10 'how-to' books for creatives

My bookshelves are overflowing; everything from art books to tech manuals, and right on through to writing guides. Yes, I'm a book lover. It's no secret. But I'm also a creative that needs help.

Free ebooks are great, but more often you want a physical tome to refer to. In this round-up, I share some of my favourite books I use when I need a little help being – well, creative. Some of these books are already on my shelves, while others have a special place on my wishlist.

01. Universal Principles of Design

How to books for creatives

One of my all time favorite design books, the Universal Principles of Design, covers everything you need to know in order to be a good designer. The best part, it's a great book for designers in any industry. William Lidwell breaks things down into bite-sized pieces from the 80/20 rule to Occam's razor. If you're a designer, this is a must-have book.

02. Show Your Work! 10 Ways to Share Your Creativity and Get Discovered

Show Your Work! is a book about self-discovery in which Austin Kleon shows you the importance of getting your work out there. In this book, Austin provides tips on being brave and productive. Don't let another day go by, get out there and use the network.

03. Anything by Christopher Hart

Okay, full disclosure: Christopher Hart is my absolute favorite. He makes drawing fun! It doesn't matter if you're just starting out, or have been drawing all your life, Christopher's books provide a fantastic experience. If you want to find out more about Christopher Hart, you can listen to him on Episode 15 of the Roundabout: Creative podcast.

04. Trust the Process: An Artist's Guide to Letting Go

How to books for creatives

Letting go is difficult for many Creatives. Yet in this book, Shaun McNiff asks you to do that very thing – let go. He asks the reader to trust the process, even in the face of hopelessness. Artists at all levels will be able to relate to this book.

05. How to Write Anything: A Complete Guide 1st Edition

How to books for creatives: How to write anything: A complete guide 1st edition

Writers! This one's for you. Laura Brown's book, How to Write Anything, is, as the title suggests, a book on how to literally write anything: letters, resumes, emails, you name it – this book has it all. There are more than two hundred how-to entries included in this book. Brown even discusses which medium to use: e-mail or pen and paper.

06. Drawing Dragons: Learn How to Create Fantastic Fire-Breathing Dragons

Dragons and fantasy characters are fun to draw, and Sandra Staple takes you step-by-step through the process. With this book, you can skip the fancy tools and digital workspace; learn how to draw a dragon using only a pencil and some paper. That's right! Sandra takes us back to the fire-breathing basics.

07. Unstuck

Okay, technically this isn't a book. But let's be honest, sometimes breaking the rules is a lot of fun – so is getting 'unstuck'. With Unstuck Tip Cards, you can get tips on, you guessed it, getting unstuck. Maybe you're having trouble with your creativity or productivity? Perhaps you've been procrastinating? Each tip card deck includes bite-sized tips to help you get unstuck. Oh, did I mention there's an app?

08. Making Ideas Happen: Overcoming the Obstacles Between Vision and Reality

How to books for creatives

We all have ideas, but how many of those ideas are we able to make happen? In this book, Scott Belsky presents a systematic approach to creative organization and productivity. He shows you how to execute your ideas and make them happen.

09. Art, Inc.: The Essential Guide for Building Your Career as an Artist

How to books for creatives

Professional artist, Lisa Congdon, believes artists don't have to starve while building their business. In this guide, you'll learn everything you need in order to run a successful business; from licensing your art to promoting it through social media, Art, Inc. has you covered.

10. What Do You Do With an Idea?

How to books for creatives

I saved this one for last; and yes, it's a bit different than the others. In fact, this is a children's book written by Kobi Yamada and illustrated by Mae Besom. It follows the life of an idea: plant a seed; watch it grow; and know that any idea has the power to change the world. This book is a fantastic way in which to learn how to nurture and shape our ideas – regardless of the reader's age. By far, this is my favourite book on the list.

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Tammy Coron

Tammy is an independent creative professional, author of Apple Game Frameworks and Technologies, and the maker behind the AdventureGameKit – a custom SpriteKit framework for building point and click adventure games. As an innovative problem solver and industry leader, Tammy enjoys working on projects from content creation – including books, tutorials, videos, and podcasts – to the design and development of cross-platform applications and games. For Creative Bloq, she has written about an array of subjects, including animation, web design and character design.