Books that Every Artist Should Read

I love books. At the start of every morning and end of everyday, you'll find me curled over my kindle. I firmly believe that where you are 5 years from now, is determined by the number of books you read and seminars you attend.

If you want to stay employable and valuable as a person in today's ever changing world, you really can't afford to rest on your laurels and try to skate by. You'll quickly get overtaken by the people who were honing their skills and leaning new things to stay valuable.

So... here are a list of books I recommend that every artist reads - to improve your personal and creative life.


  • The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People - The book that everyone should start with. It helps you figure out what you really want out in your life and career, and how to put those priorities in order. It's a must read for everyone.
  • The Happiness Advantage - The book I'm reading right now. Why happy people are more productive, creative and successful than most, and everyday things you can do to improve yours. Also check out his TED talk and podcast interview.
  • The Power of Now - If you've been hearing a lot about the benefits of meditation, and wanting to start, I recommend starting here. It explains the concept of meditation and 'enlightenment' in clear, and sometimes confrontational ways.
  • Sleep Smarter - You might find this an odd recommendation, but since sleep effects your productivity, decision making, creativity and virtually every positive trait you have, knowing how to get a good night is essential for getting stuff done. Listen to his podcast if you're not convinced.


  • The Willpower Instinct - The book so valuable I devoted two podcasts to it. Explains why people give up on goals, get distracted and constantly find themselves doing things other than what they know you should be doing. Read it.
  • Manage Your Day-to-Day - Essential reading for any artist in today's highly distractive online world. 20 creative leaders share their work processes, routines and tips for accomplishing creative work.
  • Eat That Frog - If you've a deadline looming and you find yourself procrastinating more than usual, give this book a read. It teaches you how to prioritize your work and actually get it finished.


  • The War of Art - If you've ever felt tired of using Blender and wanting to give up, this book is for you. It's a no nonsense, no BS look at what it takes to be a professional artist.
  • Steal Like An Artist - A must read for anyone struggling to come up with ideas. This book cleverly debunks the idea that original ideas are thought up by geniuses in isolation, but more careful and deliberate stealing. Listen to my podcast on it for some quick tips.
  • Ignore Everyone - Explains what it takes to become a real original and make a living as an artist in today's every changing environment.

Artistic Principles

  • Digital Lighting and Rendering - The CG industry's go-to book on creating appealing art. It tackles one of the hardest concepts to understand: Lighting. I've been the proud owner of this book for over 5 years and refer to it several times a year.
  • Universal Principles of Design - A must have book for any artist or designer. Extremely useful for creating images that are actually based on sound design principles, as opposed to guesswork.
  • The Non-Designer's Design Book - Explains the fundamental principles of graphic design and typography. Whether you're designing a website, business card or flyer. This book explains how to make it look visually captivating - in plain easy.
  • Picture Perfect Practice - A fantastic book on composition, that although is written for photographers, applies equally to cg art.

Other Books

  • ReWork - If you're starting a website, business or even freelancing career, this is for you. It debunks the so called "rules" of the professional world, and explains why it doesn't have to be so complicated.
  • Presenting to Win - If you're creating a tutorial or giving a presentation, this book is a must-read. It explains why so many presentations suck, and how to easily and effortlessly create presentations that are memorable and valuable.
  • Running Lean - Since so many people are creating paid addons, websites and services nowadays, I must recommend this. It explains why creating products in isolation then releasing is not only wrong, but prone to failure and expensive.

What book have you read that made a difference in your life? Mention it in the comments below.

ProductivityAndrew Price