Thursday, June 16, 2011

Books! And the ones I like!

The other day I got an email from a student asking about books that I use for reference/inspiration when it come to creature design and animals of the sort.  I actually get asked about books a lot so I thought I'd list some of my favorite books here in my blog in case you're interested in what I like to look at and read when it come to creatures.
Here are the books that I own:
Animal Anatomy for Artists: The Elements of Form
I've had this book for years and I turn to it almost daily. It's a very simple guide to bone and muscle structure to most mammalian forms.
The Art of Animal Drawing: Construction, Action Analysis, Caricature
I recently picked this up and I love it! This book is older and the drawings inside are mostly about form and action - drawing animals in motion.
Animals Real and Imagined
By one of my favorite creature artists, Terryl Whitlatch compiles her knowledge into a beautiful book! I've turned to this book for all sorts of anatomy questions. Not to mention its very inspiring to look through!
The Wildlife of Star Wars
Same as above, an inspiring collection of creature designs from the Star Wars movies.
The World of Kong
This book is gorgeous. I kept getting comments on The Morae River about how people were reminded of this book after looking through the project (I was incredibly flattered!) An inspiring collection of creature designs from the recent re-make of King Kong.
This was a gift and I never thought I'd really use it for reference. However, I look through it all the time! Especially for ideas on skin texture and facial expression.
Anatomy for the Artist
Not the traditional creature anatomy book but I love this human anatomy book. The artist handles the body so well and I love the overlays inside. It really helps to see the muscle structure of the animal that is most familiar to us! ;)
Wildlife Fact Files - I got these when I was a kid. I'm not sure if you can still subscribe to them or not. They offer some photos and interesting facts about animals. They aren't extensive but are good for quick reference.
The Encyclopedia of Animals
An amazing book FULL of images and illustrations! This book helps me so much!
The Audubon Field Guides
These are small quick field guides and while they don't offer a huge amount of photo reference they offer behavioral traits which is super important when designing creatures!
Here are also a few books that are on my "To Get" List:
Art Anatomy of Animals
Animal Drawing: Anatomy and Action for Artists
Prehistoric Life
Color and Light
When it comes to referencing animals, I also like to watch Nature Documentaries. Nothing really beats seeing the animal move around in it's natural habitat doing what it does. Here is a quick list of some documentaries that I find particularly helpful and have watched too many times:
Life of Mammals - available on NetFlix Instant Watch
The Blue Planet- available on NetFlix Instant Watch
YellowStone - available on NetFlix Instant Watch
Planet Earth
Life of Birds - available on NetFlix Instant Watch
Human Planet
Of course, going to the zoo and museums helps tremendously! It's something I know I need to do more of too. In any case, I hope this list is informative for those of you who might be interested in creature design and animal illustration. If you know of any books that you like to reference or share, please comment! :)

1 comment:

Realmwright said...

Fantastic! I love knowing what makes people sit up and take notice or ooh and aah. I'm sure the folks at Barnes & Noble hate me because I'll squat on the floor with a stack of reference books like these.....and then make a list to buy on Amazon. It's cool knowing what inspires people who inspire others. Thanks for sharing!
PS I love the Stars Wars critter and cross section books too :)