View Full Version : Books that inspire you

04 April 2005, 03:53 PM
I thought we'd make a thread about inspiring books. Not books about the process of art, if you can help it, but books with pretty pictures - or awesome pictures - or just pictures that you find very inspirational. Would be lovely to get a little explanation why these books in particular are so stirring for you... I might want to pick a few of them up.

I have a little list of some of mine, here --
Layers, Malcolm Venville - it's a photography book, with some of the loveliest photos I've ever seen. I found it quite by chance at a thrift store, there it was on a shelf and I picked it up. Huge, heavy book. The first page I opened it on had a photo of a ballerina with a tattoo, her beauty very unconventional, and I thought - wow, I must have this.

The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy & Other Stories, Tim Burton - such dark, wonderful wit and little whimsical stories that have just the right amount of morbidity for me. I squealed when I first opened this little book. Even the format is excellent - it's small and handy, the cover (on mine anyway) feels old though the book is new, and I suspect it's some kind of fabric. A must have.

Romantic Icons, Robert Woof and Stephen Hebron - a collection of portrait paintings of romantic icons. Some stunning, stunning paintings here. I found the book, if I don't remember entirely incorrectly, at Dove Cottage in England after having seen some of the paintings depicted in it.

The Gashlycrumb Tinies, Edward Gorey - "F is for Fanny sucked dry by a leach, G is for George smothered under a rug, H is for Hector done in by a thug." It's an alphabet with dying children. Oh my, that does sound quite morbid, but it's done in such a wonderful way - the pictures are simple and funny and lovely... Gorgey must have been an inspiration to Tim Burton. I wonder what the people of his time thought of him.

I'll add more later.

04 April 2005, 04:58 PM
Hey Enayla, potentially a great thread.

I don't get usually inspired by images I see in books, but images I visualize as a result of reading books.

The poetry of Al Sayyab (The greatest Iraqi Poet in modern history) has always inspired me and captivated my whole imagination. In fact I translated some of his work into paintings.

I will try to find a good translation of his poetry and pass it on, in the meantime here is an excerpt:
Drip, drop, the rain
Drip, drop, the rain
Do you know what sorrow the rain can inspire?

Do you know how gutters weep when it pours down?

Do you know how lost a solitary person feels in the rain?
Endless, like spilt blood, like hungry people, like love,
Like children, like the dead, endless the rain.
Your two eyes take me wandering with the rain,

04 April 2005, 05:03 PM
Hmmm... books that inspire or excite you creatively! Fab idea Linda... but golly where to stop! Well, if you like 'Melancholy Death...' check out 'The Boy who Kicked Pigs' by Tom Baker... erstwhile DrWho himself. A dark little tale much in the style of Burton.

Anything by Charles Addams, of the Addams family and cartoonist for The New Yorker. I recently read the Philip Pullman trilogy, 'His Dark Materials', and that is a real treat visually and creatively for the imagination. Compilations of art by people like Mark Ryden, Alma Tadema, William Waterhouse, Gabriel Rossetti... nearly all the Pre-Raphaelites. The Star Wars concept art books are fab, particuarly for McCaigs costume design.

Edward Gorey's fantastic, and there is a lineage with him including Edward Lear and Hilaire Belloc, and even Spike Milligan! And check out Gerard Hoffnung the humourist and cartoonist. John R. Neills illustrations for the original 'Oz' books are wonderful! Edwardian and kind of Pre-Raphaelite, and really sensitivly drawn. If McCaig wasn't inspired by 'Ozma of Oz' for some of Padme's clothes then he should have been! And along the same path 'Little Nemo' by Windsor McKay has a dreamlike quality....

Moebius's 'The Airtight Garage' is full of wonderful imagery that sure gets me inspired, in fact anything by him. He manages to create bizarre psychedelic worlds that somehow have a believability, and once again sensitively drawn...

ANYTHING illustrated and written by Tove Jansson, of the Moomins fame. Beautifully drawn stories that I grew up with... 'Marianne Dreams' by Catherine Storr, 'The Dark is Rising' by Susan Cooper Aaargh, I can't stop!

'Tha Dark Summer' by Bob Carlos Clarke is a collection of photographs with lots of shiny stuff in it! And 'The Arabian Nights' has always been a huge facination for me...

These are the one's I enjoy that spring to mind for now anyway... :)

04 April 2005, 06:28 PM
Peter Pan, with illustrations by Anne Greem Johnston (I hope I spelled her name right..) It's my favorite childhood book, and my favorite story of all the time (along with Pippi Longstockings.. I have a tendency to like stories that tell you how important it is to keep a child in you forever). The book illustrations in the book are so beautiful that I often go back and flip through the pages and just stare at drawings for hours.. such a simple style, yet so beautiful.

