As an artist and teacher, I often find myself surrounded by curious minds, all yearning to embark on or continue their creative journey. One question that frequently pops up is, ‘Could you recommend any books that will ignite my imagination?’ Join me as I delve into the treasure trove of five books that have shaped my artistic practice and at times even helped me overcome creative blocks.

Unlock the hidden potential:
‘Change your mind’, Rod Judkins

inside page of 'change your mind' by rod judkins

Imagine a world where creativity knows no bounds, where your mind is a playground of infinite possibilities. In ‘Change Your Mind’ Rod Judkins reveals the 57 habits of some of the world’s most creative people. With his unique approach and insightful anecdotes, Judkins guides you through the maze of self-doubt and encourages you to challenge established conventions: he asserts that the gift that creative people have is that they believe they are creative, and because they think they are creative, they are creative.
This is a book that will unlock your creative genius whether you’re trying to start your own business, create art or come up with new ideas at work. My own copy is well thumbed and full of post-it markers as I keep going back to it again and again!

Embrace Your Inner Picasso:
‘You Are an Artist’, Bob and Roberta Smith

you are an artist, bob and roberta smith

This book takes us back to a time when art was unapologetically bold and unafraid to challenge the status quo. ​‘You are an artist’ serves as a gentle reminder that creativity is not confined to the realm of experts but resides within each and every one of us. Through a series of lessons about the nature of art and inspiration that include playful exercises and thought-provoking prompts, this book will ignite the spark of imagination within your soul and harness your own artistic capabilities. Whether we like it or not, says Bob and Roberta Smith, we have been enrolled in the world, and the world is an art school. You are an artist, because every human being who has ever lived was once an artist.

Unleash the Power of Imagination:
‘What It Is’, Linda Barry

what it is, lynda barry

​Be transported into a world where words and images dance together in perfect harmony. Lynda Barry’s ‘What It Is’ is a whimsical journey into the depths of the creative psyche. With its vibrant illustrations and introspective musings, this book serves as a guide to unlocking the hidden treasures of your imagination through storytelling and visual expression. A captivating visual memoir that takes us on a playful journey through the artistic mind, this book has inspired me countless times and I’m pretty sure it will have the same effect on you.

Dance to the Rhythm of Creativity:
‘Free Play – Improvisation in Life and Art’, Stephen Nachmanovitch

Dance to the Rhythm of Creativity: ‘Free Play - Improvisation in Life and Art’, Stephen Nachmanovitch

In ‘Free Play’, violinist Stephen Nachmanovitch invites us to embrace spontaneity and let go of our inhibitions. By blurring the lines between art and life and exploring the connection between improvisation, art, and life itself Nachmanovitch encourages us to tap into the wellspring of our creativity. Drawing inspiration from the realms of music, dance, and theater, this book will empower you to embrace your inner child and infuse your artistic practice with a sense of freedom and playfulness. I have found it a constant source of inspiration and wisdom through the years – my copy lives on a shelf that is right by my desk as it’s one of those books I keep re-reading.


Find Inspiration in Unexpected Places:
‘Come Alive! The Spirited Art of Sister Corita’, Julie Ault

sister corita

Step into the vibrant world of Sister Corita Kent, as beautifully depicted in Julie Ault’s ‘Come alive!’. This book is a celebration of Corita’s spirited approach to art, blending pop culture, spirituality, and social activism. Through colorful imagery and insightful commentary, we are invited to share Corita’s infectious energy and channel it into our own creative endeavors. Julie Ault’s homage showcases Corita’s unique techniques, bold colors, and powerful messages of love and hope. Come Alive! is all about social change and artistic revolution, reminding us to find inspiration in the everyday. If you’re interested in creating art that responds to current events in culture and politics you’ll love this book.

I hope these five books ignite your passion and help you overcome any creative blocks standing in your way. They have all been instrumental during my own creative journey and provided useful guidance through the labyrinth of self-expression.
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Happy reading!

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Gabriela Szulman
My work is often humorous and whimsical – unless my romantic side takes over and then we enter into a fairy-tale territory of old-fashioned script, pages of books and music scores populated by chivalrous gentlemen, glamorous ladies, butterflies and rabbits. Read more…
Would you like to explore your creative side? I use the wonderful techniques of decoupage and collage in much of my work, and now I can teach you how to create your very own masterpieces! Read more…

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