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Resources > Books

Books

This page includes links to book resources, both larger repositories of eBooks but also some of my favorite eBook resources for art or design.

If you are looking for a list of my favorite fiction books, see Favorite Books.

eBook Repositories

The Internet Archive The Internet Archive is such a wonderful resource. It is a non-profit company which digitises book resources, on every subject. Once you make an account you can borrow books from their library. I've found many useful public domain historical resources here in addition to books I wouldn't be able to find in the public library. It is so useful I will be include some resources by topic below.

Project Gutenberg This site compiles public domain eBooks to read. Like the Internet Archive it includes some resources not available in your public library.

OverDrive Connect your local library and access their eBook, audiobook, and other resources. There is a mobile phone app so you can read eBooks on your phone, though there is also a more recent app called Libby which can also be used

Google Books I have found Google Books invaluable for finding image references for design assignments, especially if we are asked to look up advertisements in magazines. It has digitized a lot (not all) magazines back multiple decades so if you are looking for some 70s, 80s, or 90s magazines to read Google Books probably has something for you.

The Queensland State Library Located in Brisbane, Queensland, if you are a local resident you can make a free account to get free access to LinkedIn Learning tutorials, but also you can freely access the library and the eBook resources available. If you have a chance to check out the library in person I would strongly recommend it. I didn't go until a teacher told me about the art resources there but they have huge volumes about art and design on level 3, and typography on level 2. Plus they have a huge magazine collection. If you are in another country or state, check to see if your local state library has something similar!

Archive of Our Own A non-profit and non-commercial archive for transformative works, fanart, and fanfiction. So this example is not like the others but I include it because I use it a lot to read fanfiction. Once you've searched the terms you want, unless you are a seasoned veteran I would suggest filtering by Kudos which will mean the most popular works are suggested first. You can download the fanfiction as eBooks to read on your preferred device.

BookLive A Japanese eBook site, but you can find some eManga here not on other sites (although they are in Japanese), I've bought a few for visual reference as they weren't legally available in English. You may want a translator plug in to browse. These are not free but they are pretty affordable as far as eBooks go.

Audiobook Repositories

Librivox Volunteers create audiobooks of public domain works which are free to download and listen to. I have included links to a few specific ones below.

Art and Design

Manga: Artbooks and Art Collection Despite the name, this repository includes non-anime themed artbooks as well, though it includes plenty of artbooks for anime, manga, and video games. A gold mine, especially really niche or retro anime or games.

Color and Light by James Gurney Although I am linking the eBook resource which probably is a copyright violation, I actually own a physical copy of this book. James Gurney hosts a wonderful blog and his YouTube videos are really relaxing. This book made me aware of some aspects of light and colour I was not aware of prior to reading it, like reflected light and how a lot of reflected light outdoors is blue because of the sky.

Figure Drawing: Design and Invention by Michael Hampton This is a case of me using this eBook version so much that I ended up purchasing a physical copy. It helped me learn anatomy because I find it really simplifies the shapes into basic volumes like cubes. Drawing the hips and torso as a rectangular volume really helped me improve my drawings and I still am learning from this book years later. It is not the most anatomically correct but if you are struggling to get started with learning anatomy I highly recommend it.

How to Draw by Scott Robertson and Thomas Bertling Like Color and Light, this book is one I physically own. I even asked the vendor at one stage if the book was legally available as an eBook, but it isn't. This is one of the major limitations of many artbooks I find. Anyway, How To Draw taught me how to wrap my brain around perspective and get started drawing environments. I highly recommend this book, it's huge. I still refer to it often and one day I will muster the courage to follow their instructions to draw a car in perspective.

How to Render by Scott Robertson and Thomas Bertling I own a physical copy of this one too. It expands on the content in the first book by focusing on drawing more complex volumes in perspective, complex lighting situations, and drawing textures/rendering volumes so they look three-dimensional and convincing. Like How to Draw, this is a large book but information dense.

Perspective for Comic Book Artists by David Chelsea This perspective book is much more about narrative storytelling done in comics, and includes perspectives for both Western and Japanese comics. It is presented like a comic itself, so it is fun to read.

Figure Drawing for All It's Worth by Andrew Loomis If you need help learning how to draw figures then this book will help. It helped me learn the proportions of the human body and some basic perspective.

Reference Artbooks

I found these through the Manga Artbook collection above but there are many more. I am just including a few rare (and old) favorites.

Santa Lilio Sangre - Ayami Kojima Artworks Art Book Ayami Kojima is the artist behind the Castlevania series but her artbooks are notoriously rare to the extent where a physical copy of this is worth over $1000 last I checked, so I have no problems sharing an eBook version. It features high quality scans of her mixed-media illustrations, many of them with a gothic horror and body horror theme. I highly recommend it.

Daicon Films III & IV Art Works The Daicon Opening animations (see the 7-minute animation on Youtube) was the precursor to Studio Gainax which produced anime like Neon Genesis Evangelion. Due to the use of copyright infringement in their animation and choice of music (Electric Light Orchestra) they could never formally release this animation. The artbook shows some of the designs they used, and generally, I would just recommend watching the animation anyway because it's full of energy, great animation, and enthusiasm.

Audiobooks

To avoid digging the copyright hole any deeper I will include audiobooks in the public domain here.

Thoughts On Art and Life by Leonardo da Vinci Exerpts from Leonardo da Vinci's diary on art and life, essentially. I found it interesting because back then art, religion, and science tended to merged together instead of mostly separate like they are in culture today. I think this perspective is very rich, and it is interesting to hear Leonardo's thoughts on art and why he chose specific mediums to work in.

Other Resources

If you want more art and design links check out Art Resources.