Pandemic Reads For Creatives: 7 Comforting Books About Great Artists
by Thea Fiore-Bloom, PhD
Need a comforting book right about now?
The following seven, fascinating, beautifully illustrated books about great artists could be the perfect thing for you to snuggle up to on a staycation, vacation or during tough times.
“There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate’s loot on Treasure Island.”
These cozy reads about Beatrix Potter, Matisse, Monet, and many others may help you take a much-needed vacation from worry. They may help you forget your stress and avoid burnout.
Yet, at the same time, these books may help you remember why you wanted to become an artist or writer in the first place.
Let’s let some of the deepest thinkers of the past one hundred years make you feel better.
“One glance at a book and you hear the voice of another person, perhaps someone dead for 1,000 years. To read is to voyage through time.”
7 Comforting Books About the Lives of Great Artists
Comforting Books About Artists – Pick No 1.
Text by Sebastian Perez and Die Cut Illustrations by Benjamin Lacombe.
Absolutely glorious 40-page book for color lovers.
Even the endpapers in this book are so inspired that you may long to wallpaper your studio with them.
“Through a series of consecutive die-cut illustrations [with openings the reader can glimpse part of the image on the page beneath], one is drawn in passing through aspects of Frida’s life, art, and creative process.
It does this while exploring the themes that inspired Kahlo the most, such as love, death, and maternity.
Excerpts from Frida Kahlo’s personal diaries alternate with Sébastien Perez’s poetic musings to give fresh insight and emotional depth.
Benjamin Lacombe’s stunning artwork masterfully conveys the symbolism and surrealism of her art.
Frida is a must for any fan or bibliophile.”—Goodreads
Comforting Books About Artists – Pick No 2.
by Catherine Ingram and illustrations by Andrew Rae
This is Dali has gorgeous line drawings.
“Goes beyond his fine art practice and discusses his venture into the commercial world from his extravagant jewelry to his cheeky design for the Chupa Chups lollipops.
Surrealism is revealed as a way of life; illustrations bring to life the extraordinary Dream Ball at the Coq Rouge, his fabulous home at Port Lligat, and his underwater fantasy at the World Fair’s Surrealist pavilion.
Fun, provoking, and endlessly frustrating, Dalí is brought under the spotlight.”
Comforting Books About Artists – Pick No 3
by Isabel Quintero and Zeke Peña
This is a notable graphic novel about a sublime photographer many Americans have never heard of.
One of the most impactful parts of this book for me was Iturbide’s telling of the story of why she no longer takes a photo of anyone without asking their permission.
“Graciela Iturbide was born in Mexico City in 1942, the oldest of 13 children.
When tragedy struck Iturbide as a young mother, she turned to photography for solace and understanding.
From then on Iturbide embarked on a photographic journey that has taken her throughout her native Mexico, from the Sonora Desert to Juchitán to Frida Kahlo’s bathroom, to the United States, India, and beyond.
Photographic is a symbolic, poetic, and deeply personal graphic biography of this iconic photographer.” — Getty Publications
Iturbide’s journey in Photographic will excite older children and adults. It would also be an inspiring and welcome gift for any budding photographers you know.
Comforting Books About Artists – Pick No 4
The Plants and Places That Inspired the Classic Children’s Tales by Marta McDowell
If you love English gardens, Potter or all things British — squirrel this book into your satchel immediately.
“Beatrix Potter was a writer, painter, and gardener who lived an admirable life and left a legacy worth emulating. McDowell respected Potter’s uniqueness, quirks and gathered together stories, photos, and watercolors that leaves us understanding more about her than ever before.” —Reader’s Review
Peek inside Beatrix Potter’s Gardening Life.
(Check out The Charmed Studio’s video post on Beatrix Potter’s research process.
Comforting Books About Artists – Pick No 5
I’m a cook, a lover of the food writings of MFK Fisher and collect books on the cultural history of food. So my list of comforting books had to include some with delectable recipes!
Got the quarantine blues?
You could stay home, snuggle up with this book and just pretend you’re strolling in Nice with Matisse.
“That’s the thing about books. They let you travel without moving your feet.”
Can’t stop without mentioning 2 other comforting books that involve food and great artists.
Comforting Books About Artists – Pick No 6
This is probably the most dog-eared Frida book I own.
It will immerse you in a romantic round of food-centered celebrations. These are the kind of fiestas once passionately enjoyed by the Kahlo/Rivera family.
This comforting book is smartly structured to lead you through a Mexican calendar of public national celebrations and intimate private parties. All of which were once held inside the walls of Kahlo’s magical blue house, Casa Azul.
Frida’s Fiestas is a delicious cultural education with rare photos of Frida’s cheery yellow tiled kitchen.
If you are a Frida fan and an artist you’ll enjoy our post on Meaningful Tips From Kahlo’s Life For Creatives.
Comforting Books About Artists – Pick No 7
“Vincent, Wine, Food, France — What More Can One Ask?
This is one beautiful book.
I received it recently and tonight made one of the meals from the cookbook section — it was absolutely delicious and simple to make.
This book is– beautiful to look at, full of depth and mood. It’s gorgeously photographed. Full of prints of Vincent’s work and stories of Vincent’s life in Auvers.
The printing is beautiful, the paper is heavy and rich, the mood is just right.
I would recommend Van Gogh’s Table to anyone who is a fan of Vincent Van Gogh and/or a fan of French food.”– Online Reviewer.
(If you love van Gogh Read the Charmed Studio’s post on the new research that Vincent Van Gogh probably did not take his own life.)
Aside from Comfort: Great Books About Artists Benefit Creatives
My best ideas for the articles I write for magazines don’t occur to me at my desk.
They come when I’m lolling about in an armchair.
Because it is then I let myself read about what
famous artists love to do when they’re not working.
So don’t be hard on yourself. Know that when you are leafing through guilty pleasure books you are being productive.
Your brain is quietly being seeded with creative ideas for future work.
“If there is a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, you must be the one to write it.”
Got any comforting books about artists to suggest? Please share in comments below.
This post a few affiliate links to books on Amazon.com.
How Did Van Gogh Really Die? Why Most People Still Think It Was Suicide and How The Real Story Affirms Artists
Diane Arbus: 4 Surprising Things Arbus Knew That Can Help You Take Your Art from Okay – to Incredible
Or come check out my writing coaching for artists page over here. Packages start for as little as $60.