Recommended Non-Art Books

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Recommended Non-Art Books

Postby ubem » Wed Jan 07, 2015 1:08 am

There's a lot of literature I've read over the past year that has helped me develop habits, stay motivated, and give me the general idea of what it takes to master art. Here's just a few books off the top of my head that I Highly Highly recommend if you're into these kinds of woo woo wacky self help stuff.

Talent is Overrated
http://www.amazon.com/Talent-Overrated- ... B001HD8NZ8

Mindset
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/140006 ... HWK55XCGG2

How Children Succeed
http://www.amazon.com/How-Children-Succ ... 4TBST5RS7J

The Talent Code
http://www.amazon.com/The-Talent-Code-G ... 4TBST5RS7J

The Power of Habit
http://www.amazon.com/The-Power-Habit-W ... RFRJQD9Z73

Drive
http://www.amazon.com/Drive-Surprising- ... FRSD83FYPW

The Smartest Kids in the World
http://www.amazon.com/The-Smartest-Kids ... DVVRGC5RJY

Solitude
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/074328 ... HWK55XCGG2

Flow
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/006092 ... HWK55XCGG2

The Willpower Instinct
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/158333 ... HWK55XCGG2

Outliers
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/031601 ... HWK55XCGG2

The Tipping Point
http://www.amazon.com/The-Tipping-Point ... 11XHEBFB7H

Ungifted
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/046502 ... HWK55XCGG2

There's also plenty of art books too, but maybe that's for another post. Hope this helps, please add more I love devouring books!
Also, sooooorrry if this is the wrong forum to post in
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Re: Recommended Non-Art Books

Postby Geebler » Wed Jan 07, 2015 4:08 pm

Hey, thank you for sharing ^^
"Life is a winking light in the darkness." - Hayao Miyazaki
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Re: Recommended Non-Art Books

Postby Hai » Fri Feb 06, 2015 4:26 pm

thanks can you give advice on how to read those books? most of the time i find those kind of books require me to spend 1 or two weeks full-time reading. i would rather spend that time on fucussed art. so if you know how to process the information of the books in an efficient manner, let me know.
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Re: Recommended Non-Art Books

Postby ubem » Sun Feb 08, 2015 10:49 pm

Geebler Anytime, glad I have someplace to share them ^^
Hai Of course! I suppose the most efficient way would be to listen to the audiobook while drawing, which takes about a day or two to finish. Around half of them can be found online. Hope this helps
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Re: Recommended Non-Art Books

Postby Zearthus » Wed Jun 24, 2015 7:38 pm

Art & Fear
The Art Spirit

Some I recently bought, didn't finish them yet, but halfway through Art Spirit (I'm sure will go back to it again and again) too many valuable wisdom.
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Re: Recommended Non-Art Books

Postby Styxcolor » Wed Apr 12, 2017 1:25 pm

Thank you all so much for the recommendations!
I already got me The Art Spirit on my e-book-reader and really have to force me to stop reading at all XD

I would like to add another book to this list:


"Psych" by Judd Biasiotto -

I guess it's primarily aimed at athletes, but it provides exercises for mental strenght and more stress resistance to everybody, even to a (now former) couch potato like me. The book let me give my body another try and start to work out again, nice side effect.
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Re: Recommended Non-Art Books

Postby ubem » Sat May 13, 2017 11:46 am

Great recommendations you guys!

I've found a book that beats all other books combined for improving, can't recommend this highly enough:

Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise
https://www.amazon.com/Peak-Secrets-New ... B011H56MKS
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Re: Recommended Non-Art Books

Postby fiftyeightsqq » Tue May 16, 2017 10:46 pm

For semi-related art books, consider learning about the lives of the artists that one admires.
I've been meaning to read the autobiography of Norman Rockwell in my local library (they still exist lol).
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Re: Recommended Non-Art Books

Postby fiftyeightsqq » Mon Jun 12, 2017 3:52 pm

I finished reading the book so I thought I'd write out some interesting tidbits. It's a nice book which gives a look into the thoughts of a famous illustrator in an era of illustration stretching through two world wars. The edition I borrowed from the library had many nice color prints of illustrations sparsed throughout ~430 pages.
IMG_0599.JPG
IMG_0599.JPG (168.72 KiB) Viewed 219 times

Mr. Rockwell grew up in a modest family background in New York City. While playing with the other kids, drawing was more or less his thing although it was merely considered on the level of how another kid could wiggle their ears. As he grew up, he delved deeply into art to make up for not being as athletic as the other kids. He put in massive amounts of work into his craft and was always striving to improve. He took many jobs to pay for his attendance at the Art Students League where he received a classical art education. He never stopped having frequent doubts about his own work while wondering if he was a third-rate artist. His first marriage was with a woman named Irene but they didn't really have much love for each other and eventually divorced. Later he married a schoolteacher by the name of Mary and they had a happy family with three kids together. Mr. Rockwell was very loyal to the magazine titled Post which was started by Mr. Lorimer who he grew to respect deeply.

