10 Art Books That Will Nourish Your Creative Soul This Month

Art Books

Photo: Thought Catalog
This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase, My Modern Met may earn an affiliate commission. Please read our disclosure for more info.

If you’re looking to enrich your life, one of the easiest ways to do so is by cracking open a book. Creative photography, design, and art books can inspire new hobbies and ways to view the world. It might sound hyperbolic, but one of these texts can really change your life by guiding you in unexpected directions—it's part of what makes reading so magical.

We’ve picked 10 books that will nourish your creative soul. From drawing to fashion to art history to plant care, these beautiful publications are eye-opening looks at how people see and design their world. It might be much different from yours, but these alternative perspectives can be just what you need to pursue your dreams. Or, on a smaller scale, to pick up a pencil and start drawing or finally buy that Fiddle Leaf Fig that you’ve always wanted.

Scroll down for our suggestions. And if you have a Kindle device, you’re in luck—many of these publications are available through the e-reader, too. Through Kindle Unlimited, you have unlimited reading access to over a million ebooks that can be read on any device.

Want to nourish your creative soul? Here are our 10 picks of photography, design, and art books for May 2019.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Hilton Carter (@hiltoncarter) on

Wild at Home: How to Style and Care for Beautiful Plants by Hilton Carter
Make your home a more green and healthy place to be by decorating with plants. Hilton Carter, known for his inspiring Instagram, offers an inside look into his apartment of over 200 plants. Through Wild at Home, he shares ways to style and take care of plants.


Creative Art Books

Artists Respond: American Art and the Vietnam War, 1965–1975 by Melissa Ho, Thomas Crow, Martha Rosler, Mignon Nixon, Erica Levin, Katherine Markoski

By the end of the 1960s, the United States was in the midst of the Vietnam War. While there was conflict abroad, there was also conflict at home, between those for and against the war. Artists Respond highlights how creatives acknowledged the strife abroad. It features artists such as Judy Chicago, Corita Kent, and Yoko Ono and how this event compelled them to become politically engaged in their work.



View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Rae Dunn. (@raedunn) on

In Pursuit of Inspiration: Trust Your Instincts and Make More Art by Rae Dunn

The blank page can be daunting. Artist Rae Dunn shares her techniques for how to approach this space of possibilities. Each chapter has prompts that will get you “in touch with your creativity.” Some of the exercises include drawing with your nondominant hand and sketching objects found in nature.


Dior Fashion Book

Christian Dior by Oriole Cullen

Christian Dior’s work is being honored in a major exhibition at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum. This book presents highlights of the show by including photographs featuring House of Dior’s incredible garments as well as archival material like design sketches.



View this post on Instagram


A post shared by John S. Film And Photography (@jsapfoto) on

The Book of Mini: Inside the Big World of Tiny Things by Kate Ünver

Kate Ünver is a collector of small things. Having accumulated nearly 1,000 tiny items, she shares these amazing miniatures on her popular Instagram account, @dailymini. In The Book of Mini, she selects hundreds of pieces of artwork and includes interviews with collectors and artists who work in this scale.


Art Book

Getting There: A Workbook for Growing Up (@bymariandrew) by Mari Andrew

Mari Andrew is no stranger to the trials and tribulations of becoming an adult. Through her Instagram, she shares illustrations that are relatable meditations on heartbreak, self-discovery, and more. This guided journal encapsulates these themes and encourages you to “document your own path to adulthood.”


Art Book

Landscape Painting Now: From Pop Abstraction to New Romanticism by Barry Schwabsky

Landscape painting has spanned centuries and artistic movements. Here, author Barry Schwabsky shows this thriving genre and how it has taken form in the 21st century. Landscape Painting Now features more than 80 contemporary artists who hail from 25 different countries to provide an inclusive and nuanced view.


Interior Design Books

Abode: Thoughtful Living with Less by Serena Mitnik-Miller and Mason St. Peter

Do you want to pare down the things you own? Serena Mitnik-Miller and Mason St. Peter are tastemakers who will help guide you to creating interiors that “maximize openness, strip a building back to its bones, and amplify natural light, evoking unpretentious tranquility.”



View this post on Instagram


A post shared by juliarothman (@juliarothman) on

Nature Anatomy Notebook: A Place to Track and Draw Your Daily Observations by Julia Rothman

Dive deep into nature observation with Julia Rothman’s Nature Anatomy Notebook. Featuring step-by-step techniques for drawing flowers, birds, and insects, the guide will inspire you and nature lovers of all ages.


Creative Books

The Best Coast: A Road Trip Atlas: Illustrated Adventures along the West Coast's Historic Highways by Chandler O'Leary

The West Coast, aka the Best Coast, offers an ideal road trip; you'll experience a bevy of different terrains and beautiful sights. In this illustrated guide, you’ll learn about historic routes, landmarks, and “offbeat delights” as you travel around California, Oregon, and Washington State.


Related Articles:

10 Drawing Books That’ll Teach You Everything You Need to Know About Sketching

20 Books Every Artist Needs on Their Bookshelf

8 Essential Art History Books for Beginners

10 Inspiring Children’s Books for Budding Little Artists

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.
Become a
My Modern Met Member
As a member, you'll join us in our effort to support the arts.
Become a Member
Explore member benefits

Sponsored Content