10 of this summer's essential art books

A comprehensive countdown of this summer's must-have art book releases you might have missed – to satisfy every need!

Whether you are a horror junkie, or more of a traditionalist when it comes to your art, this year we have had everything from television design and cinematic VFX to and traditional painters and classic Disney captured inside the humble pages of a book in order to inspire you.

We have collected the top 10 books released in the past four months for every type of artist. So broaden your horizons and pick up some invaluable tips and tricks from the masters...

01. Best for.. Conceptual artists

The Art of Mad Max: Fury Road

mad max fury road

This summer's blockbuster had critics and fans raving, and the complimenting art book is no less impressive.

Mad Max is a cultural phenomenan that has inspired countless post-apocalyptic universes, and now you have the chance to see how the original vision was re-created in the modern age.

mad max fury road art spread

The book reveals how the movie franchise was revived, not only through its feminist narrative, subverting the action flick norms, but through its considerate use of special effects, creating a cinematic spectacle that had thought to be all but lost.

02. Best for... Animators

Pinocchio: The Making of the Disney Epic

pinocchio the making of the disney epic

One of Disney's most overlooked classics, lauded by critics, finally gets the appraisal in deserves.

For fans of Disney's golden era, or those looking to delve into the beginnings of the most successful and iconic animation firm to date - you could learn a thing or two.

pinocchio making of art book spread

Packed full of inspiration, initial sketches, facts and more, this book packs everything from the film's marketing and spin-offs up to 20 years after the original release.

03. Best for... Art directors

The Art and Making of Penny Dreadful

penny dreaful art

Penny Dreadful is perhaps overlooked as a visual stunning piece of television drama, likely due to it battling it out with game-changer Game of Thrones.

Nevertheless, the Victorian set period fantasy is a masterpiece of cinematography and intricate design. With the greatest monsters of English literature walking the streets of London once again.

penny dreaful art spread

Although the content of the book doesn't entirely focus on art and design, the series itself, and the exploration of techniques to turn moden Dublin into Victorian London provide plenty to sink your teeth into.

04.Best for... The renaissance painter

Velazuez: The Complete Works

velazuez works

This Spanish master (1599-1660) managed to bottle the very breath of everyone from King to Commoner and was a major influence on the likes of Picasso and Bacon.

This heavy-duty collection could appeal to art history academics as much as it does painters, with it's text heavy pages that seem to be at odds with the open, human qualities of the art itself.

velazquez works spread

However, the art held within the pages is inspiring for any true artist: the fidelity of the reproduction shows every brush-stroke and scribbled detail before pulling out to show the overall effect of uncannily lifelike portraiture.

05. Best for... Comic geeks

Fables: Covers by James Jean

fables art

Not the first release to collect together the equisite cover designs of Taiwan-born, US artist James Jean but it may well be the ultimate collection after a 13 year run of the title, Fables.

fables comic art spread

A small screen adaptation is likely with such a devoted and adoring following, but, credit for the comic series has very rarely fallen upon James. His breadth of artistic style displed throughout the book is impressive, from vibrant cartoon to mournful old master and dazzling manga.

06. Best for... The traditionalist

William Blake: The Drawings for Dante's Devine Comedy

blake divine comedy

The maddest journey in world literature, as seen through the eyes of a dying obsessive and a great artist is given new exposure in this handsome tome.

While Taschen regularly produces art books so huge you need a donkey to get them home - this reproduction of English polymath, William Blake won't invoke hernias.

Blake's devine comedy spread

Just the right helf and texture to recreate the sensation of having found the materials next to Blake's bedside, where they were when he died in 1827.

07.Best for... Gamers

The Art of Assassin's Creed Unity

assassins creed unity

The latest lavish outing for Ubisoft's historical hitman makes for a fine collection of predictably engaging artwork.

The era-skipping exploits of the Assassin's Creed game franchise demand a fair number of instantly recognisable tropes from generation to generation – stylish violence being wrought by a parkour-obsessed Hoody, for instance – but the breadth of variety in both time and locale in every game does offer the artistic types at Ubisoft Montreal a luxuriant degree of freedom to dazzle and astound both devout gamers and discerning bystanders alike.

assassins creed spread

The richness of the ever- expanding universe makes the book an engrossing perusal even for non-gamers, but true followers will also be glad to have it on their shelves, long after their mission's completion.

08. Best for... Fantasy artists

Spectrum 21

spectrum 21

The greatest, annual, printed artists' exhibition is still going strong after more than two decades. What Spectrum has undoubtably nailed, is presenting fantasy art in it's entirety.

From nightmares to daydreams, perfectly posed pin-ups to battle-hardened warriors - every aspect of the artists imagination is exposed. Packed full of ideas, and engaging imagery showing off talent in excess.

spectrum spread

You can pick up Spectrum 21 and get lost in it's countless worlds for hours. While it is indeed full of fantasy art, the skill that eludes from the pages is an inspiration to all artists.

09. Best for... Quirky illustrators

A World of Artist Journal Pages

a world of artists

Following the warmly received 1000 Artist Journal Pages, A World of Artist Journal pages inflames the imagination. With such a wide range of illustrations, there is no way to categorise this books contents.

Editor Dawn Sokol has only included a handful of male illustrators, a refreshing spin on the usual demographic. From felt pen cartoons to glorious watercolour scenes, this is a book to ignite your senses and get you sketching!

10. Best for... Retro Designers

VHS Video Cover Art

vhs video cover art

if your long for the days when Drew Struzan and co illustrated all your favourite movie blockbuster posters, then look no further. This book delved into those long forgotten days of the eye-catching video cassette case - so be prepared for an unfettered deluge of nostalgia.

vhs video cover art spread

Some of the art could be seen as tacky, gaudy or overblown - but it doesn't make the imagery any less iconic. Countless artists are still harbouring back to the 80's in their exploitation film inspired book covers, ads and more - so take a look at the real deal.

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