One of the many joys of illustration is that there's always something new to discover. Whether that's a style or artist that has passed you by, or a fresh take on a familiar favourite, the world of illustration is endlessly rewarding. And luckily there are plenty of new and exciting books to feed that fascination.
In this feature, we've gathered together six new and hotly-anticipated books about all things illustration that you need to make room for on your shelves.
And don't forget, if you're interested in buying them, please click the accompanying links for Bookshop.org, which is on a mission to financially support local, independent bookstores, as well as Counterprint – the indie publisher and bookseller we all love.
1. The Illustrator. 100 Best from around the World by Steven Heller and Julius Wiedemann
Were you one of the doom-mongers who predicted that the digital era would herald the end of illustration as we know it? Guess again, as Steven Heller and Julius Wiedemann have been tracking the development of the industry for the last decade.
In this illuminating book, the two illustration experts have combed through the industry to bring you 100 artists that you need to know. Covering all corners of the industry, from indie-rock album artists to veteran illustrators, this compendium is the tip of the iceberg of important names, but one that gives you a clear snapshot of the contemporary illustration landscape.
Spread across 600 pages, including beautifully reproduced work, artist biographies and an illustration agencies index, this book is a must-buy for those entering, and already working in this field.
2. Marylou Faure by Counterprint
If you're still hungry for more illustrator inspiration after reading the above, check out this book dedicated to the vibrant, playful work of Marylou Faure.
A specialist of character designs and graphic compositions, French illustrator Marylou Faure aims to raise a smile with her cheeky and joyful art style. And as well as being entertaining to look at, she also uses her illustrations as a force for good by collaborating on brands with a focus on social or ethical causes.
Printed entirely out of Pantone colours, this unmissably vibrant monograph perfectly captures the playful power of Marylou's illustrations.
3. Hayao Miyazaki by Jessica Niebel
Hayao Miyazaki probably doesn't need any further introduction from us, but if you're somehow new to the genius behind Ghibli, you are in for a treat.
The Japanese animator and director has carved out a global following thanks to his stunning portfolio of 11 films including My Neighbour Totoro and Spirited Away. And this book, which accompanies a retrospective of the man at the 2021 inaugural exhibition at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures in Los Angeles, contains a wealth of concept sketches, characters designs, and never before seen work that will satisfy even the most die-hard of fans.
By working in collaboration with Studio Ghibli in Tokyo, author Jessica Niebel has created a truly peerless look at Hayao Miyazaki, and one that offers unique insight into his "creative process and masterful animation techniques."
4. The Anatomy of Colour by Patrick Baty
The colours used in our interior decorations serve many subtle purposes. Some are designed to feel warm and cosy, while others are deliberately chosen to feel cool and refreshing. But did you know these paint colours have a long and intricate history?
In The Anatomy of Colour, historian and paint expert Patrick Baty traces the 300-year history of interior decoration to unearth how colour systems and standards have evolved over the years. Starting with traditional earth pigments used in 1650, and venturing all the way through to the modern palettes used in the 1960s, this book is an authoritative look at the secret history of the colours that surround all of us.
Cram packed with specially commissioned pages from rare colour books, plus reproductions of interiors from times gone by, The Anatomy of Colour reveals why our walls look the way they do.
5. Miroslav Sasek by Martin Salisbury
After some more books about non-fiction illustration? This look at the work of Czech artist Miroslav Šašek is sure to fascinate you.
Famous for his This Is... series, Šašek is one of the biggest names in the twentieth-century canon of picture book illustrators. This is due to his distinctive style, which illustrates daily life as if from the point of view of a child. Charming, stylised and one of a kind Šašek's oeuvre is presented as never before in this compendium.
As well as the travelogues of Šašek's This Is... books, this retrospective also looks at his other work, including his lesser-known practices such as painting and puppet making.
6. A Dictionary of Color Combinations by Counterprint
If The Anatomy of Colour has whetted your appetite for the history of hues, this look at the colour studies of Sanzo Wada should quench your curiosity.
An artist, teacher, and costume and kimono designer, Sanzo Wada lived and worked during a turbulent time in avant-garde Japanese art and cinema. A visual pioneer thanks to his colour combinations that incorporated traditional approaches and Western influences, Wada helped to lay the foundations for colour research as we know it today.
This beautifully designed book is based on Wada's six-volume work of colour studies which he produced in the 1930s and contains 348 of his colour combinations. Presented in both Japanese and English, it's a comprehensive look at an important figure in the history of palette theory.