10 Illustration and Design Books

Long Live Print

Long Live Print

Welcome to number four in my series of book recommendations for art & design fans. Who says print is dead!? Call me ignorant, but no ipad is going replace the experience of looking through a beautifully designed book. Just take a look at this list of titles, hold your hands out in front of you and ask yourself, book or ipad, book or ipad?

“Please remember that books are vital and necessary. Physical documentation is what I do for a living and books are an extension of that. Dating back to cave paintings, people have always needed something tangible. You need more than just the internet to look at art.” – Emek.

Emek – The Thinking Man’s Poster Artist – Emek

One of the top names in today’s crop of American poster artists, Emek is best known for his run of Queens of the Stone Age posters (as part of PNE) and poster/sculpture cross over work for The Flamming Lips and The Thievery Corporation. This books offer a huge collection work reveling the process of their creation and background on Emek’s artistic upbringing.

Figure Drawing For All It’s Worth – By Andrew Loomis

We all owe Titan Books a debt of gratitude. We, the next generation of illustrators now have access to what’s considered one the greatest art instruction books out there. A second-hand copy of this would have previously cost you in the hundreds of pounds, if you were lucky enough to find one. Directly referenced to by masters such as Dave Stevens and Alex Ross, this ia a book that takes the business of illustration seriously and aims to teach you the skills needed to successfully put clear ideas on paper, and as such win clients. Granted, this is a book coming from the 1940’s, a period when illustration was in much (much) greater demand, but it doesn’t patronize, talks to you in business terms and makes for essential reading for anyone who takes themselves seriously as an illustrator.

The next in the series ‘Drawing the Head and Hands’ is due out in October. Here’s hoping they release ‘Creative Illustration’ and ‘Fun with a Pencil’ too.

The Art of Jamie Hernadez – By Todd Hignite

I’m a late comer to the world of Love & Rockets, something I’m trying to fix, starting with this impressive bio on the series creator Jamie Hernandez. His masterful, economical line-work, sense of design and human characters make for addictive viewing, and there’s lots on offer here. Containing full stories and previously unreleased work this makes for a good introduction in the world of Hernandez.

Masters Of Fashion Illustration – By David Downton

Although i’ve known the excellent work David Downton for some time I wouldn’t consider myself particularly knowledgeable on the larger world of fashion illustration. This book goes some way to remedy this by offering an overview of the masters from the early 1900’s to today. A fine selection of images are on show along with a short bio on each artist with highlights including Bob Peak, Giovanni Boldini, J.C Leyendecker, Andy Warhol, Tony Viramontes and Downton himself. Oddly though, only a brief mention is given to Rene Gruau which seems like a strange omission. An excellent reference title nonetheless.

Rough Justice – The DC Comics sketches of Alex Ross – By Chip Kid

I’m a long time fan of Alex Ross, his work has a comforting and optimistic feel to that harks back to golden age comics. I don’t think it would be inaccurate to describe it as the kind of work Norman Rockwell would do if he ever worked in comics. This next team up with Chip Kid offers us a look at his sketches and working drawings along with commentary from Alex Ross himself.

Genius Isolated – The Life and Art of Alex Toth – By Dean Mullaney & Bruce Canwell

One of the most influential artists in comics, referenced as the starting point for modern design and composition in the 1950’s and later working for Hanna Barbera in the 60’s, Alex Toth’s work is still admired by illustrators today. This first volume in a three book set  starts the epic tale of what appears to be an insular and troubled artist. There’s no denying that the work is of the highest standard and lovingly reproduced here from scans of the original artwork.

Icons – The DC Comics and Wildstorm art of Jim Lee – By Bill Baker

Containing the work of one the most prolific artists in comics, this huge coffee table book offers a dazzling amount of work featuring favorites such as Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman. The book’s 300 pages offer a look at his creative process with storyboards, sketches and a running commentary throughout, giving insight into the business end of comics.

Archie – A Celebration of America’s Favorite Teenagers – Craig Yoe

I’ll admit to being a bit of a late-comer to the world of Archie, but after seeing some of the original artwork on show at MoCCA in New York i’ve been waiting for a book like this to be released. Most of all I wanted find out more about the artist Harry Lucey who’s stunning ink and brush work blew me away. Other greats like Bob Montana and Dan DeCarlo are covered along with the new generation of Archie artists. An excellent introduction to the lovable, clean-cut world of Archie.

The Hanna – Barbera Treasury – By Jerry Beck

I’m going to say it. I know it makes me sound like an old fart, but who cares. They don’t make cartoons like they used to. My supporting evidence would be this, one book of delights from the Hanna – Barbera animation studios. Tom & Jerry, Huckleberry Hound, Yogi Bear, The Flintstones, Top Cat, The Jetsons, Jonny Quest, Space Ghost, Wacky Races, Scooby-Doo, need i go on? An excellent book packed full of artwork, original designs and lots of little pull out extras.

The Big Fat One – By Coop

What more needs to be said about this than 1000 plus pages of collected sketchbooks from one of the best artists working in gig posters (and more I should add) today. This is getting harder to pick up but there are still second-hand copies out there so get yours while you still can!

I hope you enjoyed looking through these books, there are more to discover here:
Part One
Part Two
Part Three 

Long live print!


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