I often get asked what books I would recommend for learning or improving drawing or painting technique. For me, this is a difficult question to answer because I find peoples' interests and tastes so vast and varied there is no one recommendation I could make to fit all the interests, concerns, and needs that pertain to drawing and painting technique. I do not want people to rush out and buy an art book based on my opinion and find out its not what they are looking for.
To give an example, when I teach landscape painting I will lend my books to my students. Each person will inevitably prefer a different book. They may prefer one over another because of the style of painting, the techniques taught, or the subject being used in that book. Because of this, I have found it best to not recommend a generic list of landscape painting books and try to apply it to everyone.
I do have my favorite books and I am happy to share that as I like to talk about all things art, but I find myself making a different recommendation to my students. I thought I would share that with you today.
There is so much information that is free to us today that there is no need to rush out and buy anything. I think it is important to look at the material to decide if I like the book enough to keep it. I found this especially true when I was starting out. Early on my interests and opinions evolved and changed rapidly. Buying a bunch of books early on just meant I had a stack of books that sat on the shelf. They became like that treadmill I bought but never used.
For these reason I like to borrow and find free books and I do this in two ways.
The first method I use this is the public library. It seems like an obvious option, but I mention this because libraries are becoming more interconnected which makes the selection of books on drawing and painting available from my library much wider. In fact some local libraries are connected to school libraries as well, through mine I can check out books through some colleges that I normally could not access. I think this is great. I will go online and check out books in the library that come from other libraries. They ship it to my local library at no cost to me. Its quick, easy, and free to use.
The other option is I like to search for books online. There are many places to find downloadable books online. If I am looking for information on new mediums to test out, I will search for books with those subjects and download the free ones. I am always surprised and the quality of information that is available.
These options are also nice because I can get many opinions and a wider range of information at the same time. If I buy a book, I get one opinion. If I search online I get as many as I have time to read. I like this as it allows me to weigh information and opinions to decide what I like best.
This is not to say I don't suggest buying the books you like. I like purchasing art books and have a little collection. I just think that you can find plenty of information on drawing or painting without running out and buying it these days.