee Patel

If you need a creative pep talk, Meera Lee Patel’s journal Made Out of Stars will help you realize your potential. Part illustrated book and part workbook, it offers guided exercises that will help you recognize what makes you unique.



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Fashion Climbing: A Memoir with Photographs by Bill Cunningham

We were saddened by the loss of Bill Cunningham in 2016. The legendary photographer and street style specialist documented New Yorkers who embodied their outfits, earning the respect of some of the biggest names in fashion. Fashion Climbing is a memoir written by Cunningham, discovered after his death, about his life and a young man striving to be original.



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What We Keep by Bill Sharpiro and Naomi Wax

Authors Bill Shapiro and Naomi Wax interviewed 150 people—some famous, others not—about the one object in their life that holds deep meaning. The book comprises the stories behind these items along with a detailed photo of the object that allows you to see its well-loved condition.


The Joy of Watercolor by Emma Block

Comprising 40 lessons on watercolor painting, Emma Block’s The Joy of Watercolor will leave you with a better understanding of how to paint your vacation, pet, flowers, and more. All you need is a watercolor palette, brushes, and paper!


Handmade Houseplants: Remarkably Realistic Plants You Can Make with Paper by Corrie Beth Hogg and photographed by Christine Han

Do you lack a green thumb? If so, these plants are more your speed; you can’t kill them because they’re made from paper! Crafter Corrie Beth Hogg shows you how to create your own jungle of 30 of the most popular houseplants. Each project is simple and can be completed in a few hours.



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Best Bear Ever! A Little Year of Liz Climo by Liz Climo

My Modern Met favorite is back with another collection of her charming animal comics. Best Bear Ever! follows Bear and Rabbit as they “commemorate special days throughout the year” and spend it with some of their best friends.


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BoJack Horseman: The Art Before the Horse by Chris McDonnell and illustrated by Lisa Hanawalt

Animated comedy BoJack Horseman has garnered critical acclaim. For fans of the series, this book provides an inside look into the show. It features an oral history sourced from the show’s cast and crew as well as the art that traces it from development to post-production.



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The Hidden Art of Disney's Mid-Century Era: The 1950s and 1960s by Didier Ghez

The 1950s and 1960s at The Walt Disney Studios were heavily influenced by mid-century modern aesthetic, driven by artists like Mary Blair, Tom Oreb, and more. In addition, you’ll get a peek into never-before-seen images from Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland, and more.


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100 Days of Drawing (Guided Sketchbook) by Jennifer Orkin Lewis

Want to feel accomplished? You certainly will after completing 100 drawings! This book will help you complete the ambitious undertaking by offering you 25 of Lewis' favorite subjects and techniques, as well as creative prompts that “push you past the blank page.”


Related Articles:

15 Must-Have Art Books for the Creative Mind

20 Books Every Artist Needs on Their Bookshelf

8 Essential Art History Books for Beginners

Sara Barnes

Sara Barnes is a Staff Editor at My Modern Met, Manager of My Modern Met Store, and co-host of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. As an illustrator and writer living in Seattle, she chronicles illustration, embroidery, and beyond through her blog Brown Paper Bag and Instagram @brwnpaperbag. She wrote a book about embroidery artist Sarah K. Benning titled 'Embroidered Life' that was published by Chronicle Books in 2019. Sara is a graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art. She earned her BFA in Illustration in 2008 and MFA in Illustration Practice in 2013.
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