But books that inspire me the most are those without illustrations - it's so much easier to imagine things yourself than to watch someone else's vision, no matter how beautiful it is.

vfx fan
04 April 2005, 07:02 PM
Harry Potter books
Calvin and Hobbes
Porno magazines
Deranged (Albert Fish story)
...To name a few...

04 April 2005, 07:03 PM
Yet another great thread! Let me see.....hmmm....

Grimm's Fairy Tales
Through the Looking Glass
The CHronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever
anything by: Michael Moorcock,Tolkein, Piers ANthony

There's so many sources to get the grey matter going. When I've decided what type of work I want to do, I usually start with my existing collection of literature to get going, then switch over to reference material from my collections or from the web (although the web can easily distrat me from the task), and then I start to gather visual info on my computer to refer to from time to time as guidance, inspiration, etc.

04 April 2005, 07:05 PM
all the "books" of Enki Bilal
MIRAGE from The amazing Boris Vallejo (
The Best of Helmut Newton (

Tête à Tête of HEnri cartier Bresson Born in Chanteloup, Cartier-Bresson started painting in 1923 and began to photograph in 1931, met Tériade, the editor of Verve magazine and frequented members of the French surrealist movement. After a trip to the Ivory Coast he discovered the Leica, since then his camera of choice. He pursued his photographic career in Eastern Europe and Mexico, later on making films with Jean Renoir, Jacques Becker and André Zvoboda and a documentary on Republican Spain (1937).

04 April 2005, 07:37 PM
vfx fan, how inspiring do you find Mein Kampf?

04 April 2005, 07:45 PM
An Ominpresence - Yoshitishi ABe. This is the art book for Serial Experiments: Lain, IMO, one of the best anime series ever. ABe is one of the few anime artists who really makes me feel something about his characters, there may be better artists and better animators but I really connect with his characters. I have an artbook for Neia_7 too. :)

The Melancholy Death of Oysterboy is great as is The Nightmare Before Christmas, I have books for both and definitely find Burton's work inspiring. To me, his art work looks just as if it had crawled out of a childs mind and was refined by someone more skilled. when I look at Burton's stuff it totally reminds me of the joy of being a child and sometimes how alienated one felt.

Coraline - Neil Gaimen. The artwork in this book is sparse (at least in the one that I bought) but it's intriguing. The artist has that disturbed child-like inspiration that burton has but it would seem a little more intensified. This book is apparently being brought to life in stop motion animation by Henry Selick.

Other than that, sadly... I don't read much because of a very very short attention span.

04 April 2005, 07:48 PM
MIRAGE from The amazing Boris Vallejo

I have an old edition of that book from some time in the 80's when I use to read Heavy Metal. It has a different cover. I was quite surprised when I saw it in a local bookstore.

04 April 2005, 08:10 PM
Originally Posted by gruvsyco
I have an old edition of that book from some time in the 80's when I use to read Heavy Metal. It has a different cover. I was quite surprised when I saw it in a local bookstore.

It's a white cover with a "woman buterfly" ?
I have this one i've got this old edition too (marvelous book)

vfx fan, how inspiring do you find Mein Kampf?

man, i really don't whant to know !!:sad: (and it's not the good place to discuss about that)

04 April 2005, 08:16 PM
Such a lot of wonderful book suggestions here. I'll have to do an Amazon run soon, order some nice material to gawk at late at night.

I find that thrift stores are, for me, the best of places to find awesome books that I'd never have laid eyes on otherwise. I will never forgive myself for not having the money when they sold this old edition with poetry by Coleridge. Ah well. What's done is done.

Anyway, last time I was there, I found this thin little book pushed in between some other volumes, and I pulled it out. It was wrapped in really thin, transparent paper and had a picture of a wild looking lady with red hair on the cover - one budding rose stuffed into her neckline. I just loved the feel of it in my hands. I leafed through it, and it had lovely lithographs by this French artist - it's all in French so I can't understand a word of it, but it's so pretty! It's called Les Lithographies de Toulouse-Lautrec, and it's apparently from 1952. Very brittle and very pretty. This is the artist if anyone's curious - I've been trying to find the cover picture somewhere online but I can't seem to locate it. Anyway. I consider this my 'find' of the year. The book is gorgeous.

Aha!! I found the picture I was looking for! !! Isn't it awesome? :D

Also, I'd like to mention Elektra and Wolverine by Greg Rucka and Yoshitaka Amano. Seriously excellent work - combining one of my favourite characters ever (actually, two of them - I love Elektra as well) with an extremely talented artist. Very nice on the eyes and mind.

