Is there an artist inside you? Whether you make your living through your art or are a passionate amateur looking for expression, Inktober is your month. Professional illustrator Jake Parker started the Inktober tradition in 2009 to challenge himself to “improve my inking skills and develop positive drawing habits.” Now he invites artists to join him during the month of October by posting a drawing a day with the hashtag #Inktober.

But sometimes getting jumpstarted requires a little inspiration, so here are some of our favorite books to dial up your artistic inspiration.

The Steal Like an Artist Journal: A Notebook for Creative Kleptomaniacs by Austin Kleon (Workman; October 6, 2015)

Steal Like an ArtistA-emblemKleon’s Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You about Being Creative was a national bestseller that inspired artists of all mediums to learn and grow through creative kleptomania. This follow-up is packed with exercises to take you to the next level.




The Curious Nature Guide: Explore the Natural Wonders All Around You by Clare Walker Leslie (Storey; September 8, 2015)

Curious Nature coverB-emblemLeslie, the author of Keeping a Nature Journal, knows that sometimes the best inspiration is found in nature. This beautifully illustrated guide points you toward inspiration from the sky, the sea and life all around us.




A Bowl of Olives: On Food and Memory by Sara Midda (Workman, 2014)

Bowl of Olives coverB+I’m a huge fan of Sara Midda’s journals. The books’ simplicity with their tiny watercolor sketches capture the essence of life in the South of France.





Drawing is Magic by John Hendrix (Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 2014)

Drawing is Magic coverA-emblemWacky, weird and wonderful, Hendrix book will have you observing and drawing as never before. His exercises will free your creativity and find your visual “voice.”




Syllabus: Notes from an Accidental Professor by Lynda Barry (Drawn & Quarterly, 2014)

Syllabus coverA-emblemThe great cartoonist lets you peek inside her journal full of the mad joy of creating.





The Art of Mistakes: Unexpected Painting Techniques and the Practice of Creative Thinking by Melanie Rothschild (North Light Books, 2014)

Art of Mistakes coverB-emblemRosthschild pairs the kind of painting techniques that make you want to get your hands dirty with nuggets of wisdom about the creative process.




My Favorite Things by Maira Kalman (Harper Design, 2014)

Favorite Things coverA-emblemThe darling of the New Yorker and New York Times (and people with good taste everywhere) returns with a hand-painted journal of the things she loves from the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum’s reopening. It’s a catalog of desire and a new way of seeing cherished objects—in Kalman’s unique style.



An Illustrated Life: Drawing Inspiration from the Private Sketchbooks of Artists, Illustrators and Designers by Danny Gregory (How Books, 2008)

Illustrated Life coverA--emblemEver dream of being able to peek inside the greatest artistic minds on the planet? Gregory’s collection of great sketchbooks—brilliant, endearing, personal and quirky—provides a kind of reassurance that there are endless ways to be an artist. And your way counts, too.