New Artist Books to Explore

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New Art Books to Explore

art books on a shelf in an artist's studio

I found some new Artist books to explore, so I listed them with links below. I dearly love the art-related books on my shelves, and the inspiration they offer, so I enjoy discovering and sharing new books related to art and artists.

If you’ve recently added new books to your artist’s library, please leave their titles in the comments section of this post! Books are often promoted regionally, so we might all be looking at vastly different titles. Let’s share what we’ve found.

Graphite in a sketchbook – from a snapshot of a sweet afternoon having a beer on a boat

Making a Living as an Artist

Artpreneur by Miriam Schulman (Available here)

No matter what kind of creative artist you are – a musician, photographer, painter, writer, dancer, singer, or any other medium with aspirations of making a living from your art, this is the perfect time to turn your creative ideas into a successful art business.

Anyone with a laptop and a plan can make a thriving living – or a supplemental side-hustle – from their creativity. This is the definitive sales and marketing artist handbook and a valuable art business reference for selling your art. (Here is a post I wrote about making a living as a beginner artist, and it’s still the advice I wish I could give to my younger self.)

Each page of this book provides the inspiration and practical steps to build a personal brand, overcome starving artist syndrome, and make consistent sales from art. Artpreneur describes methods and tools to design a confident mindset, take charge of your destiny, and create a clear path to success.

Miriam Schulman, the host of the irreverent Inspiration Place podcast, breaks down the five core elements in the “Passion to Profit” planning framework to help develop your art business in a structured, time managed way.

Step-by-Step Watercolor Painting

Discovering Watercolor by Jennifer Lefevre (Available here)

Paintings made with watercolors are breathtakingly beautiful, but the medium can be difficult to master. Discovering Watercolor walks you gently through watercolor techniques with 32 lessons, starting with practical advice to take your first steps in the medium and then progress in your practice. (If you’re having a hard time getting started, I’ve listed ideas for how you can talk yourself into painting more often here.)

Everything from choosing your equipment (including brushes, paints, paper, and masking), to finding palette ideas, creating a flower garden, and adding realism, is in this guide. The author features more than 30 watercolor projects that slowly advance in difficulty and cover a wide range of subjects and techniques. You’ll create a watercolor value study, and then learn to use the wet-on-wet technique for a landscape, and continue to progress towards painting a bird and finding your own style.

You’ll find exercises to help you understand color and create patterns, plus make floral compositions, nature landscapes, and realistic portraits. Discovering Watercolor provides step-by-step instructions to guide you through each challenge so you can grow in confidence while you discover your own personal style.

Experimenting: a layer of clear gesso over the graphite to prep for adding watercolor pigments

Painting Wildflowers in Watercolor

Wildflower Watercolor by Sushma Hegde (Available here)

Immerse yourself in the world of watercolor with Sushma Hegde’s array of stunning, simple botanicals. Wildflower Watercolor is a comprehensive guide for beginner painters to learn how to create perfect floral masterpieces. With easy-to-follow instructions and step-by-step illustrations, Sushma guides you towards successful floral watercolor painting. 

Her book includes everything you need to get started, including how to mix colors and create striking new shades, and how to make various types of brushstrokes. With over 30 projects to choose from―wild herbs such as lavender and chamomile and gorgeous flowers such as poppies, buttercups and forget-me-nots― you can begin practicing from your own garden, or grocery store herbs and flowers in a cup. 

Watercolor glazing on top of clear gesso. The sketchbook isn’t made for wet media, so there are lots of ripples emerging in the paper.

Inspiring and Simple Linocut Prints

Linocut by Sam Marshall (Available here)

A linocut is a relief print created by carving a design into a linoleum block, inking the carved surface, and then printing the still-wet ink to paper. The uncut block surface, not the carved away areas – hold ink and transfer those shapes to paper when you apply pressure between the two surfaces to produce a print. (See this post about beginning linocut print design ideas.)

With 18 easy-to-follow projects that can be adapted to suit your own ideas, experienced printmaker Sam Marshall guides you through the whole process – from the drawing to carving and then inking and printing. You’ll create your own beautiful prints and handmade cards whether you are working from your kitchen table or a more advanced studio set-up. 

By taking inspiration from everyday life, Sam helps you build confidence with observational drawing. Featuring step-by-step projects, the book demonstrates a range of skills with low-cost materials to produce simple linocuts, reduction linocuts and colourful multi-block prints. You’ll also learn more experimental techniques such as combining monoprint, chine collé, jigsaw linocuts and rainbow rolls. You’ll also pick up handy tips on subjects such as ‘noise’ and editioning your prints. 

Beautifully illustrated with photographs of Sam’s own drawings and linocuts, and featuring the work of 5 additional talented printmakers, Linocut is an essential guide to linocut printmaking. Packed with creative and practical advice to guide and encourage you, whether you’re just starting out, returning to the craft or looking to expand your printmaking skills.

Rippled sketchbook paper under graphite, clear gesso and watercolor. A fun experiment with a sketch and a watercolor study based on a sweet memory.

Experiments with Painted Lettering

Pretty Simple Lettering by Whitney Farnsworth (Available here)

As a sloppy experimentation affictionado, I can appreciate the precision of good lettering. It also terrifies me, and I’ve always thought it would be overwhelming to start learning lettering. Whitney’s detailed guides and step-by-step instructions walk you through the process so you’re not winging it all alone. Making mistakes is part of every creative process, but with practice and consistency, your lettering will improve. It’s all about enjoying the journey! (Read this five round up series on overcoming Being a Beginner Artist.)

A lettering workbook should not only be instructive but also aesthetically pleasing, and Pretty Simple Lettering is just that – with a premium hardcover and a stylish gold spiral binding. Not only does it make for a great gift, but it also allows the book to lay flat, providing you with the utmost convenience while practicing.