The Flight of Dragons, Peter Dickinson and Wayne Anderson -- a wonderfully illustrated and written book that 'assumes' that dragons actually exist. It sounds dorky, perhaps, but it's so quirky and sweet and the art style is unique and quite enchanting.

Hm, that's it for now :D

04 April 2005, 08:21 PM
Could you guys post links to something informative/representative to those books you mention. I get real curious but am a poor student.

vfx fan, I wonder how you'd feel at the other side of the barrel? I hope you're not in a position of even moderate responsibility or we'll never have decent vfx on the planet, only debree and cg "mishaps".




Joooy to the world

Joooy to the wohorld

joy to all the fishes in the deepest sea, joy to you and me...

tahnahnahnahnah....[goto 10]

a lil in-scene-u-and-dow...

I could go on like this for hours man...

edit: Enayla, what is a thrift store. I've never heard of that! I hope I cn come up with some books for you btw. But it seems not much has had a lasting impression on me.

04 April 2005, 09:32 PM
It's a white cover with a "woman buterfly" ?
I have this one i've got this old edition too (marvelous book)

I think it might be this one ( I'd have to go dig it out of storage to be sure. To be honest, I haven't really been "inspired" by Boris Vallejo since I exited puberty. While there's no denying the talent... all his characters look about the same to me. Regardless, I think I bought every book I could find of his at the time and they are stashed away in storage somewhere.

04 April 2005, 09:59 PM
I have a book with Auguste Renoir's paintings, and is so inspiring!. Plus, I have another one, "Skywatching" by David H. Levy, is an astronomy book, but have gorgeous pics with constellations, galaxies, old paintings, etc, there you have everything and I love it. And I have a collection of art and photography magazines, edited by Mercedes-Benz like a year ago here in México (a gift, I wish to have a MB XD) and is pretty inspiring too.

And if we talk about literature, well, Anne Rice's, Tolkien's (LOTR art books are my favs too), Gabriel García Marquez and his magic realism, egyptian, mayan and aztec mythologic dictionaries are my principal source when I need inspiration.

04 April 2005, 10:33 PM
The best book to "draw ", full of poetry and images is:

" Nossa Senhora of Paris " goes Vitor Hugo (hunchback of Notre Dame!)

I would also mention Jorge Luiz Borges " Aleph "


04 April 2005, 12:15 AM
I love looking at art books but get most of my inspiration and ideas from non-illustrated books, often non-fiction history - the world is and has been a strange place.

One of my favourite art books for just looking at, though, is The Blood of Kings: Dynasty and Ritual in Mayan Art ( - it's art from a different world.

I guess quite a few people like Froud but may not know about The World of the Dark Crystal ( it was discontinued for a while; it was recently re-released, however.

In a similar vein is The Mabinogion ( (Welsh myths) illustrated by Alan Lee.

I also have a little book on Durer that was published around 1920 that I got from a thrift shop - tarnished gilt pages and a rice paper flyleaf. And some books on Bosch I picked up in Moscow - they have an odd but alluring stink to them (yes, I do sniff books - when I crack that spine I just have to get my nose in there).

04 April 2005, 01:14 AM
Seems unrelated, but it's not: The Lone Samurai: The Life of Miamoto Musashi. This book is incredibly inspiring, because Musashi was the ultimate artist; disiplined, varied and always striving to improve. His paintings, sculpture and sword disciplines were unparalelled at the time:

04 April 2005, 05:02 AM
Any of the art collection books by Chen Shu Fen & Common. Just gorgeous to stare at. Truly one of a kind. (If you see other artists with similar styles--they are imitators, and not nearly as good.)

Spectrum - Annual fantastic art collection/competition. It just doesn't get any better than Spectrum. I have every single volume ever published.

Sotheby's Auctions - Beautiful catelogues of art auction items. I have all the 19th century volumes and they contain lots of gems that you wouldn't see anywhere else--even ones not included in the monographs of famous artists.

Illustration Art Auction - same as Sotheby's, but for classic illustrations.

Nira Works - Incredible gothic-horror-cyberpunk sculptures by Nirasawa. There's nothing else like it in the world. Absolutely stunning works.

04 April 2005, 05:25 AM
When I was about 4 I was given a book called "Hallelujah Anyway" by Patrick Woodroffe; which I still have today and still find inspiring. The book is filled with very vivid, detailed, expertly painted images with an interesting, whimsical style. Probably one of the first things to get me excited about making images. Patrick Woodroffe has done several other books, and did design for the movie Neverending Story.

erilaz: I read a biography of Musashi some years ago, and definatly found it inspiring.

