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My Favourite Books on Creativity for Artists

I don't read as much as I'd like, but when I do, I often read non-fiction. I love reading about the lives of artists, past and present and learning about their creative processes. There is so much more to creativity than the finished masterpieces we see. It is an entire state of mind and a lifestyle, even if you aren't making your living in a creative field. 

I find if fascinating that no matter the style, technique, medium or background, there are so many creative threads that bind creatives together. 

I've put together a list of some of my favourite books about the creative process. All of these books have one thing in common, and that is the reminder that we all have it in us to be creative and live a creative life. You will find no shortage of inspiration in these books to jumpstart your own creative journey. 

Note: I always encourage people to shop local instead of from the big guys. I've linked directly to Local Bookstore Wordsworth Books located in Uptown Waterloo, Ontario. 

 The Artist's Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity by Julia Cameron

This book is a classic and a well known recommendation for artists. I know so many artists (including myself) that swear by her "Morning Pages." It is very prescriptive book and outlines clear steps and projects to take on your path to creativity. 

It is, as it's title suggests, a bit "spiritual" and has a preface encouraging people to not let that get in the way if you aren't that type of person. Regardless, her techniques and methods on creativity are solid and have been go-to's for artists for over 25 years. 

The Creative Habit: Learn it and Use it for Life by Twyla Tharp

I really enjoyed this book and it is a favourite of a few of my artist friends. Her first chapter with the advice, "where is your pencil?" was  a game changer for me. It encouraged me to create a sketch kit that I always carry with me and opened the door to the world of urban sketching.  Twyla herself is an award winning choreographer, but her methods apply to artists of all disciplines. It is well written and full of stories from her own experience. She has another book about collaborative art habits as well. 

Big Magic. Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert

You have probably heard of Gilbert's famous biographical book, "Eat, Pray, Love." Big Magic encourages us to overcome fear and other social and intellectual challenges we face to being creative. It addresses the things holding so many of us back from being more creative, like fear of failure and being afraid to take risks in today's society. It is extremely encouraging and uplifting! 

Creativity by John Cleese

As described, this book was truly "quick and cheerful" read.  As a fan of Monty Python, it was neat to read about creativity from one of the greats of English Comedy. It is not an autobiography, though he includes a few short anecdotes. I'll admit, it wasn't as funny as I might have expected, but it has a lot of simple and sound advice for creatives and gets straight to the point. 

Creative Wildfire  by L.K.Ludwig

 It is always an inspiration to see inside artists journals and catch a glimpse of their creative processes.  This book blends inspiration with practical instruction on creating and keeping your artist journal.  I loved the Interviews from contemporary artists and the tips and inspiration on how to fuel your creativity. If you are a creative working in the visual arts, this is a must read! 

The edition I have was given to me by my friend and amazing local artist and it even includes a free recycled blank journal to get started with. It has been a huge inspiration to start Art journalling myself and free myself artistically in many ways. 

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