Whether you're looking to switch disciplines and try something new, or brush up on old skills, there's a ton of cool new art books to help you on your way. This month we've got guides on oil painting, how to draw manga and urban drawing techniques, plus a new and brilliantly named art craze: Zentangle. And not just regular Zentangle, but botanical Zentangle. We've also rounded up some the best tools to help you get started in each of these fields.
We look at a book that asks questions about creativity – what a good idea looks like, where it comes from – which is perfect for anyone suffering from bout of creative block. We also check in with Somerset House and its Print Club London film poster exhibition, and we've got our eye on a new, limited edition Moleskine collaboration.
This new book by urban sketcher Virginia Hein contains over 50 exercises to help artists of any level quickly sketch landscapes. "Suitable for both new and aspiring artists," publisher Search Press says, "this easy-to-use handbook will loosen up your creativity and show you how to sketch while outdoors or on the move, even if you have only a few minutes to spare."
02. Posh pencils
London-based stationery designer Katie Leamon has created a new range of luxury pencils that are perfect for any budding urban sketcher. Traditionally made and inspired by nursery rhymes, fables and fairytales, the pack contains six mixed-grade pencils, each decorated with an original design. They cover everything you need for detail, textures, and tone.
This new, limited edition Moleskine collaboration sees the much-loved notebook brand join forces with one of the greatest bands of all time. The hook-up offers a series of covers made from rock'n'roll materials – silk, denim, velvet and PU leather – all of which include the Rolling Stones logo, the iconic tongue-and-lip design, created by English art designer John Pasche.
The Zentangle method is the process of drawing structured, repetitive patterns. Supporters say it increases focus, wellbeing and creativity. "With a focus on simple mark-making as well as drawing with the intention to relax and be creative," Quarto, the publisher of this new book, says, "tangle drawing is a powerful tool for people looking to tap into their inner artist."
The book contains more than 200 tangle-inspired botanical illustrations, with written instruction on how to draw them.
Print Club London and Somerset House are collaborating on their fifth annual film poster exhibition celebrating the Film4 Summer Screen. The Dalston-based studio is inviting artists and illustrators to create screen-printed posters for the new and classic films shown at the outdoor events taking place in London this summer. The adjoining exhibition runs from 3-23 August. If you can't make it, posters are on sale here.
In her new book, Edinburgh-based manga artist Yishan Li shows you how to draw manga-style characters and creatures. You'll start with basic shapes, and learn how to turn circles, squares, and rectangles into witches, wizards, and monsters. This guide contains over 130 step-by-step drawings and more than 1,000 individual illustrations.
07. Manga art set
Faber-Castell offers one of the best manga starter sets around. Its pens use water-based ink that's acid-free, waterproof and fade-resistant. The pens glide smoothly and are smudge-resistant, with the largest pen offering a brush-like line. They are professional-level pens at an entry level price.
If you're suffering from creative block, perhaps you need to go back to basics: What does an idea look like and where does it come from? "Grant Snider’s illustrations will motivate you to explore these questions, inspire you to come up with your own answers and, like all Gordian knots, prompt even more questions,” promises publisher Abrams.
Search Press is publishing a new, up-to-date edition of Jeremy Galton's popular encyclopaedia of oil painting. This A-Z reference book is split into two sections: the first offers step-by-step demonstrations that guide artists through a variety of techniques, and the second focuses on themes and common subjects, including landscapes, buildings, portraits, still life, skies and water.
Royal & Langnickel's oil painting set for beginners is one of the best-rated around. The UK brand offers everything you need to get started, including brushes, a selection of colours, a beginner's guide to oils, and canvas boards, all housed in a compact, portable and well-made wooden box.