04 April 2005, 10:03 AM
Just thought I would chime in with my suggestion. As of about 5 minutes ago when Mr Posty arrived I have a book called Flight, a collection of comics by young illustrators\animators\cartoonists all on the theme of flight. ( This is the official site, i highly recommend getting it, it's very inspirational.

Recentley I have found the Half Life 2 Raising the Bar ( art of book to be very inspiring, it really shows how game art can be really good and not just generic monsters etc.

Finally Rustboy - (re) Animating a Life Long Dream (, fantastic book, Brian Taylor is a wonderful illustrator and this book is such a good advert for just going out and doing it. Oh and don't forget to look at his site (

04 April 2005, 11:58 AM
vfx fan, how inspiring do you find Mein Kampf?

what inspires this to you ? Personally it's not what i read to get inspiration...

I love Boris Vian ( novels, especially Foam Of The Daze, I Spit On Your Graves...

Huge Fan of Franz Kafka - The Metamorphosis, The Trial

Also in Sci Fi - Frederic Brown short stories

edit :

Forget to mention a great book i rode sometimes ago - Shutter Island ( by Dennis Lehane

Nira Works - Incredible gothic-horror-cyberpunk sculptures by Nirasawa. There's nothing else like it in the world. Absolutely stunning works.

I'll take a look, it seems interesting :)

vfx fan
04 April 2005, 12:31 PM
Actually, I didn't mean for it to be taken that way. I just find the criminal mind and how its psyche works fascinating (criminal psychology is a second interest to me). The criminal mind and unspeakable evil are the sources for many of the villain characters in my short stories. Exploring the dark side of human nature is a hobby of mine. Sorry if I offended anyone.

04 April 2005, 12:41 PM
Through The Looking Glass by Lewis Carol. The illustrations are awesome and everytime I see one I grab out my pen and try desperatly to make awesome illustrations and fail....inspiring.

04 April 2005, 03:45 PM
Actually, I didn't mean for it to be taken that way. I just find the criminal mind and how its psyche works fascinating (criminal psychology is a second interest to me). The criminal mind and unspeakable evil are the sources for many of the villain characters in my short stories. Exploring the dark side of human nature is a hobby of mine. Sorry if I offended anyone.

As long as you enjoyed my singing I'll trust you.:wise: Hope you make us some nice stories then!!! Good luck with that!

04 April 2005, 04:05 PM
Anyone mind if I throw my hat in with Neil Gaiman's Sandman Graphic Novels?

Technically they're not books, but compilations of the amazing comic series that ran first under DC then Vertigo, but if ever anything screamed "ORIGINAL!" these stories are it for me. A whole new mythology, some truly whacky ideas (I mean come on, the plot of the Seasons of the Mists storyline was mindblowing to me) and some vistas and visions that you maybe had only imagined but had never seen. What Neil did with the Sandman is one of the best examples of modern storytelling we can look at today...

04 April 2005, 05:15 PM Le Trésor de l'ombre - François Boucq!
And "The Dark Knight Returns" - Frank Miller

04 April 2005, 06:18 PM
Anything showing Ashley Wood's work, Mike Kunnkel's 'Herobear and the Kid' (brilliant comic), 'KOAN: Paintings by Jon J Muth and Kent Williams', I have a book full of Giovanni Battista Piranesi's etchings (love that stuff), 'FRUITS' (a crazy photo collection of Japanese kids in some outragous clothing... very whimsical), 'BRIAN FROUD: THE WORLD OF THE DARK CRYSTAL', 'Pleasure of Ruins' by Rose Macaulay (big coffee table book full of sepia / b&w photography), 'Iguana Bay 2.0' by Claire Wendling, 'Jeffrey Jones Sketchbook' (and anything with his paintings), any of the SPECTRUM series, any 'The Art of...' books from my favourite movies...

Whew, and there are soooooooo many more! I'm also gonna check out or hunt down alot of the ones mentioned by others (if I don't already have them)... they sound so interesting!

04 April 2005, 06:35 PM
Porno magazines


04 April 2005, 04:29 AM
I stumbled accross this book at the library... I couldn't stop looking at it.
the tale of the firebird by gennady spirin
some amazing watercolor work
I looked online for images and came accross this link ...his originals go for 4-24k$

04 April 2005, 01:57 PM
I think I am more inspired by music than by books (even though I am a library worm), but maybe the book that has inspired me the most was "100 years of solitude" (I don't know if the translation is right, in Spanish it is "100 años de soledad") by Gabriel Gª. Márquez. Simply great.

Maybe "Dune" had some great material to get inspired by, but though I loved the story I haven't felt like drawing anything about its world.

