My Favorite Artist Reference Books:
- “An Atlas of Animal Anatomy for Artists“ by W. Ellenberger – a large section on horses, large cats, dogs, and other various animals. Also includes some reproductions from “The Anatomy of the Horse” by George Stubbs (whose horse artworks were phenomenal!) – This book is my favorite for horses and large cats – I used this book until the binding fell apart, so I bought another one! This book gets a 5/5 review from me – I absolutely adore this book, and actually have two; a clean copy that never goes near my clay sculpting table, and the repaired version for sculpting (see the salvaging damaged artist reference books below).
- “Cyclopedia Anatomicae” by Gyorgy Feher – a huge book that includes humans and many types of animals. This artist reference book is wonderful for anyone working with the human form. I don’t use it as often as I should, as I usually just go straight to the Ellenberger book above! But because the section on the human form is so intensive, it also gets a 5/5 review from me!
- “Animal Anatomy for Artists: The Elements of Form” by Eliot Goldfinger. This is another of my artist reference books that I need to dig out more often. Before reviewing, I need to spend more time with this one – but this book, at the very least, is worthy of being on this list!
- “Modelling and Sculpting Animals” by Edouard Lanteri. I’ve had this book since my college days, as it’s one of the first anatomy books I bought back when first learning how to sculpt clay! This book will be getting it’s own full page review soon, but as a quick note – it’s a 5/5 due to it being specifically for clay animal sculptures (plus the incredibly detailed information it contains for any medium).
The artist reference books listed above are part of my personal reference library. These are my main artist reference books for clay animal sculptures and concept art. I highly recommend each of them for any artist, especially those interested in representational art. These are the books I used for the Relative Measurements And Simple Horse Drawing Demonstration post.
Salvaging damaged and over-used artist reference books
I’ve found that my books, especially the ones that I work with while I’m sculpting, tend to fall apart quickly. They get covered in clay, I use heavy objects to sit on the books to keep them open (thus the bindings breaking), and they just don’t last very long.
When my first “An Atlas of Animal Anatomy for Artists” fell apart, I bought another one to replace it, but I just couldn’t bring myself to use the new book while sculpting (or to throw away the old one!). So, (this works best with paperback books) I tore the binding off of the old book and punched holes in the pages so that I could put them in an oversized binder (a regular binder wasn’t big enough).
The book is actually much easier to use now as I don’t need anything to hold it open anymore, and if I get more clay in it? Who cares! My backup (clean) copy is used for cleaner, 2D work such as drawing, but this one is also used for painting.
More Artist Reference Books for Concept Art and Clay Animal Sculptures:
This is not my entire library of art books – far from it! I have many more including more anatomy and books for making concept art. I prefer hard copies to digital books for working on artworks, as touching a screen repeatedly is really annoying when your hands are covered in clay – so my opinion is you can never have enough books (and space for books!).
As such, there will be more book reviews in the near future!
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- You can find tons of art books, including animal anatomy drawing books, at Blick Art Materials!