Ten of My Favorite Business Books for Artists

Often when talking with my fellow illustrator friends the discussion will turn to thing about running a business and we’ll offer tips from experience and books we’ve read on the subject. Remember, If you are an illustrator working for yourself, then you are a business. I don’t particularly like the term ‘freelance’. I run a children’s market illustration business. 

Here are some of my favorites. I have read each of the these books, sometime multiple times, and recommended them many times. They aren’t in any particular order. No matter where you are in your career the little tips, words of wisdom, mindset, business knowledge, etc. will be valuable to you. There’s an amazon link so you can peek inside the book. I think most of these should be available at a library as well. Happy reading!

$100 Start Up by Chris Guillebeau

Reinvent the way you make a living, do what you love, and create a new future. This book discusses being small and scrappy with case studies on how many businesses got their start.


Steal Like An Artist by Austin Kleon

Short and sweet book about being creative and thoughts on that topic. There are two other books, Show Your Work and Keep Going are great and also quick reads. I recommend all three but if you had to pick one, Steal Like An Artist is it.


Creativity, Inc. by Ed Catmull

Overcoming the unseen forces that stand in the way of true inspiration. I’m a big fan of Pixar, not only for their artistry, but for their storytelling. Ed Catmull talks about business methods employed at Pixar to protect creativity and let it flourish. All great things to keep in mind when you have to wear all hats as a solopreneur.


Deep Work by Cal Newport

I loved this book on focus. With modern connectivity comes a lack of focus which gets in the way of “Deep Work”. The book offers tips and stories on what deep work is and how it can be achieved for focused success.


The 4 Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss

I don’t believe illustrators will ever have a 4 hour workweek. That wasn’t my takeaway from this book. However, it is filled with new thinking on what work is and what it should be, business practices, life hacks and offers food for thought on setting up your own career schedule.


Art, Inc. by Lisa Congdon

Lots of practical advice, case studies and business advice in this one specifically for artists. Lisa has a new one out now called Find Your Artistic Voice: The Essential Guide to Working Your Creative Magic which I am looking forward to reading.


How to Fail at Almost Anything and Still Win Big by Scott Adams

Scott Adams has tons of practical advice on all kinds of topics in this book. Scott is the cartoonist creates Dilbert, so it is also packed full of humor. Scott has a sharp wit and uses it to offer a unique point of view. He discusses his comical failures and how he put them to use in his successes.


Creative, Inc. by Meg Mateo Ilasco & Joy Deangdeelert Cho

Another book filled with lots of practical advice on running a creative business.


The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey

Money is often an uncomfortable subject but one that is necessary. Getting finances in order is key to running a success business and in your personal life as well. I really like the simple, straightforward thinking in this book.


David and Goliath by Malcom Gladwell

I have enjoyed all of Malcom Gladwell’s books, but this one is my favorite. When things seem insurmountable it is hard to remember that being the underdog, the misfit can often be to your advantage. Great thinking in this book.


Well, that’s it. Hope you enjoyed this list and let me know any recommendations you have!

7 Great Kids Picture Books for Shark Week!

Here are some of my favorite Sharky books to celebrate shark week! Nothing to be scared of, just some fin-tastic fun!

Nugget and Fang
Author: Tammi Sauer
Illustrator: Michael Slack

One of my very favorite pictures books! I’m a fan of Tammi Sauers writing and also of Michael Slack’s colorful, quirky and fun art. Nugget the minnow and Fang the shark’s friendship is tested when Nugget learns that sharks eat minnows and also that he is apparently delicious. 


Flip & Fin: Super Sharks to the Rescue!
Author: Timothy Gill
Illustrator: Neil Numberman

Faster than a sailfish, tougher than a clamshell! Flip and Fin the sand tiger shark twins save the coastline from a nefarious foreign object just like their favorite TV superheroes!


Shawn Loves Sharks
Author: Curtis Manley
Illustrator: Tracy Subisak

Shark loves sharks, but isn’t too crazy about Stacy. It’s Predator Day at school and she just got assigned the great white shark. Shawn’s favorite animal. And what did Shawn get assigned?


Shark Lady
Author: Jess Keating
Illustrator: Marta Alvarez Miguens

The true story of scientist Eugenie Clark, who believed sharks were beautiful, misunderstood creatures. I share that view with Eugenie. A great story packed with fun shark facts!


