Books I Love: Part 2, Artists & Illustrators

When I was young and entering college, I was excited to dive into the world of studio art convinced I would "make it" as a painter. I spent a year in painting and drawing classes, but slowly began to realize I was more interested in words. As my studies became more serious, I transitioned into a Literature and Creative Writing program and left painting behind. After all these years, I've come back around to my interest in visual art through letterpress printing and graphic design. Little did I know that the artists I was inspired by long ago would still be of interest to me as my work/career developed. 

I'm still inspired by clean lines, bold colors, delicate illustration, wood block and linoleum printing, sign painting, and handwriting.  

I've put together a set of books from my collection that showcase these years of inspiration. 

Alex Katz : I've been of fan of Alex Katz ever since I first saw his Samantha silkscreen portrait. I tried to replicate the solid fields of color by laying acrylic paint, which took hours. It was only later that I understood that the process of silkscreen would more easily create the look I was aiming for. 

Martin Pebble : Semp√© is a French cartoonist. I especially love Martin Pebble because it's charming and a little sad. Poor Martin Pebble can't stop sneezing and this turns his nose bright red. 

Margaret Kilgallen : A Bay Area native, Kilgallen's work is a beautiful representation of the diversity in people and nature.

The Psalm Book of Charles Knowles : Beautiful block prints. 

Edward Hopper : I have complied a list of the places Edward Hopper visited and painted so that someday I can make the same tour and hopefully see the fascinating landscapes and interiors that he captured. I love how he paints light. 

Henri's Walk to Paris : The only children's book Saul Bass illustrated, now back in print! 

William S. Rice: California Block Prints : I love the muted colors and heavy black outlines Rice uses in his Arts & Crafts style woodcuts. I especially favor the hollyhock print. 

Toulouse-Lautrec : This artist packs so much elegant vibrancy into each of his paintings. The interiors and fashions of his subjects are fascinating and I often turn to his work if I need some color palette inspiration. 

The Principles of Uncertainty : Maira Kalman can do no wrong. If you like an interesting story with thought-provoking, kooky illustrations she's your gal. 

What artists do you admire? I'd love to hear who is on your list.