Books That Inspire Me (Photo Books)


Hello everyone, this post is part two of the books that inspire me and you can read part one here. But this post will encompass all of the graphic books that I draw inspiration from. This includes fashion books, art books, photography books, etc. Flipping through these books is very therapeutic but I don’t have the time to often pause and flip through one at a leisurely pace. I would like to be able to find more time to do this considering there are probably over two hundred of those books in this house but there just are not enough hours in the day… But alas here today I give you the books that I have been able to really look through.


For the bulk of these books I could probably divide them into two categories. One being film art books and the other being fashion books, but a few others make their way into the pile. And let me disclaim that these are all books that are purely visual for the main part. Natural dye books that are both educational and visual (as well as other books like) and that is a whole other kettle of fish so that might be another post.


I will start off with the first books that I started collecting which is the Hayao Miyazaki Art of Books. Each of his films gets their own Art of book complete with background paintings, character sketches and more! Before art school I collected these like mad. I couldn’t get enough of them.


The first one I got was when I was ten and my parents bought a used copy of the Art of Kiki’s Delivery service for me in New York. And that was the only book I had for a few years but then as time when on I began accumulating them. And at one point I went to the extent of ordering a few of them from Japan as they were never translated into english.

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As much as I love these books they did serve more of a use before I started art school. Back then I would copy the backgrounds when I was learning to use water colours. I chose them as I saw them as spaces that I wanted to emulate… They gave me a sense of escapism that I didn’t think I was capable of doing on my own.

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But now I have since then learned how to copy/apply my watercolour skills to my own images… Or to photos I have taken o be more exact haha! But these books are still very inspiring to me as they display the genius of Oga Kazuo. He is the man who has done many of the Studio Ghibli film backgrounds. There is a certain ethereal calmness to his background paintings that I find captivating. It is also interesting to see the concept sketches for the characters and such.


This year for my birthday my Dad gave me this Marie Antoinette book. To be honest despite my french skills I still have yet to read this book. So far I have just enjoyed the wonderful photos. The story and aesthetics of Versailles has always intrigued me, from the Fragonard style paintings to the fanciful fabrics and decadent life style. I know it was all too lavish but to imagine it is nice. I would like to have been a fly on the wall during those times. 


This photo of tailors sitting on tables fabricating is one that stands out to me as is seems so desperately romantic (although I’m sure the real tailors most likely did not feel the same). Also it reminds me of Beatrix Potters Taylor of Glouster.


And after some quick research I have discovered that this common depiction of tailors is because it was a comfortable, communal and practical way of working. Sitting cross-legged was supposedly the most comfortable position for them, sitting on the tables helped keep the fabrics off the floor and out of the dirt, the large windows gave maximum natural light, the tailors could sit in a circle and work on larger pieces together, etc. Either way this just sounds deliciously fantastic to me!


The fashion books that I look at inspired the pattern that I made last summer and the way in which I have altered it in my many renditions of the pattern (some of the alterations were inspired by internet images). Also this house is filled with too many fashion books to count so I will give a plethora of images of inspiration, as it would take far too long to go through each book one by one. But a basic breakdown of how I look at these books is that I look to them as pattern inspiration and I apply that to my practice. But I also look through them and get inspired by the wonderful tambour embroideries and finishes, as I do not quite have the patience for doing that for my own needs.







When you compile all of these images together in the end you get do get a true sense of the aesthetic I like and try to emulate in my contemporary way. Well until next time!




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