I’m a Shark!
Author & Illustrator: Bob Shea 

I love Bob Shea’s sense of humor. I’m a Shark explores how cool it is to be a shark and how they aren’t afraid of anything. Well, almost. I won’t mention it here because it would be too scary.


Shark vs Train
Author: Chris Barton
Illustrator: Tom Lichtenheld

A little healthy competition is good for everyone, right? What about when Shark and Train compete in pie eating, piano playing and burping? Who will win?


Clark the Shark
Author: Bruce Hale
Illustrator: Guy Francis

Clark is super-excited about school and most things, really. His zeal gets to be a little much to endure for his new schoolmate and his teacher Mrs Inkydink swims in to help him relax a bit.  


Picture Book Field Trip: Shorty & Clem and Caring for Your Lion

I read some really fun books on my field trip this week! Here are my favorites:

Shorty & Clem by Michael Slack

A fun little story about patience and friendship. Michael Slack is one of my favorite illustrators. I became a huge fan of his after his work on Nugget and Fang, which is one of my very favorite books! 

A package arrives for Clem and Shorty's imagination goes wild imagine what it could possibly be. He badly wants to open it, but doesn't want to upset Clem. Finally, Clem can't take it anymore and opens the package and has to admit to Clem. I won't tell you the ending :) Really fun story and great art! 

Shorty & Clem
By Michael Slack
Caring for Your Lion
By Tammi Sauer

Caring for Your Lion by Tammi Sauer, Illustrated by Troy Cummings.

My family has enjoy many of Tammi's books as they are always imaginative and fun. This book reads like an instruction manual when a boy who's expecting a kitten receives a lion instead! Tammi's words are embellished with the awesome art of Troy Cummings. I'm a big fan of Troy as well. Super fun book. I ain't LION. :) 

Picture Book Field Trip: Holly's Day at the Pool, Way Past bedtime, Sea Monkey & Bob

Most Tuesdays I take a field trip: I got to the bookstore and read the new picture books. It gets me out of the studio and into the world for a bit and educates me on the latest books being published. The library is a great resource for older books I may have missed and I am a frequent visitor there as well. So I read a LOT of picture books! Recently I was on a walk with my 3 year old in the park and ran into some other parents doing the same. They asked me for picture book recommendations. This happens often to me and I thought my blog would be the perfect place to formally put my recommendations. So here it is: my first installment of my Picture Book Field Trips!  

Holly's Day at the Pool by Benson Shum

Holly the hippo imagines the worst: icebergs and icy water, penguins and seals! Her imagination bursts at every turn, making it harder and harder for her to step foot in the pool. Until she get the chance to be a hero. Holly may be scared, but she is a very brave girl.

I actually got to read this book back in February at the SCBWI NY conference when I met Benson. I was instantly impressed with Benson's adorable, playful characters and the theme of being brave even when you're a bit afraid. Super cute book just in time for summer! 

Way Past Bedtime by tara lazar, Illustrated by rich wake

Bedtime is Joseph’s least favorite time of day. When his parents tuck him in at night, Joseph imagines all kinds of things that he’s missing out on: big parties, hot-fudge fountains, exotic animals, and more.

But there is only one way to find out if what he imagines is actually true—and bedtime super-sleuth Joseph is determined to discover what happens way past bedtime.

This is a really fun book and packed with Rich's artwork. 

Way Past Bedtime
By Tara Lazar

Sea Monkey & Bob by Aaron Reynolds, illustrated by Debbie Ridpath Ohi

Bob the puffer fish and his best buddy Sea Monkey may be little but they’ve got one ocean-sized problem. Sea Monkey’s terrified he’ll sink straight to the bottom of the ocean. After all, he’s heavy, and all heavy things sink, right? Bob on the other hand is worried that his puffed up frame will float up above the surface. He’s light, and all light things float! How will they stay together when the forces of gravity are literally trying to pull them apart?

I've been a fan of Aaron Reynolds since Creepy Carrots (which is awesome too - highly recommend). Another fun, playful story with fun, playful artwork. I'm a sucker for silly and this book is full of it! 

See you next week! 

Sea Monkey & Bob
By Aaron Reynolds