Art books are my Red bull. My energy boost generator!

TIP 171 Art books are my red bull, my energy boost generator. The design sketchbook - Product and Industrial design sketching tutorial

I went to the famous book shop in Singapore: Kinokuniya.
They have a huge Art & Design corner where you find books about Product design, architecture, fashion, packaging, tatoo, figure drawing, calligraphy… It’s a paradise of learning content and inspiration.


Did you know there is an other corner that most people ignore ?

It’s the Film corner, also called entertainment. You will learn all about movies: Story telling, sound capture, story-boarding, movie composition… and especially what makes me super excited: the Art books! 

Artbooks Rio UP Kung Fu Panda 3.jpg

99% of the art books are wrapped in plastic. Don’t be shy, ask for unwrapping. They will be glad to assist you. I guess I unwrapped about 15 books in total.

The art of…

An art book is often call: The art of “Name of the movie”. Like The art of Rio, The art of Kung Fu Panda 3, The art of Up.

You will find inside a lot of behind the scene sketches from the designers and animators. You will discover the original ideas, the seed from where the artists took their inspiration from.  You will see how they took inspiration from history, nature, animals… how they create the characters features fitting the personalities.

Like in product design, everything make sense and is relevant to a story.

Russel UP art of.png

Research about Russel

I always want to see black and white sketches, the inkwork. This is where you feel the initial feel of the artist. The mistakes, the iteration, basically the evolution of his work on paper. There is something magic thinking that all started from a simple pen and a blank paper. We should not only congratulate the drawing skills, but the imagination behind that is so much more powerful.

Art of Up .png

Kids in UP

Art books are my Red bull. My energy boost generator!

I can just open an artbook I love to refill my energy instantaneously. This is how I keep dreaming at getting a crazy level but still remained grounded telling me that I got to work harder to reach higher levels.

Learning art and design is a journey, and our most precious energy are Passion and Motivation. We need to take care of them. A great way to keep feeding them is to get inspired from others, and admire them!


The art of Ratatouille.jpg

The art of Ratatouille

Some people may feel discouraged or maybe jealous – looking for excuses. “Oh, they are naturally talented.” “Oh they have time to draw 24 hours a day.”.. “Oh … bla bla bla” 😛 Haha. It’s a human behaviour to naturally protect ourself. But from what?


I basically prefer to live with postivity and embrace all these example of success as an opportunity. I want to feel gratitude to all these talented artist who did great stuff before us – so we could learn from them. They are showing us the way, so we can follow their path.

Movie corner.jpg

Next time you go to a library, visit the Film/entertainment corner !

I have a preference for the animation artbooks from Pixar and Dreamworks – as they are super generous in sketches. Basically, they intorduce each character one by one, then the sceneries and environment. It’s amazing to take a bit of time to appreciate all the details in the scene – that make them so fascinating.

Kung Fu Panda 3 art books.jpg

The art of Kung Fu Panda 3 (Would be curious to open the 1st and 2nd to see the evolution). The 3rd movie was so beautiful!

Build your designer mindset

You will find inside the artists’ personal notes, and know more about the creative process. It helps building your designer mindset as a creative person. You will slowly “build that feel” that the day you meet other designers – even though you may have different opinions, you are on the same page.  This is where passionate conversation start!

up character simple form.jpg

Simplexity, how simple things can actually tell a lot!

Below is a compilation of sketches from Darren Quach. “I got his book at the How to draw robots corner.” I remember sketching something in a cafe while looking at his Instagram account.  I hashtaged him, he saw and commented my sketch. Hehe so cool!

Darren Quach Art book c.jpg

Inkworks Volume 1. I already wonder how the Vol.2 will look like!

Darren Quach Art book b.jpg

Darren Quach is making an infinite number of sketches.

Darren Quach Art book a.jpg

It inspires me to keep working harder and maybe one day create my own book as well :).

Physical books vs Pinterest

I believe getting physical books is a much better motivation factor than websites – as they remain on your shelve, your desk, or elsewhere visible. It’s a good reminder of your passion and what you study/work for.

I mean, Instagram and Pinterest are amazing and have infinite content – even though I record a lot of them in my library of inspiration pictures – but they still need to take action to get them visible – while a book is there to tell you anytime of the day: “Hey let’s sketch !!” 😀

Let me know what the art books inspire you the most in the comments. I wanna look at them. Thanks!

See you!


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About The Author


If the sketching methods I’ve acquired aid me in my life and in my career, I believe that they can also help you to learn, and help you with your projects. Whether Design is a job or a hobby it doesn’t matter, so long as you do what is important to you.


  • Martijn

    Reply Reply April 28, 2016

    Great to see you and I have a similar fettish 🙂
    I have ‘The art of 25 years of Pixar’ and some of the ‘art of star wars’ books. Super inspiring and motivating books! You should also watch ‘the Pixar story’. Just saw it last week and felt greatly inspired by seeing this documentary.

    • Chou-Tac

      Reply Reply April 28, 2016

      Hey great having your comment on the blog Martijn. 🙂
      I seldom go on Linkdin actually.

      I’ll try to see where I can get the Pixar story documentary.
      Thank you!

  • Pascal

    Reply Reply April 23, 2016

    The Art of Toriyama Akira – The World Special Art Book (Akira Toriyama)
    Revolutionary Road (Luis Quiles)
    The Art of Alvin (Alvin Chong)
    Dragic Master Special Book (Robert Labs

    • Chou-Tac

      Reply Reply April 23, 2016

      Awesome collection you have. Of course Akira Toriyama is also one of my favourite ! Used to draw so many when I was a teen. I guess you did as well ? 🙂

      • Pascal

        Reply Reply May 7, 2016

        Sure!! I wanted to be a mangaka when I was a teenager. 😀

  • Renata

    Reply Reply April 22, 2016

    Cool your shopping !!!
    thanks for this information Chou-Tac.
    bye bye
    I run to draw !

    • Chou-Tac

      Reply Reply April 23, 2016

      Merci Renata 🙂
      Un jour j’aimerais avoir une biblioteque enorme de livres !

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