The other day I got an email from a student asking about books that I use for reference/inspiration when it come to creature design and animals of the sort. I actually get asked about books a lot so I thought I'd list some of my favorite books here in my blog in case you're interested in what I like to look at and read when it come to creatures.
Here are the books that I own:
I've had this book for years and I turn to it almost daily. It's a very simple guide to bone and muscle structure to most mammalian forms.
I recently picked this up and I love it! This book is older and the drawings inside are mostly about form and action - drawing animals in motion.
By one of my favorite creature artists, Terryl Whitlatch compiles her knowledge into a beautiful book! I've turned to this book for all sorts of anatomy questions. Not to mention its very inspiring to look through!
Same as above, an inspiring collection of creature designs from the Star Wars movies.
This book is gorgeous. I kept getting comments on The Morae River about how people were reminded of this book after looking through the project (I was incredibly flattered!) An inspiring collection of creature designs from the recent re-make of King Kong.
This was a gift and I never thought I'd really use it for reference. However, I look through it all the time! Especially for ideas on skin texture and facial expression.
Not the traditional creature anatomy book but I love this human anatomy book. The artist handles the body so well and I love the overlays inside. It really helps to see the muscle structure of the animal that is most familiar to us! ;)
Wildlife Fact Files - I got these when I was a kid. I'm not sure if you can still subscribe to them or not. They offer some photos and interesting facts about animals. They aren't extensive but are good for quick reference.
An amazing book FULL of images and illustrations! This book helps me so much!
These are small quick field guides and while they don't offer a huge amount of photo reference they offer behavioral traits which is super important when designing creatures!
Here are also a few books that are on my "To Get" List:
When it comes to referencing animals, I also like to watch Nature Documentaries. Nothing really beats seeing the animal move around in it's natural habitat doing what it does. Here is a quick list of some documentaries that I find particularly helpful and have watched too many times:
Life of Mammals - available on NetFlix Instant Watch
The Blue Planet- available on NetFlix Instant Watch
YellowStone - available on NetFlix Instant Watch
Life of Birds - available on NetFlix Instant Watch
Of course, going to the zoo and museums helps tremendously! It's something I know I need to do more of too. In any case, I hope this list is informative for those of you who might be interested in creature design and animal illustration. If you know of any books that you like to reference or share, please comment! :)