20 Art Books That Inspire

20 Art Books that Inspire


Dear Wonderful, Creative You:

Making art consistently takes dedication AND inspiration. Books frequently light my creative fire. They key to gathering inspiration is not not just read, but to let art books spur you into creative action!

[bctt tweet=”Making art consistently takes dedication AND inspiration. Here’s 20 art books that inspire.”]

Keep your journal by your side. Make some notes. Or some sketches, or both. Stop mid sentence to write down an idea that comes to you or record a quote. Make a list of art project ideas that come to you. Write or draw about what you’d do if you had the same courage that the author does in her art making.

Art and Creativity Books I Love

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A great resource for art journaling ideas!



Natalie Goldberg taught me the power of creative writing exercises.





While this might seem out of place here, it’s so fascinating, and so applicable to developing the habits of making art, it was a must on this list.




Julia Cameron’s inspiring quotes, permission giving, and spiritual approach to art speak directly to my heart.




SARK is one of the reasons I feel so comfortable with myself as an artist. (Maybe also as a person.) She is all about the word YES, unless of course it’s bad for your self-care, then it’s NO. She is a master of unleashing artistic impulse and inviting creativity and novelty to your life. For anyone who struggles with their mood, their past, or their identity as an artist, she is a must read.


This book is the first in a series. It’s one of the books that sparked my interest in art journaling. It’s a series of postcards and letters between two artists, and some pages have actual envelopes with folded letters inside. The images are playful, animal-based, and mystical. It’s one of my favorite books ever.


So much creative wisdom and inspiration in one place!






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O’Keeffe, has always been, and I suspect, always will be, one of my favorite artists. Each time I study her work, I continue to learn how to see.



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This was another formative book in my artistic life from SARK.



On my reading wishlist…

[bctt tweet=”Let family and friends know these books are on your wish list for the holidays! #artbooks”]

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Watch Movies About Art and Artists

Books aren’t your thing? What about some movies about art and artists? These art movies have stayed with me over the years. What’s on your list?

(The links in this post are affiliate links. If you decide to click on it and purchase something, I’ll receive a small commission. I only link to things I love!)

What Art Books Inspire You?

Drop into the comments and let us know what titles you most adore. Which art books inspire you? Who’s work really sets you on fire? Makes you NEED to create? We want to know!

Get creating with these simple drawing techniques, a DIY adult coloring book, my e-book Starting Your Art Journal, or a trove of ideas from some of the artists I admire most.

You can connect here, on Instagram or Twitter @amymaricle, and on our private Facebook group, Creative Self-Care. Also, if you haven’t already, be sure to get on the mailing list to get all the latest on creative self-care and tons of free artsy resources, right in your mailbox. You’ll also get the free Guide to Creative Self-Care, just sign up here.


Creatively Yours,



  1. Tayla

    Many of these are on my list to read as well! I actually own “Brave, Intuitive Painting” and just ordered “Big Magic” last week…

    I’m also in the process of reading “Flow” but haven’t finished yet. SO MUCH HELPFUL INFORMATION IN ONE BOOK! I find myself reading slowly because I’m writing down every other thing he says…

    I started out the year with a 52 book reading goal… which, I’m about 12 books behind. But I’ve still came across many new favorites of what I have read! “The Art of Asking” by Amanda Palmer really touched based with me about being true to yourself and “your calling”. I would definitely recommend it!

    • Amy Johnson Maricle

      HI Tayla:

      WOW – 52 books this year! That is quite a goal! Maybe I’ll take a note from your book and ask for a few of these for Christmas proactively! Flow has been on my list for ages. Your words are going to make it first on my wish list too. The Art of Asking – I’ll have to check it out. Thank you so much for the contribution to this list. I love it!


  2. Annie

    Just finished “The War of Art” with my dialogue group.

    • Amy Johnson Maricle


      Welcome to Mindful Art Studio! What a wonderful addition to the list. I was not aware of this book and am so grateful to know of it. Finding new ways of confronting our art fears is always needed. Thank you so much.


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