Models seemed to be primarily used by illustrators back in the day until photographs came into the picture. There was quite a fair amount of conflicting sentiment among illustrators on the rising usage of photographs which still exists in some form to this day. It seemed that those who refused to adapt were more limited in what they could do and/or began to lose out to the fresh young illustrators who had no qualms about using what they thought to be modern technology. From the start Mr. Rockwell himself didn't like photographs and would always hire his own models for a long time. Eventually he began to feel limited when asked to make some illustrations though and on a suggestion from an art director, he began to use more of them into his paintings with good reason. In his words, "I use on an average of a hundred photographs for a single Post cover. They are guides nothing more." He never quite seemed to feel cleanly justified about it, but challenges if anyone could point out where in his work he started using photographs. He seems to not like 'modern art' much because people would denounce his stuff in the name of it later on. It wasn't specified of which but he did like some modern art. After a visit in France, he tried at least once to incorporate some elements of it in paintings, but stopped pretty quickly if I recall correctly.

Mr. Rockwell talks a fair amount about Mr. Bridgeman being a swell teacher when he was a young student at the Art Students League. All the students in the class were hardcore workers except the loafers. They had some famous models there, one having had worked with John Singer Sargent. One time a newer student, whose father was a Wall Street broker, put a fancy-schmancy frame around his own drawing when it was time to be judged. Upon seeing it Mr. Bridgeman said, "It's piffle, take it away." and the student never came back. Twice a week Mr. Bridgeman walks into class and asks how many students are present. Mr. Rockwell (the monitor at the time) would respond, "Thirty-five, Mr. Bridgeman." and Mr. Bridgeman would say, "Out of the thirty-five maybe two of you will make a success." He always urged his students to work harder with funny anecdotes, was always coming up with construction for anatomy, frequently gave 1-on-1 critique, and etc. Also there's a high chance Mr. Bridgeman never taught class completely sober and it took 3-4 months for Mr. Rockwell to figure this out. What a guy, I'd like to have taken this class and meet the man myself.

Joe C. Leyendecker seems to have been manipulated by an evil Canadian called Beach. Mr. Rockwell painted the character of this Beach as a dumb jealous parasite who eventually isolated Joe from everyone and corrupted the relationship Joe had with his brother Frank and sister Augusta. Before Beach, it is said that Joe and Frank were inseparable. They lived together and did everything together until Beach arrived from Canada. At first Beach became a model for Joe, then did some cleaning, but then gradually started to conduct all business for Joe which made Joe completely dependent on him. That wasn't enough either, this guy kept on scheming to keep other people away and Joe to himself. This included the other siblings who he had become hostile to. Eventually Augusta and Beach got into open fights with one another. Frank was like Joe though and in the time he spent isolated with his brother had become too timid/sensitive to go against Beach like Augusta. In the final fight Augusta had with Beach, she spat in his face and slapped him. Upset and confused, Joe asked Augusta to leave whereupon Frank followed.

Mr. Rockwell helped Frank get a studio next door where he would sleep and occasionally work on paintings to pay living costs. Though every morning Frank would come to visit the studio of Mr. Rockwell. He would sit in a corner, reading a book or watch the shadows move all day. Mr. Rockwell thinks that the loneliness and separation from Joe broke the man. Aside from Augusta, Mr. Rockwell was likely Frank's only friend at that point. Frank would always want to do something to show his gratitude to Mr. Rockwell. One day Frank revealed the one secret recipe for a paint medium that he had devised with Joe that gave their brush strokes a distinct look. Though it would turn out that Mr. Rockwell couldn't use it. He gave his thanks because the recipe meant a great deal to Frank. At that moment, Mr. Rockwell took a glance at Frank and realized that the man was wasting away. Frank had apparently been eating too little and taking a drug. Frank tried to help himself several times and once went together with Mr. Rockwell to see a psychiatrist but nothing helped. Frank kept taking the drug and in the end died. As for Joe who lived to an older age, his work is said to have suffered because of the isolation Beach put him in and stopped getting prestigious work. After Joe's death the Canadian that was left alone died soon after, having taken to drinking liquor bought with money selling Joe's original paintings for cheap.

Overall, Mr. Rockwell is a pretty inspiring guy and one can tell how much passion he felt for art throughout his life. He worked hard to become one of the most well known illustrators of his time. What I've written are only a few snippets into his life from the book. Among many other things I haven't mentioned are all Mr. Rockwell's memories about the models he has painted with. There was always a huge amount of thought process that went into reflecting the idea behind each illustration or bringing out the character from his models. He traveled from time to time looking to add more integrity to his work. Always sketching until his final days.
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