10 superb summer books for restless creative souls

With the summer holidays well underway, and perhaps a little more time on your hands, you might be twiddling your thumbs.

Image licensed via Adobe Stock

Image licensed via Adobe Stock

You might be looking for something to boost your creative skills or hobby while work is a little lighter. In which case, allow Creative Boom to help. The following books are the perfect remedy for those of you who are lucky enough to have a spare hour or two to get creative.

1. Book of Ideas: A Journal of Creative Direction and Graphic Design by Radim Malinic

Book of Ideas is just that: an outpouring of what one creative director and designer has discovered from many years working in the strange and endlessly fascinating world of the creative industry. Sharing advice on everything from inspiration to inbox control, facing your fears, finding happiness in your work, the art of self-promotion, and beating creative block. It is also illustrated with some of the most important and resonant portfolio projects. Book of Ideas is an invaluable tool for any creative at any stage in their career.

2. Creative Workshop by David Sherwin

Have you ever struggled to complete a design project on time? Or felt that having a tight deadline stifled your capacity for maximum creativity? If so, then this book is for you. With Creative Workshop, you'll find 80 creative challenges that will help you achieve a breadth of stronger design solutions, in various media, within any set time period. Exercises range from creating a typeface in an hour to designing a paper robot in an afternoon to designing web pages and other interactive experiences. Each activity includes compelling visual solutions from other designers and background stories to help you increase your capacity to innovate. This book also includes useful brainstorming techniques and wisdom from some of today's top designers. By road-testing these techniques as you attempt each challenge, you'll find new and more effective ways to solve tough design problems and bring your solutions to vibrant life.

3. Use This if You Want to Take Great Photographs: A Photo Journal by Henry Carroll

This fascinating new photo journal is designed to help people think differently about the way they take photographs by using fun prompts such as "Imagine you're Elvis, what was your final photograph?' and "Take a political photograph of nature.” It's the perfect project for anyone looking to develop their skills as a creative photographer, and a great side project for any photography or arts course.

4. So You Want to Publish a Magazine? By Angharad Lewis

So you want to publish a magazine? This guide shows you how to take your concept from idea to proper publication, step by step. It covers all the nuts and bolts of indie magazine publishing, from budgeting and distribution to design and print. Inspirational and informative, this book gives you the behind-the-scenes information you need to take your idea all the way to print, and beyond. It’s a must-have for anyone who loves magazines or dreams of starting their own.

5. Rubber Stamping: Get Creative with Stamps, Rollers and Other Printmaking Techniques by Stephen Fowler

This beautiful book provides a complete guide to printing with rubber stamps as well as a handful of alternative methods such as using rollers, plaster, or clay. Beginning with a foreword by the artist Rob Ryan and a short history of rubber stamping, it goes on to explain the technical basics: what equipment to use, how to carve your stamps, register multiple colours, and mask prints.

6. Ballpoint Art by Trent Morse

Ballpoint Art is the first-ever compendium of art made with ballpoint pens, compiled by New York City-based art critic, Trent Morse. The book charts the history of ballpoint art from the early 20th century when the pen was the tool of choice for modernist masters such as Cy Twombly and Lucio Fontana. It also showcases 30 contemporary artists, including Jake and Dinos Chapman, who each use this humble tool in a uniquely fascinating way. It is the perfect book for illustration and art students looking for inspiration.

7. No Patterns Needed by Rosie Martin

Rosie Martin's No Patterns Needed is the perfect book for those who love the idea of making their own bespoke clothing, but get put off by the idea of complicated pattern pieces. Rosie uses three basic shapes: a triangle, a rectangle and a circle to show that anyone can create wearable, perfectly fitted clothes. Plenty of variations are suggested so that readers can play with the designs to tailor-make a wardrobe based on unique tastes.

8. The typography idea book: Inspiration from 50 masters by Steven Heller

The Typography Idea Book: Inspiration from 50 Masters is a practical introduction to the key elements of good typographic design from two of the world's leading authorities on design, Steven Heller and Gail Anderson. Includes images from 50 leading designers to illustrate technical points and inspire readers.

9. Studio Anywhere: A Photographer's Guide to Shooting in Unconventional Locations by Nick Fancher

Studio Anywhere by Nick Fancher is a resource for photographers to learn from behind-the-scenes photos and lighting diagrams from a range of photoshoots. But it doesn’t stop there. Because directing a photo shoot involves more than merely knowing how to wield a camera or process a raw file, Nick also lets you in on the aesthetic decisions he makes in his signature photos, inspiring you to develop your own vision. And, finally, he describes his Lightroom and Photoshop workflow so you can learn how to navigate post-processing deftly.

10. Read This If You Want to Take Great Photographs of People by Henry Carroll

This inspiring book of conceptual starting points and invaluable technical tips is perfect for anyone, novice or professional, who wants to take top-notch pictures of people. It distils portrait photography into seven subject areas, including 'Composition', 'The Gaze’ and 'The Street', and features beautiful, startling and inspirational photographs in each category. Readers are given practical insights into the ideas and techniques of a wide range of historical and contemporary masters so they can put it all into practice themselves. Scattered throughout the book are 'technical tangents' packed with invaluable practical guidance for basic lighting set-ups, kit, camera modes and more. Also included is definitive advice from a lawyer on your legal rights when taking pictures of people.

Thanks to Laurence King for help with this article


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