25 Books That Help Artists Unleash Creativity

Creativity is a wild mind and a disciplined eye (and a good book list)

Shelf RenewalOK, Dorothy Parker didn’t say the part in parentheses. But she was smart enough to surround herself with interesting people and listen as much as she talked. Everybody’s got something to learn, and creative types are no different.

Mary Karr is on the bestseller list this week with The Art of Memoir, and Elizabeth Gilbert’s new book, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear, offers advice on how to stop wondering and start bringing your ideas to life. For more inspiration, budding or blocked artists may want to reach for some of the following titles.

Big Magic by Elizabeth GilbertArt & Fear: Observations On the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking, by David Bayles and Ted Orland

The Artist’s Way, by Julia Cameron

Bird by Bird, by Anne Lamott

The Book of Doing: Everyday Activities to Unlock Your Creativity and Joy, by Allison Arden and Adam James Turnbull

Coaching the Artist Within: Advice from Writers, Actors, Visual Artists & Musicians from America’s Foremost Creativity Coach, by Eric Maisel

The Creative Habit, by Twyla Tharp

Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration, by Ed Catmull

Damn Good Advice (For People with Talent!): How To Unleash Your Creative Potential by America’s Master Communicator, by George Lois

Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead, by Brene Brown

Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain, by Betty Edwards

The Elements of Style, by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White

Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want to Be, by Paul Arden

On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, by Stephen King

Steal Like an Artist, by Austin Kleon

The Rise: Creativity, the Gift of Failure, and the Search for Mastery, by Sarah Lewis

The War of Art, by Steven Pressfield

Wild Creativity: Igniting Your Passion and Potential in Work, Home and Life, by Tami Lynn Kent

Writers Dreaming: Twenty-Six Writers Talk about Their Dreams and the Creative Process, edited by Naomi Epel

Writing Down the Bones, by Natalie Goldberg

The Writing Life, by Annie Dillard

Zen in the Art of Writing, by Ray Bradbury

Zig Zag: The Surprising Path to Greater Creativity, by Keith Sawyer



About the Author:

Karen Kleckner Keefe is the director of the Hinsdale (IL) Public Library, a Booklist reviewer, and one of Library Journal's 2009 "Movers and Shakers." Follow her on Twitter at @KarenKleckner.

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