Ah, yes! "Without news at the western front" (again, I don't know if it is correctly translated) by Erich Maria Remarque has been a font of inspiration since I was 10 or so. The horror of the trenches narrated by a WWI German soldier.

And then some spare poems seem to tick something inside of me that makes me want to paint something about them.
Like this one from Pessoa (a really nice portuguese poet):

"The poet is a pretender
who pretends so completely
that he even pretends to be pain
the pain that he really feels.

And those who read what he writes
in the readen pain feel,
not both pains that the poet lives,
but only the one they don't have.

And thus by the railroads rolls,
and entertains the reason,
the little toy train
that is called heart"
(that last strophe is simply great in Spanish).

"El poeta es un fingidor.
Finge tan completamente
que hasta finge ser dolor
el dolor que en verdad siente.

Y quienes leen lo que escribe
en el dolor leído sienten
no los dos que el poeta vive
mas sólo aquel que no tienen.

Y así por las vías rueda
y entretiene a la razón
el trenecito de cuerda
que se llama corazón."

04 April 2005, 02:13 PM
The "Titus Groan" books of British artist and writer Mervyn Peake are probably the most inspiring works I have read..His tone is a kind of "Darker Dickens on Drugs", giving us a totally otherworldly slice of gothic horror/fantasy which concerns itself more with words and ideas than absolute linear dramatic structure. The world of Steerpike, Flay, Doctor Prunesquallor and Titus himself is one you'll either love or hate; but once you have read it you wont forget the style.
The books are:

Titus Groan
Titus Alone

04 April 2005, 06:31 AM
I feel more inspired by reading than by seeing pictures. And while I read lots and lots of different things (most of those not related to fiction at all), I always come back to these
and I always end up totally inspired:

The Witching Hour by Anne Rice- the imagery in the text, especially when you get to read the files on the witches is just powerfully delicious. I also adore The Vampire Armand. The rest are thoroughly enjoyable, but not as inspiring to me as these two.

La Divina Commedia di Dante Alighieri - everyone HAS to read this before dying. If you can read the original text, then much better (it's more beautiful than damn translations)

Laurell K. Hamilton's Anita Blake and Mery Gentry series. Best books to read when you are not supposed to be reading anything but schoolwork. The secret: lots of chapters, but very often they are not long, so you don’t lose the flow of the books.

The Secret Books of Paradys I, II, III & IV by Tanith Lee - just grand. Especially if you are a language lover.

('s 2:30AM here...too tired to comment on them all what I would like to say...)

Almost anything written by Horacio Quiroga

Angela Sommer-Bodenburg's The Little Vampire Series

Anything by Roald Dahl, especially Matilda & The Witches

Le Petit Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Geoffrey Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales

El Libro del Buen Amor de Juan Ruiz, el Arcipreste de Hita

Il Decameron di Giovanni Boccacio

Lewis Caroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Alice Through the Looking Glass

Patricia C. Wrede’s The Enchanted Forest Chronicles

JRR Tolkien's Lord of the Ring and The Silmarillion

& L Frank Baum Oz series & The Little Wizard Stories of Oz series

04 April 2005, 12:22 AM
The Impetus of Dreams, The Art of Daniel Merriam, I was never a big fan of watercolors (with a few exceptions) until I saw this book. Rich, vibrant and not the typical washed landscapes or flowers. Lots of architectual and dream elements.

A Journey of the Imagination, by James Christensen. Elves, Faeries, boats, fish and heavily clothed/adorned caricatures. Filled with pen and ink sketches around the main pictures and descriptions to show the evolution of his ideas. A mix of classical painting and goofy fun.

Po Shun Leong: Art Boxes, Boxes, coffee tables and things with shelves and drawers. Some look like sculptures, some look more architectural. All have a variety of woods and inlays that create some amazing textures.

Adventures of Tintin, by Herge. Fun books I used to read as a kid, sparked my interest in art and storytelling.

Some of these are in storage right now, I'm in the process of moving, so I might get the names or authors wrong :hmm: ...

Moonshadow, An older 12 issue DC (Vertigo) comic. A warped little fairytale. As far as I remember it was one of the first comics to be entirely painted.

Big Numbers, Stray Toasters and Moby Dick, a few comics with artwork done by Bill Sienkiewicz - a collage of hand drawn imagery, photographs, paintings and typical comic art.

Swampthing and Miracleman, a few comics with art done by John Totleben (and great writing by Alan Moore). The Miracleman issues with Totlenben (book 3) have amazing layout, color, mood and line.

