Wednesday, 6 March 2013

5 Books / Publications I find inspiring

I thought I’d share some of the books I turn to again and again when I need inspiration. I have an illustration background and illustration has always been a huge passion of mine. Over the years I’ve accrued a great selection that keeps growing all the time. The following books inspire me in different ways. To try something new, to be myself, to have fun, to think carefully about composition, colour, character... I could go on and on. Instead, have a look at five of my favourite tomes:  

This is for You by Rob Ryan

Maybe not the most original of choices, after all, Rob Ryan has enjoyed massive popularity in recent years and rightly so, his papercut artwork is everywhere now. BUT the real thing to admire about this little book is that it grips you from start to finish, even when you’ve read it a few times before. The artwork is so beautiful and so intricate, but also interesting, in that the nature of the cut-out words means your eyes have to work harder to read it, so you find yourself really looking at the imagery instead of just skating over it. 

This book teaches me that time, thought and developed skill really can’t be beaten, and that’s why this book can be found on coffee tables and inside wrapping paper across the land.

Ms. Rubenstein’s Beauty by Pep Montserrat

I found this in a small book shop in Indiana, back when I lived in the States for a short while. This was in between terms at university so I was always on the lookout for gorgeous imagery to add to my collection. I won’t ruin the story for you but it centres on inner beauty and true love. 

Best thing about this book? The AMAZING limited colour palette. I think this was the first piece of illustration that really sold me on the impact of limited colour. The prose is also pretty and eloquent, I think it’s a translation from Spanish, either way it’s lovely. The paint-y textures are lovely too, and all the little people populating the backgrounds.... basically it’s great, OK? Buy it!

Okido - The Arts and Science Magazine for Kids 

I first saw this magazine for sale in one of the big London galleries - it might have been the Tate Modern or the V&A Museum, both of which have amazing gift shops that I could spend a lot of money in if I had it! I’ve also seen this magazine in The Museum of Childhood in the East End. It’s cute, bright, and packed with really alternative illustrations aimed at learning. Each issue has a theme - growth, weather, etc. I don’t have every issue but I pick it up when I can.

They’ve got a website too which is well worth a look.

Hand Job by Michael Perry

Aaaarggghhhh this book is SO COOL! And probably the most well-thumbed and stared at and generally drooled over book in my collection. I’m really into typography, more so in recent years, and this book is stuffed with amazing examples of type from many talented illustrators.

Everything about this book is gorgeous. It’s colourful, printed on beautiful heavy paper stock, it even has blank bits for you to draw your own stuff in! Brilliant! 

And lastly....

I have a couple of friends who just seem to have a knack for finding amazing things in charity shops. My friend Karen found this book in a charity shop and bought it for me a couple of years back. I think it’s one of those illustration sample catalogues that agencies send out to their clients. I like to get it out and look through it from time to time, it’s packed full of weird and wonderful imagery. And the great thing about looking at illustration from other cultures is you get a fresh look at the creative process, with a completely different angle.

I could definitely have made this post "50+ books Hannah likes to look at", but you can have too much of a good thing. I think I’ll definitely be doing another Top 5 post on books again at some point!


  1. Great collections of inspiring books.Hand job book very inspiring book that really gets your creativity a boost.
    The Equation book

  2. Thanks for that nice post! I have never thought about such books but now I totally feel the need to have one :) thanks for that :)

    Best wishes,