My Favourite Art and Design Books of 2018

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Today I am going to share some of my favourite art and design books from 2018. In past years these posts have been more broad, focusing on fiction and non-fiction books. However this year I’ve found myself having less time for reading because of university. Coincidentally I have also bought myself more art books this year for that same reason.


Hand Drawn Maps by Helen Cain

This is a book I was given for Christmas last year and I love it. Hand Drawn Maps is a ‘how to’ guide on hand-drawn cartography. It starts out with a brief history of maps and mapmaking before covering everything you need to know to create your own maps. This ‘how to’ part is split into five sections which are further divided into small projects which you can work through at your own pace. It covers everything from the elements which make up a map to typography and creating stylised maps. I really love this book and my only problem is that I don’t have enough time to work through all the projects it contains.

Winnie The Pooh: Exploring A Classic

Winnie The Pooh: Exploring A Classic accompanied an exhibition at the V&A in London of the same name. This exhibition featured original drawings and manuscripts for Winnie The Pooh and The House At Pooh Corner written by A A Milne and illustrated by E H Shepard. The exhibition explores the working partnership between Shepard and Milne, who worked collaboratively on the Winnie The Pooh stories. I really enjoyed visiting this exhibition so was excited that I could take a little part of it away with me. This book gives a really fascinating look at the creation of Winnie The Pooh and also from a designer’s perspective is a really well-made book.

The Art of Coco

I’m pretty sure when I was applying to university books about the art and design from films was one of the things I talked about. I love these sorts of books and Disney does really good ones. I bought The Art of Moana a few years ago and that is beautiful too. The Art of Coco goes in depth into the design process behind the Pixar film. It includes concept sketches, character designs, storyboards and colour scripts. As a design student, these are a really useful way to get inspiration. The art style of Coco was beautiful so it’s also nice seeing a behind the scenes look at how the filmmakers made this movie.

In Progress by Jessica Hische

Jessica Hische is an illustrator and type designer, In Progress, gives an insight into her sketchbooks and technical process used when creating her award-winning hand lettering. This book contains everything from original sketches to the full process of creating pieces of work for large well-known brands. I’ve been trying to do more hand lettering over the last year so seeing the work by Jessica Hische is really inspiring.

Harry Potter: A History Of Magic

This was another book which accompanied a museum exhibition, this time at the British Library. A History of Magic takes readers on a journey through the subjects studied at Hogwarts from Divination to Herbology. It features artefacts from the British Library and other collections from around the world. It also includes exclusive manuscripts and sketches from the Harry Potter archive. A History of Magic was one exhibition I didn’t get to see in person during 2018 but this book was a good replacement for it.


And that was my favourite art and design books from 2018. I’ve only read a few fiction books this year, 6 according to Goodreads. But seeing as how I’ve already written full reviews of those books, I didn’t see the point also including them in this list. If you were wondering Record Of A Spaceborn Few by Becky Chambers was my favourite fiction book from 2018.


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