And of course, my growing collection of Ballistic titles! :)

Goldee Lox
04 April 2005, 09:12 PM
Concerning picbooks: From folly to follies - a book on gardens and the deranged minds designing them.

For mental images: China Mieville - the Scar. Can't be said enough times. Simply brilliant.

Jorge Luis Borges - The library of babel, short story. Blueprint for a world.

Sture Dahlström - Den store blondino (maybe not available in english, don't know), great Tati-like modernist craziness.

04 April 2005, 02:48 AM
Ooops, I forgot one ...

Body Land, by Arno Rafael Minkkinen. I was fortunate enough to go to school where Arno taught and see some of his pieces in person. His photographs contain neat visual trickery which is done all in the field - no manipulation in the darkroom or on the computer.

04 April 2005, 03:22 AM
Although the only pictures in these books were on the covers...I grew up with and was very much inspired by the "White Mountains" series.

04 April 2005, 10:37 AM
Thanks all of u?what exactly i was igot it from this thread.

04 April 2005, 11:59 AM
Dune- Frank Herbert

Probably my favourite series of books ever. There's a "Dune" inspired thread over at conceptart that has some really nice work in it, link in case anyone wants to take a look..

Lord of the Rings- Tolkien.

I think I was about twelve when I first read it and I was blown away by the scale and detail of the world Tolkien created ( yes, I like my books fairly "epic"). I was pleasantly surprised by the recent films, visually they matched up pretty well with the pictures in my head..

I'm sure I have many more but those were the two that sprang immediately to mind.

04 April 2005, 02:12 PM
The wheel of time series by Robert awesome and inspiring world he created ,rich with unique characters and places. Very much Tolkien style for those who like!

Anne Rice books, the atmosphere and mood she creates in her books make you feel like your living the past.

Eddings, Modesit Jr, Terry Brooks to name but just a few more!

04 April 2005, 09:39 PM
"The Dream Hunters" ( - Japanese folk tale reinterpreted by Neil Gaiman as part of his Sandman story, and illustrated by Yoshitaka Amano. O, oh, oh... it's so beautiful. <3

04 April 2005, 11:30 PM
man i cant belive no one has said the Disk World series by terry pratchet..these are some of the most creative and inspiring work ive ever heard...hitchhikers guide obviously..i love anything by issac asimov (gets my mind reeling)....anything by william gibson ....
thats whats so great about bieng a 3d artist we listen to audio books all day bieng that most of my studio has heard most of the music in the world.i love stuff like stephen hawking,,and ray kurzwell (age of spiritual machines)....dune are classics......ahh i just listened to the first two books from the sword of truth series by terry goodkind great fantasy....havent dove into the wheel of time series but i hear good things....right now im listening to stranger in a strange land.....can anyone recomend killer calssic sci-fi or fantasy im missing.

04 April 2005, 11:27 AM
i go to the bookstore every once in a while to look at some nice photographs in some of the books there..i don't remember names really but there was one book called Earth or something like that and there were like 4 different a series or something..the other ones were abour different planets and stuff..they are kinda small in size but very thick..the Earth one was filled with amazing landscapes and unique photos of nature..really inspiring stuff

here i found a link to one of the Earth books

and this is another one of the series

other books that inspire me are astronomy books or ancient egyptian stuff about religion, magic and all this good stuff

also there is a great book called The Artist's Quest for Inspiration by Peggy Hadden that was very helps you find different ways to inspire yourself and very open minding

oh almost forgot about the adventures of TinTin..they were the best thing i used to read when i was a kid..still have the whole collection kept safe..hehe

04 April 2005, 11:48 AM
A book which has inspired me alot on later days is "Call of Cthulhu & and other stories" By H.P Lovecraft aswell as "At the mountain of masness" By the same author. He is my alltime favority author, his twisted reality blends with reality extreamlly well, and you can allways feel the athmopshere of the books.

04 April 2005, 04:53 PM

I just finally remembered one! :surprised...what was it's name? watchamah-things...Well anyway, I'll tell what it was about.

It was about these two old women and a girl I thnik. They lived ona secluded farm and lived their own lives. One of the old women drank goose blood to revitalise herself, whether she actually got younger I don't remember.
There was a lot of jealousy and hatred running between them but there was also a lot of love. They were all so different that it came across as a fairytale. Where the lead characters were just spirits who didn't know they had died. Very cool and intricate. It was written by a Dutch writer though.
But now that I think of it I can see the meadows and the dead geese, and the old women and the girl playing in the sunny fields...I'm gonna have to dig it up somewhere....

If I could only remember it's name for **** sake!

