Recommended Reading: I have read many books over the years and these are the ones that I have found most helpful. There are books on art techniques, creativity, computers, and business.
The Simple Secret to Better Painting: How to Immediately Improve Your Work with the One Rule of Composition Greg Albert (Author).
The secret is to never make two intervals the same. Don't underestimate the importance of this principle, it can be applied to almost every aspect of painting. The many applications of this rule are demonstrated by thumbnail sketches and finished paintings by various artists. While the intended audience is painters, it would be beneficial for anyone who is involved in the visual arts; photographers, graphic designers, film makers and illustrators.
Keys To Drawing, Burt Dodson.
The drawing book that I recommend the most. The 55 keys in this book are explained and demonstrated by examples drawn by the author and his students. Each key has at least one drawing exercise that is designed to help you to master it. This is the best way to learn how to draw- learn a concept and then immediately practice it. Dodson also walks you through self critiques that will help you to find the areas where you need to improve.
The Acrylic Painter's Book of Styles and Techniques, Rachel Rubin Wolf (editor).
Acrylics can be used to simulate the look of watercolor, oils and gouache. Seven artists give start to finish demos of their painting techinques. The genres include something for everyone–landscapes, cityscapes, florals, still life, and abstraction. The artists included in this book are; Joseph Orr, Mary Sweet, Barbara Buer, William Hook, Lisa Buck-Goldstein, Michael Nevin, and Louise Cadillac.
Landscape Painting Inside And Out, Kevin Machpherson.
Kevin Machpherson gives away his strategies that he uses to create his landscape paintings. This includes how to break subject matter down into blocks of colors, suggested color palettes, recommended equipment, and marketing your artwork. Oil painting is the medium used in this book but many of the concepts about how to approach a painting can be adapted to other mediums.
Gerhard Richter Painting
This documentary includes extensive footage of Richter working in the studio, in his abstract style. It's interesting to see the one of the worlds most successful painters having doubts about his own work and showing dissatisfaction about a painting in progress. We also get an insiders view into his tools and techniques, including to be what looks like a custom made squeegee that he uses to spread the paint onto the canvas. Footage from the 60's and interviews with his assistants are also included.
Glass: A Portrait of Philip in Twelve Parts
This is a personal look into the life of the composer Philip Glass. It was filmed over a two year period and it reveals a lot about his personal life. I enjoyed hearing stories about his early work from the other famous artists who knew him at the time. I was shocked to find out that he worked as a plumber and taxi driver into his early forties. Also, there are a lot "everyday moments" such as when he cooks a pizza at his cottage in Canada, discussing his creative process while he's frying onions and making sauce.
Little Bets, Peter Sims.
The little bets approach to creativity is a spontaneous, right brained process that is fast, cheap and iterative. Rather than starting with a heroic business plan, start from where you're at. Use what's available at the moment, and fail quickly and repeatedly. Learn a little with each step until the idea progresses from "suck to non-suck". Getting feedback throughout every stage of the process is an important part of this approach. These strategies will be familiar to many artists and creative types.
The Compound Effect, Darren Hardy.
Success doesn't come from short term efforts but from consistent little steps that are done consistently everyday over a long period of time. In the beginning, nothing seems to change but over months and years, circumstances can change dramatically. This is similar to how money can compound over time. Our daily habits can create an upward spiral or a downward spiral.