Art journal blog

Non creative books that help your art

Get Messy is an online art journaling school that teaches you to cultivate your creativity. Without perfection.

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We all love to read about creativity, fill our homes with beautiful giant books with art photos, patterns, and photography in them. These books are as beautiful as they are educational. But living a creative life as an artist begs for more depth and inner exploration, it needs us to arrange our lifestyles, our habits, our weekends to lend themselves to supporting our creativity.

We all have heard the stories of the disheveled, always late, not dependable, reclusive artist who creates hauntingly beautiful work. But what if we want to have a family, a clean house, go to game night every Friday night and create beautiful work in a timely manner?

That’s what we’re here for. Living a creative lifestyle sometimes leans more towards meeting deadlines than it does throwing paint around. And we mean this in the BEST way. Living a creative lifestyle is all about being a well rounded, happy human + artist.

One way we have developed this lifestyle is through reading. We both love to read and learn. We have rounded up our favorite non-traditional books that will help grow your creativity by impacting your life. Browse our lists and add a few to your bookshelf, then tell us your favorites in the comments!

Chuck Palahniuk: My all-time favourite author for a creative well filling is Chuck Palahniuk. He is an artist with his words. He doesn’t just describe what’s happening, he uses interpretive dance… through words… His books are written unlike anything else I’ve ever read and they always take me out of my comfort zone. His books are deeply unsettling, so they’re not for everyone, but my top recommendations are Fight Club (which reads just like the movie), Rant, and Choke. I created an art journal page from one of my favourite quotes from him (and from anyone else either).



Steven Pressfield: My favourite type of books to read are non-fiction. I love learning, and it always encourages me to create art even if I’m not learning art skills. I love productivity books and business tales. Steven Pressfield is a favourite author of mine and these are my top three for him:



I created an entire journal based on his book called Do the Work: Overcome Resistance and Get Out of Your Own Way. You might spot some pen marks in his book. I don’t believe that books are precious and I love adding my own marks, and notes. Doing this, and re-reading books that have my scribbles in, makes me feel like an artist.

Well designed books
I love graphic design and typography, and so I cannot say no to a well-designed book. I have books that I haven’t read but have just paged through, and taken in. Books on subjects that would never interest me can inspire a thought or an idea because of how the designer has decided to lay them out.

Book designs and layouts that have led to art are:

The Crossroads of Should and Must: Find and Follow Your Passion by #the100dayproject founder Elle Luna, which is as a bonus also directly about creativity.

Wanderful, which I discovered in Lauren’s stash, and completely fell in love with even though I wasn’t interested in the topic at all. Then there is the world’s best cover that reads like an e e cummings poem: first, we make the beast beautiful.

There you have it. Our favorite non-traditional books that help us be better artists, create more and live a life that inspires our art. What book is your favorite that doesn’t necessarily count as an art or creativity book? Share with us in the comments, we’re always looking for new books to add to our bookshelves.

Caylee Grey

Caylee Grey is the host of Get Messy and a South African perfectionist currently pursuing imperfection.