I've identified these by going back over the listings I do for Makingamark's Top Ten Fine Art Books - which are revised each month. (The post about the Top Ten Art Books in December follows on Monday)
Note that these books were best sellers in both the USA and UK. Their relative position has varied over the course of the year hence I'm not attributing relative places per se and have listed them below alphabetically by title.
Click the titles to see more.
Color and Light: A Guide for the Realist Painter by: James Gurney (Gurney Journey)
- USA: 388 days in the top 100 arts books #1 in Books > Arts & Photography > Painting
- UK: n/a days in the top 100 art books (currently ranked #20 for painting after 14 months but it has been a lot higher)
- Amazon USA reviews: 5.0 out of 5 stars (67 customer reviews) | Like (157)
- Amazon UK reviews: 4.7 out of 5 stars (15 customer reviews) | Like (21)
Ranked #1 BEST SELLER in the Top 100 Painting Books - BEFORE it was published in November 2010 on the strength of pre-publication sales - it has now pretty much stayed at or very near the top ever since.HIGHLY RECOMMENDED: Read my Book Review: Color and Light by James Gurney.
This book was both the most popular book about painting and the top rated book about painting in 2011 for a few months. It remained at the top of one or the other (as per my definitions of what's an art book!) for the whole of 2011.
It's very rare for an art book to maintain an average rating of 5 stars on Amazon as the numbers of reviews increase and yet that's what this book did in 2011.
It also got the The Best Book by an Art Blogger Blue Ribbon from me.
One of the things I really like about this book is that it was conceived, written and designed by an artist who drove the production process. It's not a publisher's book per se - it's an artist's book. As such it is full of first-rate content and had been marketed well in advance of its publication through the very good use of content appearing on Gurney Journey
Art book publishers please note! I'm very sure there will be more from other artists. Maybe it's time to review the nature of the publishing contract between artist and publisher?
The Artist's Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity [10th Anniversary Edition] by Julia Cameron
An international bestseller, millions of readers have found it to be an invaluable guide to living the artist's life.Publisher
- USA: 1950 days in the top 100 arts books
- UK: 1736 days in the top 100 art books
- Amazon USA reviews: 4.3 out of 5 stars (217 customer reviews) | Like(40)
- Amazon UK reviews: 3.9 out of 5 stars (12 customer reviews) | Like(0) +
4.3 out of 5 stars (48 customer reviews) Like(13) for the earlier edition
I guess quite a few of my readers have got this book on their shelves somewhere.
The Hare with Amber Eyes: A Hidden Inheritance by: Edmund de Waal
- USA: 188 days in the top 100 arts books and #1 in Books > Arts & Photography > Other Media > Ceramics
- UK: 383 days in the top 100 art books and #1 in Books > Art, Architecture & Photography > Sculpture at year end
- Amazon USA reviews: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (71 reviews) | Like (36)
- Amazon UK reviews: 4.1 out of 5 stars (170 reviews) | 1 customer discussion
It's also won
- 2011 Ondaatje Prize, winner.
- 2011 JQ Wingate Prize, shortlist.
- 2011 ALA Notable Book.
- 2010 Costa Book Awards, winner (Biography).
- 2010 Galaxy National Book Award, New Writer of the Year
- 2010 Amazon.com, Best of the Month, September
- 2010 The Economist, Books of the Year list
Do also take a look at the Edmund de Waal Netsuke Gallery to see the real thing and the rest of the collection.
The New Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain by: Betty Edwards
- USA: 1764 days in the top 100 arts books
- UK: 1632 days in the top 100 art books
- Amazon USA reviews: 4.4 out of 5 stars (241)
- Amazon UK reviews: 4.3 out of 5 stars (53)
Sometimes I think this book has been around forever and that it will go on forever. It is republished with a new edition every few years and the big news is that a fourth edition is due out in April. This book has been consistently in the top three books about drawing on Amazon. It's also been the best selling book about drawing for a very long time. The only time it drops out of the charts is when Amazon is messing with its formula.
Latterly one gets the impression people are awaiting eagerly for the 4th edition - at which point it often gets rebought all over again!
Wall and Piece by: Banksy
- USA: (n/a) days in the top 100 arts books - Was consistently in the top 100 in the USA until the advent of music books and calendars at the end of 2011 made the top 100 for art completely meaningless!
- UK: 1828 days in the top 100 art books
- Amazon USA reviews: 4.8 out of 5 stars (102 customer reviews) | Like (105)
- Amazon UK reviews: 4.6 out of 5 stars (88 customer reviews) | Like (18)
Which is your favourite?
I own four of these books and I'm guessing quite a few of you have got at least one.
But which is your favourite or the one you'd most like to have?