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10 books to improve your artworks

COVID-19 is still affecting our lives, but instead of watching Netflix, we suggest you try a new role and become a bookworm for a couple of evenings. Mondlicht Studios CEO and CGI artist Dmitriy Glazyrin shares 10 top books which helped during his career. Sure to be something worthy in the list for yourself!

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Cinematic Storytelling: The 100 Most Powerful Film Conventions Every Filmmaker Must Know, Jennifer Van Sijll

This comprehensive guide will pass you through the science of creating artworks which can make viewers feel a certain way. The tips in the books are mostly connected with cinematography but can be used in any other industry of visual art.

The best thing about the book is real examples – after reading about the most significant tips from directors, you'll start to notice more interesting details in every movie you watch. In 17 main chapters and 100 techniques, you'll find out what methods helped the directors of "Pulp Fiction" and "Psycho" to craft the right atmosphere in their movies. The book can be too simple for those who are working in the industry, but for any beginner it's an eye-opener.

cinematic storytelling artbook

Cinematography: Theory and Practice, Second Edition: Image Making for Cinematographers and Directors, Blain Brown

Blain Brown began his career as a commercial still photographer. When he moved to Los Angeles to work in the movie industry, he became Director of Photography. There he also developed skills in directing and screenwriting. As a photographer with vast experience, Blain has a great understanding of creating stunning still images.

This book gives a solid foundation for all the basics one may need to know to get a better understanding of visual art. The chapters about lighting and working with color deserve extra praise and will be very useful no matter what type of art you're interested in – film-making, 2D art, or full CGI.

cinematography blain brown

The Visual Story, Second Edition: Creating the Visual Structure of Film, TV and Digital Media, Bruce Block

Especially useful for motion designers, this book provides you with a clear understanding of the relationship between the visual structure of a video and its story. In the book, Bruce Block, famous for his legendary visual storytelling seminars, gives you a profound knowledge of basic rules, from contrast and rhythm to color and shape.

The best thing about the book is that it makes you think about your creations in a brand-new way. Visual construction is one of the most important techniques which make any artwork more interesting. Surprisingly, but it's incredibly hard to find information on this topic. So, the book is worthy of getting on your bookshelf.

Useful both for filmmakers and creators of still images, "The Visual Story" will help to enhance your skills and bring your artworks to the next level.

the visual story artbook

Understanding movies, Louis Giannetti

There are already 14 editions of this legendary book, and this shows the interest of the readers and movie fans to the creation of Louis Giannetti. In general, the book gives you an understanding of how directors communicate with the audience through movies. The book is full of outstanding examples, which makes it truly brilliant.

For the artists, it will be beneficial to learn about the photography, movement, style, lighting, and composition in movies, to adopt the knowledge to personal artworks. This comprehensive survey of the many elements will help to understand how to convince the viewer and make your work shine.

understanding movies 2d art book

The filmmaker's eye, Gustavo Mercado

The key to the book is its subtitle, so don't skip them too often. The best thing about the book by Gustavo Mercado is the fact that the author not only gives you the recipe of polished and impressive images, but provides a reader with an understanding of why it works.

Let's be honest: it’s one thing is to recreate some techniques in your artworks to make them more eloquent, another is to understand what would work better in a specific situation. The second approach allows you to juggle with all the tricks and select the ones which suit the story perfectly. Otherwise, you'll just look through many beautiful examples without realizing why they are so good.

the filmmaker's eye artbook

Layout and composition for Animation, Ed Ghertner

The book by Ed Ghertner became legendary not only because of the creative tips and useful tricks of composition in animation. More important is that the author gives you the list of examples of weak structure, explains how badly poor composition could affect the whole project, and provides you with creative ideas to solve the problem.

Although any beginner is spending hours on Behance and ArtStation looking for the most impressive projects and how they were done, sooner or later he will start to make his own mistakes. "Layout and composition for Animation" will help to avoid the most common of them and raise deep understanding of basic principles.

layout and composition art book

Setting the scene, Fraser Maclean

With previously unpublished art from major studios archives and unforgettable tips, this book explains how you can create a world on a piece of paper. It's an absolute must-have for those of you who are studying animation and motion design.

However, beautifully written history of layout, artistic principles of animation, and tips on how to make all the elements work together could be interesting for any reader keen in visual arts and cinematography. The most crucial thing in this book is the explanation of layout, which is often underestimated. Nevertheless, the ability to plan your animation or artwork before its production helps not only avoid some mistakes but enhance it.

setting the scene fraser maclean

Color and Light, James Gurney

Those of you who are specializing in character design should have read the book "Imaginative Realism: How to Paint What Doesn't Exist" by James Gurney. It became a Bible for many artists all over the world. "Color and Light" was written for a more broad audience, its principles will help artists no matter where their passion lies, in digital creatures or automotive CGI.

The book covers the two most important themes in art – color and light. This comprehensive guide filled with beautiful examples, diagrams and tips any artist may apply in his or her work. Another significant part of the book is stunning art by James Gurney.

color and light james gurney art book

Directing the story, Francis Glebas

A beautiful book from a top Disney storyboard artist is the best choice for those who want to learn classic visual storytelling techniques. What's more, the book will give you much more than just information. Francis Glebas has a rare talent to inspire his readers and make them push the boundaries of their possibilities.

It would be incredibly hard to find a replacement for this book, so it's just easier not to waste time and read this one. You will learn about the elements and structure of a successful story, understand how to spot problem areas before they appeared and find the best creative solutions for any of them.

art book directing the story

Framed Ink. Marcos Mateu-Mestre

When we talk about composition, we rarely connect it with the story, and that's one of the biggest mistakes an artist could make. Marcos Mateu-Mestre teaches composition thought visual storytelling explaining how both essential parts of artwork could strengthen each other.

With "Framed Ink" you'll understand how to build a composition to depict a specific mood and why movie shots are done in a certain way. Also, you'll find more than 200 beautiful illustrations. Yes, they are more related to movie composition, but the principles of the book could also be applied in animation, still images, and so on.

framed ink marcos mateu mestre book

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