Tag Archives: creativity

Creating and Creativity: Books to inspire

Looking for inspiration or inspired but can’t quite make the next step? The following books offer a very polite kick in the pants.

Daily Rituals: How Artists Work
Edited with text by Mason Currey
Confession: I have a weakness for collections like this. Here you will find the day-to-day routines of 160 famous people, as diverse as Francis Bacon and Ben Franklin, Goethe and Gould, Matisse and Melville.  Each of these very creative types summons their personal muse in endless and surprising variation, confronting all those gnarly obstacles like procrastination, earning a living, distraction, self-discipline. Delightful to browse, entertaining, and oddly inspiring.

Daily Rituals: How Artists Work
Hegarty on Creativity: There are no Rules
Sir John Hegarty has cred as one of the world’s more famous creative minds.  He can also teach. This compact and, not surprisingly, very smartly designed book slips perfectly into a pocket or purse to accompany you wherever. Sage advice for the artist, writer, musician, filmmaker – anyone tapping into their creative self or trying to take that next step.  There may be no rules but here are some guidelines from a master.


Freehand: Sketching Tips and Tricks Drawn from Art
Helen Birch
Artist/author Birch believes interest in drawing already has you halfway down the creative path. This nicely formatted volume provides visual examples by contemporary artists working in the astonishing range that is encompassed by “drawing”, including many digital applications. A short but sweet primer on drawing fundamentals rounds out the offering.  The sheer diversity presented is sure to get your eye and brain sparking.

Grids & Guides: A Notebook for Visual Thinkers
Oh how I love handling this smart little notebook, made up of 144 pages of blank grids in eight repeated variations, itching to be filled. Great for sketching, planning, story-boarding, daydreaming, compulsive list-making. Periodically interspersed throughout are very cool charts on a broad array of topics, my favorite being the orders of architecture and carpentry joints.

Lucien Freud: Eyes Wide Open
Phoebe Hoban
A perceptive analysis of the life, creative process, and inspirations of the great realist painter. In the hands of this excellent writer and through the use of much source material Freud comes alive, largely as a man of compulsions: to gamble, to womanize, but most of all to find and capture that inner essence in all his subjects through paint. The recounting of his longstanding friendship with and admiration for the flamboyant Francis Bacon is a highlight.


Paper Play
Gingko Press
A celebration of, or really an ode to, the medium of paper in all its exquisite variations. Primarily a book of images – glorious images – of works from a wide range of international artists and designers, all making small miracles from a material we take for granted and use daily. I knew I needed to own this book about 10 pages in.  Really, human beings are awe inspiring in what we can do.


We carry all of these books in the BMA Pop-Up Shop. You can also order them online at shopartbma.org, or via the links above.

Happy reading!