In celebration of International Women's Day we've rounded up five inspiring art books by a selection of our favorite authors in our community and beyond. The scope of each book ranges from profiling contemporary artists and art therapy to exercises and advice that will help you boost your creativity. Use these as recommendations for what to add to your art library or gift to your art-loving bestie. Want to learn even more about the authors? Check out interviews with Danielle Krysa, Volta Voloshin-Smith, Leah Guzman, and Maria Brito on The Create! Podcast.

A Big Important Art Book (Now with Women)

1. A Big Important Art Book (Now With Women): Profiles of Unstoppable Female Artists and Projects to Help You Become One by Danielle Krysa aka The Jealous Curator

Celebrate 45 women artists, and gain inspiration for your own practice, with this beautiful exploration of contemporary creators from the founder of The Jealous Curator.

Walk into any museum, or open any art book, and you'll probably be left wondering: where are all the women artists? A Big Important Art Book (Now with Women) offers an exciting alternative to this male-dominated art world, showcasing the work of dozens of contemporary women artists alongside creative prompts that will bring out the artist in anyone!

This beautiful book energizes and empowers women, both artists and amateurs alike, by providing them with projects and galvanizing stories to ignite their creative fires. Each chapter leads with an assignment that taps into the inner artist, pushing the reader to make exciting new work and blaze her own artistic trail. Interviews, images, and stories from contemporary women artists at the top of their game provide added inspiration, and historical spotlights on art "herstory" tie in the work of pioneering women from the past. With a stunning, gift-forward package and just the right amount of pop culture-infused feminism, this book is sure to capture the imaginations of aspiring women artists.

2. Watercolor Snacks: Inspiring Lessons for Sketching and Painting Your Favorite Foods by Volta Voloshin-Smith

Relax and take a bite out of this tasty guide to creating watercolor paintings of your favorite treats! Watercolor Snacks is for food lovers, beginning artists, and anyone who wants to explore the world of watercolors through easy and accessible prompts and exercises. This colorful guide walks you through basic watercolor techniques and how to apply them to create beautiful, delicious-looking paintings.Noted artist and instructor Volta Voloshin-Smith details everything needed to create mouthwatering images for every meal of the day, from a syrup-drenched stack of golden waffles and steaming cup of coffee at breakfast to a brightly colored sprinkled donut and a rainbow of popsicles for dessert. This first-ever watercolor food guide also includes:

• Easy watercolor tips, tricks, and techniques

• Recommended supplies (the “ingredients”)

• Color theory basics

• Maximizing mindful benefits of watercolor

• How-to lessons for 30 foods from breakfast to dessert

And much, much more! Whether you’re a beginner interested in learning a fun new skill, or an experienced painter ready to explore a fun new subject, this book will give you everything you need to create adorable paintings.

3. We Are Here: Visionaries of Color Transforming the Art World by Jasmin Hernandez

Confidently curated by Jasmin Hernandez, the dynamic founder of Gallery Gurls, We Are Here presents the bold and nuanced work of Black and Brown visionaries transforming the art world. Centering BIPOC, with a particular focus on queer, trans, nonbinary, and BIWOC, this collection features fifty of the most influential voices in New York, Los Angeles, and beyond. Striking photography of art, creative spaces, materials, and the subjects themselves is paired with intimate interviews that engage with each artist and influencer, delving into their creative process and unpacking how each subject actively works to create a more radically inclusive world across the entire art ecosystem. A celebration of compelling intergenerational creatives making their mark, We Are Here shows a path for all who seek to see themselves in art and culture.

We Are here book cover Jasmin Hernanez
Cover, We Are Here published by Abrams Books

4. How Creativity Rules the World: The Art and Business of Turning Your Ideas into Gold by Maria Brito

Learn to make creativity work for your career. Anyone, regardless of who you are or what you do, can cultivate the habits, actions, and attitudes that inspire creativity and foster innovation. Creativity is the key to innovation in any business. How Creativity Rules the World shows that, despite contrary beliefs, creativity is an inexhaustible resource that can be learned by anyone.

This timeless guide promises to make the creative process of billion-dollar entrepreneurs and successful seven-figure artists accessible and actionable for you. With revealing studies and stories spanning business and art, this book is a deep dive into history, culture, psychology, science, and entrepreneurship; analyzing the elements used by some of the most creative minds throughout the last 600 years.

  • In How Creativity Rules the World, you will learn how to:
  • Overcome limiting thoughts and dispel myths about creativity.
  • Understand creativity through concrete data, historical passages, and examples of modern entrepreneurship.
  • Develop timeless habits, principles, and tools that worked six centuries ago and continue to work today.
  • Employ creativity in an everyday context to produce extraordinary results.

Contemporary art curator and writer of the popular newsletter, The Groove, Maria Brito discovered the power of creativity when she transitioned from being an unhappy Harvard-trained corporate lawyer to a thriving entrepreneur and innovator in the art world. After applying the principles in How Creativity Rules the World to her own business, Maria started teaching struggling professionals, ranging from entrepreneurs to artists to CEOs. Proven by her students’ creative successes, Maria will guide you to strike gold with your ideas as well.

There has never been a more crucial time than now to develop your creativity and your ability to innovate. Coming up with original ideas of value is today’s most precious skill.

Maria Brito book cover creativity rules the world
Cover, How Creativity Rules the World

5. The Art of Healing and Manifesting: Creative Exercises for Living in Abundance by Leah Guzman, ATR-BC

Do you enjoy making art?

Are you interested in learning how to heal and release emotional wounds?

Would you like to learn how art can be used to manifest the life you desire?

This book is designed to guide you in healing the wounds that have stopped you from showing up as your most authentic self.

The creative exercises are designed to self-reflect, create new avenues of abundance, listen to your soul's calling to manifest your desires. Your soul wants to experience life. You have been gifted with the desire to live a full and gratified life. It's your choice to answer the call.

As an artist and art therapist, I created this book to offer law of attraction principles, sacred chakra knowledge, and my own art therapy techniques used in practice. The creative exercises are used as tools to find alignment. Every area of your life is reviewed in order to level up (from healing your relationship with money to expressing your gifts with the world). Everything in life is interconnected. Have fun with the prompts and enjoy the journey. The art directives give guidance as challenges arise. By the end of this book you will have a series of chakra inspired paintings, tools for healing, and ways to shape your dreams through creative practice to manifest your ideal life.

The art of healing and manifesting book Leah Guzman
Photography by Celia D. Luna