I want to build upon my previous post "10 Reasons to Keep a Sketchbook" by sharing drawing inspiration from my creative bookshelf. These books offer a wealth of fun drawing exercises to enjoy anytime I'm feeling stressed or uninspired. They would also make good gifts for the creative people in your life.
Here are some of the books I have on hand:
Paris Street Style - a coloring book of Paris fashion, shops and cafes by Zoé de las Cases. Lovely line drawings of Paris street fashion and shops that are fun to color - need I say more? Sometimes I just want to color, not draw.
Draw Every Day by Jennifer Orkin Lewis. Jennifer has a wonderful fluid and quirky style of art that I love seeing in my Instagram feed. Her book is filled with prompts for daily drawing and painting with blank spaces to fill as well inspiring drawings of Jennifer's favorite materials, forms and topics. Caveat: some Amazon reviewers did not like the ratio of blank "prompt" pages vs. instruction and inspiration pages (about 2/3 blank vs 1/3 illustrated). I purchased this book in "like new" condition for a reduced price and recommend that strategy to cut down on disappointment.
For a similar price you can take Jennifer's gouache painting classes on Creativebug instead of buying her book. She gives video instruction of drawing and painting many different items in her signature colorful style. Jennifer offers several classes: a 30 day painting challenge or her illustrative painting with gouache which has 3 segments: getting started, florals and lettering. I really enjoyed her classes which is why I bought her book.
Ladies Drawing Night by Julia Rothman, Leah Goren, and Rachael Cole. This book chronicles some of their their weekly meetings with several example topics to inspire you to give it a try. I love seeing these top professional illustrators share their process through great photos, tips and materials lists. They also talk about how relaxing and fun these nights are for each of them and why, including what they eat and drink! You don't have to be in a drawing group to try out their techniques - post your results to their Instagram hashtag #ladiesdrawingnight and join in the fun.
Breathe, issue 2, available in the US at Barnes and Noble Booksellers. This UK magazine comes with a purse-sized coloring book inside as well as articles about the benefits of doodling and coloring. The magazine is devoted to "wellbeing, mindfulness, creativeness and escape" with articles on how to start a yoga practice, winter smoothies, decluttering, various artist's creative practices and where to enjoy autumn leaf peeping. There are many comparable magazines that offer coloring pages (see Molly Makes and Flow), if you enjoy seasonal coloring along with de-stressing / creative spark ideas.
Florabunda Basics by Suzanne McNeill. Instruction in developing floral patterns that can evolve into your own personal coloring pages. This is a great way to get started doodling flowers and nature if you are new to drawing or just want to try something different.
Maira Kalman, Various Illuminations by Ingrid Schaffner, a book of pure inspiration rather than instruction. Looking at other artist's sketches usually spurs me to draw something different or try a new tool. This book was written for a museum exhibit of her artworks and contains background information about her working habits and subjects. Maira has written a number of illustrative books, including children's books, that always make me want to get out my paints and make something bright and fun.
Drawing is a great way to map out what you are thinking about and tap into your unconscious (are you thinking about lunch? adopting a kitten? decorating big for the holidays? a tropical vacation?). All you need to get started is a pencil and a piece of paper, so why not give it a try?
My linen kitty doll, nicknamed Lulu, started out as a series of sketches of kitty faces and drawings of cats wearing cute clothes. She comes with a little mix-and-match wardrobe that can be removed from the doll. The kitty and dress shown here are prototypes that I'm still tweaking for fit.
How do you like her so far?