Books are portals to new worlds and possibilities. There is no limit to the things we can learn from picking up a good book and absorbing the lessons within. The art world is no different. There are countless books for artists out there that can help you build your art career. However, the 7 books listed below are my personal recommendations for artists who want to take their creative business to the next level.
Building an art career comes with a variety of challenges. There is no one-size-fits-all solution to building your art business, and many artists give up before they get the change to gain momentum.
If you are new to the art profession, I encourage you to seek information and education that will aid you in growing both your craft and your business. Here are 7 amazing books that can help you build your new art career.
This is one of my favorite books of all time. I read it about once a year and it inspires me to keep going with my creative work and not give in to the ever-present resistance.
Steven Pressfield is an iconic writer who paints a vivid picture of what the life of an artist feels like. He truly understands the struggles of living a creative life and puts the challenges involved into a unique perspective.
The War of Art is about 165 pages long and is one of the most influential books I’ve read on art and creativity. If you ever feel the pressure of your creative work bearing down on you, or struggle to produce art on a consistent schedule, Pressfield’s book will help you.
“Creative work is not a selfish act or a bid for attention on the part of the actor. It’s a gift to the world and every being in it. Don’t cheat us of your contribution.”
This book is another great read filled with encouragement and love for creativity. Big Magic is written by Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat Pray Love, and it delves into the romanticism behind creative work and what it really feels like to bring something new to the world.
She talks about the source of inspiration and the courage it takes to commit to a creative life. This is a great book to pick up if you need a creative boost or reminder that the work you are doing is truly worth your time and focus.
“The universe buries strange jewels deep within us all, and then stands back to see if we can find them.”
In Steal Like An Artist, Austin Kleon gives us 10 tips for finding success in an artistic career. This little book is packed full of creative inspiration, suggestions for growing your skills and practical tips for building your career as an artist.
I finished this book in one sitting, but I found so many little gems inside. If you are looking for encouragement and truth about being an artist, check out this book.
“The manifesto is this: Draw the Art you want to see, start the business you want to run, play the music you want to hear, write the books you want to read, build the products you want to use – do the work you want to see done.”
Art Matters is another tiny book of artistic encouragement and inspiration. There are a few pieces of practical advice, but overall it was just a great reminder that what we are doing as artists is important and we need to keep doing it.
I often need this reminder any time imposter syndrome creeps into my office and taps me on the shoulder. Read this book if you need a little shot of encouragement to prod you into getting your creative work done.
“If you’re making mistakes, it means you’re out there doing something.”
Here is where the advice gets real. In his book, Jeff Goins takes on the fallacy that artists are supposed to sacrifice financial stability for their craft.
He lays out the truth about art as an occupation, citing the wealth of historic artists like Michaelangelo. Then he breaks down the process of growing your art career and making a living from your artistic work.
Real Artists don’t Starve offers practical advice for spreading awareness of your brand, and behaving like a professional. It also offers some out-of-the-box ideas about building your art career and making a living from your creativity.
If you want to bring in income from your artistic talent, this book is a must-read.
“At any point in your story, you are free to reimagine the narrative you are living.”
Twyla Tharp is one of the most notable dance choreographers in the United States. Her book The Creative Habit gives effective exercises for creative people who want to enhance their creative abilities and shine in their industry.
She goes through her processes for finding ideas and how to turn an idea into something tangible and real. Tharp encourages artists of every kind to take their craft seriously and to do the work every day to become a master of what you do.
If you struggle with creative block, or are in a rut in your creative practice, pick up this book. It will be a guiding light that brings you back to your creative spirit.
“Creativity is an act of defiance. You are challenging the status quo.”
Art Money Success offers so much insight into the art world!
Maria Brophy has been an art agent for her husband, Drew Brophy, for over 20 years, and she has unique insight into the world of artistic success. In this book, Brophy talks about the business of art and exactly how to take your artistic career and turn it into a lucrative profession.
Brophy suggests treating your art like a small business and learning the business principles that all entrepreneurs need to understand. She breaks down the different avenues you can use to bring in revenue for your art career, and warns about pitfalls along the way.
This is another must-read for any artist hoping to turn their art practice into a full-time career.
“What you choose to do with your time every day is what your life becomes.”
Books are their own form of art and magic. They bring endless insight and instruction into new worlds and perspectives. All we need to do is open them up and absorb the wisdom they contain.
The art profession has some great reads to encourage you in your practice and teach you how to run an art business. These 7 books can help you build your artistic habits and turn your passion into a successful and fulfilling art career.