10 Beautiful Books for Creative Thinkers

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Whether you’ve been bursting with big ideas you don’t know what to do with or you’re feeling a creative slump, take heed. Here are ten beautifully designed books for visual learners, creative thinkers, and arty types who need a kick in the pants to get motivated and express themselves to the fullest.

Brownie’s Guide to Expertly Designed Ideas

Described as “the world’s first dictionary for defining ideas,” the Brownie’s Guide helps you apply “the power of deductive description to your original thinking.” First spotted on Trendland, the book helps elevate your ideas to next level greatness in a way befitting visual thinkers.

Whatever You Are, Be a Good One

Marie Curie, Harriet Tubman, Stephen King, Joan of Arc, and other luminaries offer words of wisdom and calls to action, accompanied by beautiful, hand-lettered art from indie creator Lisa Congdon. A tactile, embossed cover invites you to flip the pages to your heart’s content.

Sketchbook With Voices

Sketchbook prompts and other creative assignments from 60 authors and artists like Cindy Sherman, Chuck Close, and John Baldessari (compiled by painter Eric Fischl and art critic Jerry Saltz) that encourage exploration. The book includes space to draft ideas or complete the work within. It’s a “postmodern spin on the classic artist’s journal.”

Creative Workshop

An endurance test for your design-minded brain, Creative Workshop offers 80 challenges in various media to push your ideas into action. Create a typeface in an hour, redesign an old print ad, or make a paper robot. Stories, design inspiration from other creators, and more awaits.

Syllabus: Notes from an Accidental Professor

Lynda Barry is a painter, cartoonist, writer, illustrator, playwright, editor, commentator, and teacher — so she knows a thing or two about mapping out creative ideas. Here, she joins collage, ballpoint pen doodles, and other fragments of inspiration on yellow-lined pages to inspire your own writing process and search for the creative voice within.

Breakthrough!: Proven Strategies to Overcome Creative Block and Spark Your Imagination

A plague on your house, creative block! Thankfully, there’s Breakthrough! to get us past that pesky period, from San Francisco-based designer and musician Alex Cornell. Cartoonists, photographers, writers and other creative thinkers offer different solutions to your problem — including a few weird and unexpected pieces of advice like “eat spicy food.” That’s something we can comply with.

Artists, Writers, Thinkers, Dreamers

The fascinating lives of 50 famous figures illuminated by awesome annotated illustrations. It’s basically an “almanac and cultural literacy cheat sheet” full of fun facts and an inspiring collection of biographical tidbits. It’s said you can tell a lot about a person by what kind of stuff they keep around them — and Artists, Writers, Thinkers, Dreamers backs that statement up, proving why these personalities are loved and remembered.

1 Page at a Time: A Daily Creative Companion

For when you need a little hand-holding on the daily, here are 365 prompts to draw, write, reflect, and list all the stuff swirling around inside your beautiful brain.

Wild Ideas: The Creative Problem-Solving Strategies of Different Animals, in Illustrated Dioramas

Wild Ideas proves we are not the smartest animals, after all. Gorgeous illustrations by Soyeon Kim detail how orangutans, whales, and other beasties solve problems. It’s an intersection of art, science, and creativity that inspires wonder and will hopefully clear your mind for your next great idea.

The Sketchnote Handbook

A way to decipher your doodles and turn them into something you can actually use.