An artist doesn't work out of a vacuum. My ideas come from things that I see or dream. Yet, the ideas need to connect to the technique. The creative process has been studied by many, for example, The Five Stages of the Creative Process. I don't dwell on this, but I am sure I go through each stage. I don't analyze my process. I know that I do prep work, an idea "incubates," I do have "aha" moments, I evaluate what I'm going to do and what I need for materials, and I carry out a physical process, combining materials, technique, visuals, and the final result.
I don't often head for the myriad of art books that I have. More often than not, I have the images in my head before I start my work. A sketch, some pencil work, and I am off and running. I often work from my photographs, even if I have the objects in front of me (a still life). But art books do charge my batteries. Flipping through pages sometimes is enough to give me ideas for how to get a certain effect.
So here is my list:
I don't draw/or paint many people. Why is this my number 1? Well, for me, it's a desire to know figure drawing. As an art student at the Universidad de las Americas in Mexico, we had to draw every major muscle in the body and then overlay the skin to draw that body part. Whew. I still hear the professor: "The deltoid muscle raises the arm to a horizontal plane."
These books vary by level and are available in Paperback, Kindle, or Hardcover.
By Carrie Stuart Parks and Rick Parks. Paperback.
3. Watercolor for the absolute beginner (7 books)
By Mark Millenbrink. Available in Kindle and Paperback.
By Caroline Linscott. Assorted lessons. Paperback.
By Gordon MacKenzie. Hardcover. Intermediate.
By Claudia Nice. Kindle, Hardcover, and Paperback.
By Emma Lefebre - Paperback, Kindle, and Hardcover.
By Rosalie Haizlet. Paperback.
By Saunna Russell. Paperback.
By Marina Bakasova. Paperback.
By Peggy Dean. Paperback.
By Ann Mortimer. Paperback. 18 Books.