Whitney’s years of experience as a professional graphic designer and calligrapher are evident in this book. Her knowledge and insights incorporate her best tips and tricks to bring your lettering skills up a few notches, so you can create stunning pieces of art.

The book includes seven unique lettering styles and ten individual alphabets, including cursive, handwriting, and block lettering. You’ll have a chance to experiment with different styles and find your own voice in the lettering world. 

Scrap fabric cut into randmomshapes, and sashiko-style stitching on the couch

Painting with Fabric and Color

Contemporary Patchwork by Arounna Khounnoraj (Available here)

And speaking of being a beginner, join me as I tiptoe into the colorful world of contemporary patchwork sewing! I’m attempting to learn embroidery, sashiko stitching, and small project handwork.

Much like being guided through color and shape ideas in a painting book, I’m currently enthralled by these compelling design techniques with fabrics and beautiful handmade projects from textile artist Arounna Khounnoraj, co-owner of Bookhou. Arounna’s approach to patchwork, quilting, and appliqué stands out from traditional methods, making this book an incredible resource for building a foundation in textile design and expanding into unique improvisational patchwork – especially if you want to work with your hands. On the couch. With a cup of tea, and your feet up.

Get inspired by your environment and learn elements of color theory before jumping into several fabric surface design techniques. Decorate your project with stitches and explore various appliqué techniques to make your patchwork projects pop. (I follow Arounna on Instagram, and I looooove her video tutorial snippets.)

Arounna’s book includes ten beautiful projects that combine a variety of sewing and appliqué techniques and range from small quilts to bags and pouches. Here is a video tour of her book, and some of the projects she outlines in it.

The possibilities of surface design techniques, including natural dyeing, block printing with household objects and backyard findings are so similar to painting and printmaking, I’m swooning.

Playing with colored thread, sashiko switches, and a scrap fabric palette to make a small, rustic storage pouch to carry pencils on sketching hikes.
Study for Treble Clef, pencil, and watercolor on Fabriano 90lb cold press paper (Available here)

Print Exhibit in Austin, Texas

I’m delighted that my combination linocut and drypoint print “Headquarters” (below) was recently exhibited and sold at the Print Austin 2024 Contemporary Print Show. This sort of good news helps to balance all the reject letters. 🙂

I hope you’re doing well, and dabbling often with art supplies and new project ideas. Creativity can wax and wane with the moon, so I wish you conviction and fortitude to grab on and hold tight when inspiration swings into your orbit.

Thanks for your visit, and I’ll see you in the next post –


P.S. If you’re new to Sashiko stitching, this video is a great introduction and demo, with wise, gently delivered advice that also applies to other Creativity Projects.

Art Quote

In many ways, the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little, yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgment. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read. But the bitter truth we critics must face is that in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is more meaningful than our criticism designating it so. But there are times when a critic truly risks something, and that is in the discovery and defense of the new. The world is often unkind to new talent, new creations. The new needs friends …. In the past I have made no secret of my disdain for Chef Gusteau’s famous motto ‘Anyone can cook.’ But I realize only now do I truly understand what he meant. Not everyone can become a great artist, but a great artist can come from anywhere.

Anton Ego, Food Critic Character in Ratatouille (2007)
Stitch practice on all sorts of old clothes.

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14 thoughts on “New Artist Books to Explore”

  1. Thank you for the recommendations! Contemporary Patchwork has been on my list for awhile now. Another contemporary quilter I enjoy is Rebekah Johnston (rebekah_handmade on Instagram). Discovering Watercolor is on my list now too. Thanks!

    1. Hi Darlene! Thanks so much for telling me about Rebekah! I wasn’t familiar with her work, but I just found and followed her on Instagram. Beautiful fabrics, colors and stitching! Yayyy! I hope you have fun when you get Contemporary Patchwork and Discovering WC too!

  2. Thanks for sharing these. Book posts are one of my favourite things, thought they should be titled “Let me lead you into temptation…”.

    Thames and Hudson Australia publish books in Australian art that sometimes rejacketed under another title without the Australia in it for USA/UK so you might not give it a look as it seems too general. The abstract, still life, and landscape artists of Aus are great books I think. A bit like Instagram in print format.

    1. Hi Marion, That’s so interesting. I notice that my search results for imagery is wildly different, depending on the region I’m in when I submit the inquiry, so this makes perfect sense. The internet is truly a global playground, but it works best with a bit of strategy, eh? Thanks for that tip!

    1. Hi Amy, Great choice! I think Lisa Congdon has opened a portal to creativity for hundreds and hundreds of I-wish-I-was-an-Artist folks, and she’s a wildly popular workshop instructor too. I have her book Art, Inc. Building Your career as an Artist ( ) so I’ll add your suggestion to my collection. Thank you!

  3. Ah, more books I want to read!! And I’m already way behind on my reading list. Thank you for this list. I’ll be looking for a few of these. Congratulations on your sale at the Austin exhibit.

    1. Hi Becka – Thanks for the camaraderie on being way behind on your reading list. I don’t recall a time when I wasn’t behind, because there is So Much! Lucky us, eh? Thanks for your congrats on the same of my print. I’m super grinny about it. Thanks for stopping by.

  4. Belinda,

    I know that much in Your life has changed in the past few years and Aida and I only hope that You and Your Family are well. We want to let You know how much You are missed!

    1. Hi Roy,Thank you for the understanding and for relating, as your life has changed in ways over the past few years too. I appreciate your kindness, and encouragement. We are still adjusting to her absence, but accepting the new normal as best we can. Hello to Aida, and please hug each other from me. XOXO

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