I bought many books over the last decade, and I wanted to share a small list of my top 5. Those books are not directly about "digital painting", but they learn the core.
Note: 'Reading' a guide will not increase your skill. You'll need to study, copy examples, and draw a lot to 'get it'. Studying a good book can take months... or years!
1. Figure Drawing: Design and Invention
by Michael Hampton, 240 pages
This one I discovered last year. Before this one, I learned mostly with the anatomies methods of George Bridgman, and Burne Hogarth ( I have all their books ). But training with this book made the real impact on my skill ; really clean geometric break-down, simple explanations of every parts. Link : http://amzn.com/0615272819
2. The Artist's Complete Guide to Facial Expression
by Gary Faigin, 288 pages
I appreciate this large book about facial expression mostly for the first part ; a complete guide for the anatomy of the face, with really interesting comments and tips to build the main features. Main part of the book about the expression is complex and really goes deep. For sure, I still only scratched the surface of studying this one properly. Link : http://amzn.com/0823004325
3. Color and Light: A Guide for the Realist Painter
by James Gurney, 224 pages
All or almost about color theory, in details, and also about shading. The reference about 2D rendering in my opinion. A book made for traditional painter, but easily understood by digital painter. Link : http://amzn.com/0740797719
4. Framed Ink: Drawing and Composition for Visual Storytellers
by Marcos Mateu-Mestre, 128 pages
A guide about image composition, but also about how to play with the eyes of your audience to tell your story. All in black and white, with a 'speed' style , the author draw a lot of examples and attract eyes on a wide variety of effect. A must have if you practise storyboarding, storytelling or comics. Link : http://amzn.com/1933492953
5. Atlas of Animal Anatomy for Artists
by W. Ellenberger, H. BAUM, H. DITTRICH, 151 pages
Not really a guide, or tutorial; but pages of raw black and white fine drawing of animal's anatomies. Horse, cat, dog, goats, etc...etc... most popular species are gathered on this thin book. Rich view angle ( front, side etc...) and often muscular view, and bone view. A very good reference if you have to illustrate horses ( like on my 12 books of "Le Club des chevaux magiques" ) or if you like to do creature design in general and need to know how some part of them 'work'. Link : http://amzn.com/0486200825
And you , what's your favorite art book ?
Feel free to share the title+author on the comments and discuss about it.
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