Did find this too, My first name is her full name! Pretty weird, and she wrote sci fi, hmmm...
author:Jan Mark (

04 April 2005, 05:18 PM
My ultimate favorite (no longer in print but it's only $7 used):

04 April 2005, 03:29 AM
Storyville Portraits
Photographs From The New Orleans Red-Light District, CICA 1912
A book of beautiful portraits, of New Orleans prostitutes. The level of intimacy that Bellocq captures in these photographs, rivals Lautrecs drawings and paintings of the same theme.
The movie "Pretty Baby", is a terrible bastardization of Bellocqs life - complete fiction.

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner
by Samuel Coleridge
Illustrated by Gustav Dore
Publisher - Platinum Press Inc. New York 1995
I got this jewel in the bargains section of Chapters Indigo - Canadas largest bookstore chain.
The book is a facsimile of the original which was published in 1876. The book size is approx 14" x 10"
I am kicking myself for not buying several copies of this book (a habit I have when buying books that I really love. I do this to give copies as gifts to those who I think might enjoy the work, and also as an insurance policy against bad coffee spills etc.)

All of the books by Beatrix Potter. I find the reproduction quality of older editions (1950s and 1960s) to be superior to those printed today - much better colour.

The Happy Prince and Other Stories
Oscar Wilde
Wildes prose is so beautiful, that it just asks to be illustrated. The catch is that Wilde is so good at evoking the imagery, that in most cases he would leave even the best illustrators of his work in the dust.
the stories "The Happy Prince" and "The Nightingale and the Rose" are particularly poignant

The yearly editorial cartoons collections of the late Duncan Macpherson (1924-1993). These collections are sadly out of print. I scour second hand stores seeking them out.
Macpherson is one of the most brilliant editorial illustrators of the 20th century. Some have placed his brilliant satire in the company of Swift among others. A real appreciation of his work demands seeing alot of it. To be able to produce uproarously funny images each day every day for some odd 30 years, is the real accomplishment.
I would love to post some of his work, but copyright - you know...
Anyways some links (sadly only issues of Canadian interest - his depictions international issues would be more relevant here ) ( ( (


The Jungle Book/Rikki-Tikki-Tavi
Rudyard Kipling

I refused to let my kids see Disneys "Jungle Book", before I read them the original book. Disney has done so much good work but I wish they had left this one alone!

Kiplings tales are so majestic - the creatures embody nobility, cunning, loyalty, compassion, treachery ...

If all you know about "The Jungle Book" is Disneys film, go out and get an unabridged copy of the original book. It is a deep, beautiful nuanced read. Anyone who could bring the characters of this book to life (in drawings, paintings etc.) has my deepest respect.


Speaking of Disney:

The Illusion of Life
Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnstone

This is one of the most beautiful books I own - written by two of the legendary "Nine Old Men" of the Disney studios.


Well thats it for now


04 April 2005, 03:55 AM
C.J. Cherryh's Rusalka. I always loved it for the environments and interesting approach to 'magic'. Having an original, leatherbound copy that I just managed to find hiding in my attic buried under a layer of dust always seemed to give the book an extra mystical feel, too. ;)
My avatar is actually from the cover art ( (by Keith Parkinson) of Rusalka.
The sequel, Chernevog, was also good and inspirational. But I was never too impressed with Yvgenie (the 3rd in the series).

04 April 2005, 09:59 AM
Dante, for sure. He has such poetic imagery. Terry pratchett as well. I really love Gorky, his stuff would be excellent in a movie.

04 April 2005, 03:01 PM
I was just thinking the other day about how I had spent so much time as a kid looking at reproductions of art, usually of poor quality and small. All my earliest development and study was based on these reproductions. When I finally was able to go to a museum and see a few of the "master" works in person, they blew me away. An Impressionist show in particular had me in tears of joy. That said, it's usually any art book of quality that gets me going. Photography too. I have some nice books on cinema that make for good ideas as well. Nothing works better than the real thing though. -David

04 April 2005, 04:07 PM
there is no time to read!?!! how do you people do it? when Im done with everything else, i lie down close my eyes and then its suddenly day + n again...

the last book i read was kafka "the process", it made me feel awful. very stressing and claustrophic experience, it inspirede me not to read so much and concentrate on other things, like reading maya books..

on a serious note j. r. r. tolkien´s books inspired me since my childhood. manly p. hall´s books also caught my attention and inspire me. he was more of a librarian, and archiver who collected other big thinkers works through time. like "man, grand symbol of the mysteries" or "secret teachings of all ages". in recent time I have also been very inspired by reading j. krishnamurti "total freedom" and dalai lama "ethics for the new millenium". mmmm and william gibson "ofcourse" :)


04 April 2005, 05:15 PM
hey people - really like this thread...

Faber - let me introduce you to 2 books with more pictures than words...:)

OK, these are kinda books you just grab at any time and you get lost for an hour or so,
perfect for that strange room with the "funny chair " so to say hehe...

first out is "20th Century Photography - Museum Ludwig Cologne" it's a
760 pages pocketbook format stuffed with inspiration most B&W...

then a smaller book "Curious Moments - Archive of the Century Das Fotoarchiv"
719 pages in a square format this is all in B&W.

these are books I keep falling back to over and over again...

