Books to Inspire Creativity from Perpich Library
January 23, 2024
It’s the time of year when energy levels are often at their lowest and creativity can be a struggle. The Perpich library team came up with a list of books to help you get your mojo back! These books can help you understand what creativity is and how you can use this knowledge to tap into your own artistic inspiration.
All items on this list are available at the Perpich library. Click on titles for more information.
1. Animation Sketchbooks by Laura Heit
Fifty of the leading contemporary talents working in independent animation offer a glimpse into their private sketchbooks. During the conceptual stages of their projects, these groundbreaking and award-winning artists employ a variety of mediums to exercise their creativity, including pencil, paint, collage, puppetry, and photography. Each artist shares a selection of their craft along with personal insights into their influences and the artistic processes behind their unique sketches, character studies, storyboards, and doodles. (Author is a Perpich alum, Class of 1992)
2. The Art of Noticing: 131 Ways to Spark Creativity, Find Inspiration, and Discover Joy in the Everyday by Rob Walker
Long-time workplace advice columnist for The New York Times, Rob Walker, drawing from his annual School for Visual Arts course and from interviews he conducted with men and women from a wide range of disciplines, has designed 131 exercises and meditations to encourage and guide us in rediscovering joy and creativity in our lives.
3. Catching the Big Fish: Meditation, Consciousness, and Creativity by David Lynch
The acclaimed filmmaker David Lynch provides a rare window into his methods as an artist, his way of capturing and working with ideas, and the immense creative benefits he has experienced from the practice of meditation. Catching the Big Fish comes as a revelation to those who have longed to better understand Lynch’s personal vision. And it is equally compelling to any who wonder how they can nurture their own creativity.
4. The Creative Act: A Way of Being by Rick Rubin
Many famed music producers are known for a particular sound that has its day. Rick Rubin is known for something else: creating a space where artists of all different genres and traditions can home in on who they really are and what they really offer.
The Creative Act is a beautiful and generous course of study that illuminates the path of the artist as a road we all can follow. It distills the wisdom gleaned from a lifetime’s work into a luminous reading experience that puts the power to create moments—and lifetimes—of exhilaration and transcendence within closer reach for all of us.
5. Drawing Autism by Jill Mullin
Using artwork created by individuals diagnosed with ASD, Drawing Autism celebrates their artistry and self-expression while also serving as an accessible point of entry into understanding how ASD manifests in individuals. Autism is known as a ‘spectrum disorder’ because no two diagnoses are exactly the same; however, there are characteristic traits of ASD. Through their art, the contributors exhibit unique perspectives on how they see the world and their places in it.
6. Find Your Artistic Voice: The Essential Guide to Working Your Creative Magic by Lisa Congdon
Find Your Artistic Voice helps artists and creatives identify and nurture their own visual identity. This one-of-a-kind book helps artists navigate the influence of creators they admire, while simultaneously appreciating the value of their personal journey. Features down-to-earth and encouraging advice from Congdon herself, filled with interviews with established artists, illustrators, and creatives, and answers the question “how do I develop a unique artistic style?”
7. Letters to a Young Artist: Straight-up Advice on Making a Life in the Arts-For Actors, Performers, Writers, and Artists of Every Kind by Anna Deavere Smith
Actor and playwright Anna Deavere Smith’s brass-tacks advice to aspiring artists of all stripes. In vividly anecdotal letters to the young BZ, she addresses the full spectrum of issues that people starting out will face: from questions of confidence, discipline, and self-esteem, to fame, failure, and fear, to staying healthy, presenting yourself effectively, building a diverse social and professional network, and using your art to promote social change. At once inspiring and no-nonsense, Letters to a Young Artist will challenge you, motivate you, and set you on a course to pursue your art without compromise.
8. Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative by Austin Kleon
A guide to creativity in the digital age, this book presents ten transformative principles to help readers discover their artistic side and build a more creative life. Offers advice and encouragement to help readers foster creativity and be artistically productive in a wide variety of endeavors.
9. What It Is by Lynda Barry
How do objects summon memories? What do real images feel like? For decades, these types of questions have permeated the pages of Lynda Barry’s compositions, with words attracting pictures and conjuring places through a pen that first and foremost keeps on moving. What It Is demonstrates a tried-and-true creative method that is playful, powerful, and accessible to anyone with an inquisitive wish to write or to remember. Composed of completely new material, each page of Barry’s first Drawn & Quarterly book is a full-color collage that is not only a gentle guide to this process but an invigorating example of exactly what it is: “The ordinary is extraordinary.”
10. Wired to Create: Unraveling the Mysteries of the Creative Mind by Scott Barry Kaufman and Carolyn Gregoire
Is it possible to make sense of something as elusive as creativity? Based on psychologist Scott Barry Kaufman’s groundbreaking research and Carolyn Gregoire’s popular article in the Huffington Post, Wired to Create offers a glimpse inside the “messy minds” of highly creative people. Revealing the latest findings in neuroscience and psychology, along with engaging examples of artists and innovators throughout history, the book shines a light on the practices and habits of mind that promote creative thinking. Kaufman and Gregoire untangle a series of paradoxes– like mindfulness and daydreaming, seriousness and play, openness and sensitivity, and solitude and collaboration – to show that it is by embracing our own contradictions that we are able to tap into our deepest creativity.
All items on this list are available at the Perpich Library.