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The 10 Most Inspiring and Creative Books

We asked the Domestika community what books inspire them most and boost their creativity

Books have always been a great tool for creation. Not only because of the knowledge they contain, but for their ability to spark creativity. That is why, through Domestika's Instagram profile, we asked the community what their favorite books are when they seek inspiration.

Here are 10 of them, ranging from artistic compilations, to stories about personal experiences or comics:


There is an Alligator Under my Bed, ‌by Mercer Mayer

Mercer Mayer began writing and illustrating children’s books in 1966. Since then, he has published over 300 titles. A follow up to the acclaimed There's a Nightmare in My Closet, There is an Alligator Under my Bed is a wonderful children's book with great illustrations that has become a classic of the genre.

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Mayer, M. (1987). "There is an Alligator Under my Bed". Dial Books.


The Artist's Way, by Julia Cameron

This book has inspired countless artists to find creativity in moments of doubt. It's a powerful book designed to help readers combat self-doubt and pursue creative activity, not only as a trade but as a form of therapy. It teaches techniques and exercises to assist people in gaining self-confidence in harnessing their creative talents and skills.

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Cameron, J. (1992) The Artist's Way. TarcherPerigee.


Creativity Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration, by Ed Catmull

In this book, the president of Pixar and Disney Animation tells of his experience at the forefront of these companies. He explains that excellence lies in connecting the small details with the company’s shared goal: create films that make them proud; and It teaches us that creativity is not simply a source of ideas, but rather an alchemy among people.

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Catmull, E. (2014) Creativity Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration. Random House.


The Animator's Survival Guide, by Richard Williams

Considered by many to be the definitive book on animation, and written by the Academy Award-winning animator behind Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, The Animator's Survival Guide is a book based on his sold-out master classes in the United States and across Europe. In it, Williams provides the underlying principles of animation that every animator needs. Urging his readers to "invent but be believable," he illustrates his points with hundreds of drawings.

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Williams, R. (2001) The Animator's Survival Guide. Farber and Farber.


The Neverending Story, by Michael Ende

The novel that inspired the classic coming-of-age film, The Neverending Story is the classic tale of one boy and a book that magically comes to life, transporting him into Fantastica, a world only he can save. Beautifully and intelligently written, it's an ode to the power of imagination.

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Ende, M. (1979). The Neverending Story. Puffin Books.


Steal Like an Artist; 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative, by Austin Kleon

Nothing is truly original, and this book teaches you to embrace influence, school yourself through the work of others, and to remix and reimagine to discover your own path. An inspiring guide to creativity in the digital age, Steal Like an Artist presents ten transformative principles that will help readers discover their artistic side and build a more creative life.

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Kleon, A. (2012) Steal Like an Artist; 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative. Workman Publishing.


Cabinet of Curiosities: My Notebooks, Collections, and Other Obsessions, by Guillermo del Toro and Marc Scott Zicree

During the last two decades, the writer and director Guillermo del Toro has carved a niche in the popular imagination with films like Cronos, Hellboy, and Pan’s Labyrinth. In this book, del Toro reveals what inspires him, and opens up his personal notebooks, a fantastic compendium and an approach to the life and mind of one of the most creative visionaries in the world.

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Del Toro, G. (2013) Cabinet of Curiosities: My Notebooks, Collections, and Other Obsessions. Harper Design.


Show Your Work!, by Austin Kleon

Show Your Work! is about why generosity trumps genius. It’s about becoming “findable”, about using the network instead of wasting time “networking.” Filled with illustrations, quotes, stories, and examples, the book offers ten transformative rules for being open, generous, brave and productive. It’s an inspiring manifesto for succeeding as any kind of artist or entrepreneur in the digital age.

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Kleon, A. (2014) Show Your Work! Workman Publishing.


Newspaper Blackout, by Austin Kleon

Highly original, this poetry book ranges from provocative to lighthearted, and from moving to hysterically funny, and undoubtedly entertaining. The latest creations in a long history of "found art," Newspaper Blackout will challenge you to find new meaning in the familiar and inspiration from the mundane. Newspaper Blackout contains original poems by Austin Kleon, as well as submissions from readers of Kleon's popular online blog and a handy appendix on how to create your own blackout poetry.

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Kleon, A. (2010) Newspaper Blackout. Harper.


Just Draw It!, by Sam Piyasena

Guaranteed to appeal to both professionals and amateurs who like to pick up a pencil and draw. Exercises are designed to develop and improve hand-eye coordination, focus on different approaches to drawing with precision, teach rules of perspective, and much more. It's a powerfully effective art course that never feels like a set of tedious drills.

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Piyasena, S. (2013). Just Draw It! B.E.S.

These are some of the essential creativity-boosting books. Which ones would you add to the list?

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