04 April 2005, 09:58 PM
I love Jules Vern's Novels. The incredible imagination of the man yet he weaves his ideas with as much technical realism as he could. He brings something that only exists in his mind but make the reader believe it's real history. I love it!

04 April 2005, 12:51 PM
> daw

thanks! sounds good. I will note their titles. and you are right, more picture books would do good :)


04 April 2005, 12:14 PM
I find most books by David Eddings to be inspiring - I was amazed no-one else had mentioned him!

My favourite David Eddings book would have to be the Redemption of Althalus - I found it utterly interesting, and although it's a fairly traditional fantasy book, he does it with such style that I almost don't mind.

Terry Pratchett is a brilliant author, very funny and imaginative - my favourite book of his is a book he co-wrote with Neil Gaiman. I can't for the life of me remember the name of it, though.. ~Edit~ I think it was called 'Interesting Times', but I'm most likely wrong.

There is a book at our school library which I find absolutely captivating and inspiring. I have no idea what it's called or who it's by, but it is filled with pictures of ugly little elves, gnomes, fairies, you name it - it's brilliant. A few of my friends and I often spend hours staring at it, only occasionally remembering to turn the page.

04 April 2005, 01:29 PM
Terry Pratchett is a brilliant author, very funny and imaginative - my favourite book of his is a book he co-wrote with Neil Gaiman. I can't for the life of me remember the name of it, though.. ~Edit~ I think it was called 'Interesting Times', but I'm most likely wrong.

It was "Good Omens".

04 April 2005, 02:26 PM
Thanks ^^
Damn, now I want to read it again. *Makes mental note to borrow it*

04 April 2005, 02:55 PM
Some pleasant reads I recently had that provided me with tons of inspirational thoughts were:

China Mieville's "Perdido Street Station (" & "The Scar ("
Neal Stephenson's "Snow Crash ("

Steven Erikson's epos "The Malazan Book of the Fallen (" (tough & lenghty stuff, but brillant)

04 April 2005, 09:16 PM
A few people have mentioned Dune. I never read the book, but I saw the mini-series on Sci Fi and the blue eyes just transfixed me. When I read or watch movies or mini-series, or what have you, I usually take the plotlines into the context of my own writing, and from there all sorts of things come out of it into art. Sometimes movies and books go straight into art form, but I rarely do "fan art" unless I want it to be specific.

None of these books are "art books" persay, but they've added a lot of color to the mood I'm working towards.

A Song of Fire and Ice: George R. R. Martin - I'm on Clash of Kings right now and I'm absolutely gobbling it up. I can "see" a lot of the things in this story and its influencing a lot of the things that I do.

Hamlet: Shakespeare - We read this in my Humanities class and just finished it. I never thought I could like something that was pure dialogue *so* much. The words are magnificent for text-painting, and I've done a lot with quotes in little icons and the such.

The Bone Doll's Twin: Lynn Flewelling - This book and the rest of it's story is my absolute favorite *ever.* There is such a dark, ominous presence throughout the entire book, and the "ghost friend" that the main character has influences art and writing a like. There is also some interesting gender-bending issues in this book, which I find very interesting, especially since the main character is a child for the first and second books. (The third isn't out yet, but I'm eagerly awaiting it.)

Ramayana - I read portions of this for my English class last year, and I purchased a copy of it, but I still haven't gotten very far. It's an ancient epic, but a magnificent story, and it influences my art through a lot of the "mystic" style. I wrote a short recently that I draw often, and it was almost entirely inspired by the "Indian" epic feel and a lot of the mystical gore and death and the like. This book is fun because there is a lot of symbolism, just like there is in Hindu art, where each object that each arm holds means something.

04 April 2005, 11:08 PM
A Song of Fire and Ice: George R. R. Martin - I'm on Clash of Kings right now and I'm absolutely gobbling it up. I can "see" a lot of the things in this story and its influencing a lot of the things that I do.

If you did enjoy George R. R. Martin's epos so far, I highly recommend Steven Erikson to you as well. It shares quite some elements, but differs enough to be a pretty unique experience on its own that you won't regret.


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