10 art books I love and why

Zhanna Travkina, Marketing Director at Mondlicht Studios, shares 10 of her favorite art books, from gaming inspiration and advertising greats, to Dreamworks Animation. Find out more…

Zhanna's Dribbble


I love collecting art books and always buy paper books. There is special magic hidden in these printed editions, which makes you a part of the story. It was incredibly hard for me to pick only 10, but I did my best, trying to create an inspiring and diverse list.

Lürzer's Archive

Lürzer's Archive 2d book guide illustration magazine

Founded in the 1980s, Lürzer's Archive is known as a magazine for the advertising industry. But one in two years Lürzer's Archive also publishes "200 best series". You can find "200 best" illustrators, ad photographers and, of course, digital artists. The best thing about this series for me is that it's focusing on advertising. Looking through the book, you realize how cool, interesting, touching, engaging and crazy advertising projects might be. That's an endless source of inspiration and I wish there were more books like this. I'm incredibly proud that several of our projects were selected for the next issue of "200 best digital artists worldwide."

Assassin's Creed series

gaming information book Assassin's Creed series

My highest achievement in gaming is a death-knight gnome in WOW, so I'm not so much into gaming. However, I love collecting art books about specific games. One of my favorite series is "Assassin's Creed." I know that a lot of fans were disappointed by the evolution of the franchise, but you can't argue with the fact that the worlds of "Assassin's Creed" are incredibly fascinating. My favorite book so far is "Assassin's Creed Origins." But let's see what Valhalla will have to offer.

The Movie Art of Syd Mead: Visual Futurist

syd mead art of book illustration sci-fi movies

I'm pretty sure I won't surprise anyone with this choice. Syd Mead is a legend of concept art and it’s so hard to overemphasize his contribution to the industry. This edition is relatively new (2017). It offers a general overview of the most memorable art by Syd Mead, so it's brilliant for those of you who haven't discovered his works yet. Also, it is not only about the images. One may find a lot of stories, notes, and anecdotes about the creation of the most legendary sci-fi movies of all time. I love it when the author gives you a chance to go behind the scenes and discover some exciting details. The story behind an artwork always makes it more engaging.

The Art of DreamWorks Animation

the art of dreamworks 2d illustration book

Over 300 pages filled with beautiful examples of storyboards, character art, concepts and production design made me fall in love with this book the minute I saw it. I can't say that I'm a big fan of animation movies. However, there are those which I truly admire. After all, who can resist the charm of Toothless or cuteness of Madagascar penguins?

I love this book because it allows you to look at the development of DreamWorks through their creations. To me, it's way more interesting to see the evolution of style and techniques of a studio and the industry in general than look at how one specific piece was created.

The Art of Harry Potter

the art of harry potter fantasy book

Call me a child, but I'm still wondering where my letter from Hogwarts is. In "The Art of Harry Potter" one may find a lot of beautiful artworks and stories about the creation of the environment, heroes, and details. Actually, the details are what strikes me the most. Can you imagine that the team thought through the design of mail stamps and even the saucers with the kittens which Dolores Ambridge loved so much? That's insane how much work, love, and patience people put into the creation of this world.

Alien. The Archive

alien the archive  xenamorph sci-fi book

I'm very passionate about the history of the cinema. I can easily spend the whole weekend watching silent black & white movies of the 30th digging into the cultural codes and ideas behind European masterpieces. My love for the movie industry began with the "Alien" franchise. I was always wondering how Ridley Scott could create a movie in 1979 that still looks like a brilliant example of suspense. The book "Alien. The Archive" is filled with beautiful stories about the production, lots of concepts and beautiful artworks by Hans Rudolf Giger.

The Art of Horror Movies: An Illustrated History

the art of horror illustration guide book

Usually, we don't expect much from a horror movie in terms of visual beauty, but this is a fascinating genre with its laws and achievements. One can find a lot of amazing posters from each decade of horror movies, but my personal choice is artworks from the 30s and 40s. Again, I love this book because it allows you to look at the development of the poster design in general. The lavishly illustrated edition will surprise even a movie fan – there are posters I've seen for the first time.

Digital Art Masters

digital art master art book help guide tips inspiration

3dtotal has a wonderful series "Digital Art Masters" – an endless source of inspiration for beginners as well as skilled artists. Unfortunately, a lot of editions are sold out already, but you can look at the latest volumes. I usually use "Digital Art Masters" not only to look at beautiful artworks and get a grasp of inspiration but to find out about new artists I would like to follow. Volume 9 is my favorite one so far. You're lucky if you find a copy to order – all sold out.

The Complete Making of Indiana Jones

indiana jones art book behind the scenes

As you probably noticed, I love books which show you the story behind the industry or series. This book is one of those. I was thrilled when I stumbled at it on Amazon. The book provides a very detailed story of the first four movies (there is a fifth in production, and I'm so afraid it will ruin the whole franchise. Oh, wait, "Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" already did that).

That's one of the best making-of-the-movie books I've read so far. I really loved how much content the author gathered for it: comments, photos, paintings, sketches, parts of the scripts. Reading it, you understand how exciting and daunting it was to make the movie.

Back to the Future: The Ultimate Visual History

back to the future art book illustration guide

As a big fan of the series, I couldn't resist buying the book. If you are not into "Back to the Future" you probably won't love it as much as I do, but if you are, you'll find it precious. Yes, you get the whole package: photos, storyboards, comment and so on. But the best things about the books are Easter eggs (for example, the photo with Marty and his disappearing family) and details about the universe and characters creation (I was so amazed to find out how the design of the sneakers was born).

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