Top 10 Art Books For 2020

Library of art books.

Number 10:

The Louvre: All the Paintings, by Vincent Pomarede, Erich Lessing

More than 700 pages of full-color paintings in this book. There is nothing more important in an artist’s education to an artist than looking at other peoples’ artwork. 

When reading any book, think about, why is this art important? Why are those picture honored over others in that time period, and why are they celebrated now?

Number 9.

Pop Painting: Inspiration and Techniques from the Pop Surrealism Art Phenomenon by Camilla d’Errico

This book is a gorgeously illustrated how-to art instruction and introduction to the underground movement of Pop Surrealism.

Number 8 and 7.

Jame Gurney is one of my favorite artists. He is also a fantastic teacher. He has two books I’d like to introduce you to. These books are considered volumes 1 and 2, although you can choose your favorite of the two and you will not be disappointed.

Imaginative Realism, vol. 1 by James Gurney. Even if this is not your style of art, this book is so beautiful and inspiring to read.

Color and Light: A Guide for the Realist Painter by James Gurney. The book itself is a work of art.

Number 6.

Welcome to My Studio: Adventures in Oil Painting With Helen Van Wyk

Now, this book is a tongue in cheek for me. Helen Van Wyk was a television painter. Television painters are rarely respected, i.e. Bob Ross. However, with that said, most of the teachers use this book secretly. Sadly, after hundreds of dollars of schooling, I got to the crux of the matter, and lo’ and behold, Welcome to My Studio was the educators’ lesson plan of choice. Basically, buy it and save yourself hundreds of dollars from an art instructor.

Number 5.

Zoltan Szabo’s Color-By-Color Guide to Watercolor

Zoltan Szabo is one of the most famous watercolorists today. Luckily, he is also an excellent art instructor.

Number 4.

The Art of Gouache: An Inspiring and Practical Guide to Painting with This Exciting Medium by Jeremy Ford

There are very few books about gouache. This book has a five-star rating for good reason. This is the beginners guide to gouache.

Number 3.

Acrylic Painting Mediums and Methods: A Contemporary Guide to Materials, Techniques, and Applications by Rheni Tauchid

Acrylics is the medium of the new painting masters. Acrylics are here to stay, and demand respect. This book provides the necessary information needed to get into the medium.

The final two books are absolutely necessary for any artist’s library.

Number 2.

Painter’s Handbook: Revised and Expanded by Mark David Gottsegen

This book is almost complementary to my number one choice below. You need them both, if you truly care about understanding art materials.

Number 1.

The Artist’s Handbook of Materials and Techniques: Fifth Edition, Revised and Updated by Ralph Mayer

This book, hands down is one of the most important art books you need in your library. The techniques are covered in any type of artistic style from colored pencils to oil paintings, yes even old school techniques and materials including the oil of spike medium.