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Hundreds of free art e-books

Wed Apr 3, 2013, 1:38 PM
This was originally written by David J.C. Briggs on the forums. (The original post can be found here.) All credit goes to him for compiling this list, I'm just passing the word on.

The Internet Archive is a massive digital library that stores all sorts of material in the public domain, from music and movies to images, webpages and nearly three million books. All of this is open-source and available to the general public free of charge. The books documented below cover all sorts of subjects from different eras, from anatomy to portraiture, fashion to architecture, from the works of Leonardo Da Vinci to the letters of Vincent van Gogh.

And this is only scratching the surface! If you head over to the Archive and search for whatever subjects catches your interest most you can find much, much more. Just select "Texts" in the search box at the top of the page.


Bridgman, George B., 1939. The Human Machine

Bridgman, George B., 1920. Constructive anatomy

Blake, Vernon, 1927. The Art And Craft Of Drawing

Crane, Walter, 1914. Line & Form

De Laszlo, 1934. Painting a Portrait

Eastlake, Sir Charles Lock. Methods And Materials Of Painting Of The Great Schools And Masters
Volume One
Volume Two

Guptill, Arthur Leighton,1922. Sketching and Rendering in Pencil

Holmes, C. J. 1920. Notes on the science of picture-making

Poore, Henry Rankin, 1903. Pictorial composition and the critical judgment of pictures

Ross, Denman Waldo, 1907. A theory of pure design; harmony, balance, rhythm

Ruskin, John. The elements of drawing (1920 edition)

Stone, Irving And Jean, 1962. I, Michelangelo, Sculptor (Michelangelo's Letters)

Whistler, James McNeill, 1909. The gentle art of making enemies, as pleasingly exemplified in many instances, wherein the serious ones of this earth, carefully exasperated, have been prettily spurred on to unseemliness and indiscretion, while overcome by an undue sense of right.

Ludovici, Anthony Mario, 1912 - The letters of a post-impressionist; being the familiar correspondence of Vincent van Gogh

Gauguin, Paul, 1919. Noa Noa. Translated from the French by O.F. Theis

Vasari, Giorgio. Lives of the most eminent painters, sculptors & architects (complete in ten volumes).
Volume One
Volume Two
Volume Three
Volume Four
Volume Five
Volume Six
Volume Seven
Volume Eight
Volume Nine
Volume Ten

Mount, Charles Merrill, 1955. John Singer Sargent - A Biography

Marillier, H. C. 1912.
The Early Work of Aubrey Beardsley
The later work of Aubrey Beardsley

Quennell, Peter, 1955. Hogarth's Progress

Clapp, 1916 - Jacopo Carucci da Pontormo, his life and work

Panofsky, Erwin, 1955. The Life and Art of Albrecht Durer

Strange, Edward Fairbrother, 1906. Hokusai, the old man mad with painting

Whistler (lots)

Clark, Kenneth. The Romantic Rebellion

Clark, Kenneth, 1949. Landscape into Art

Panofsky, Erwin, 1955. Meaning In The Visual Arts - Papers In and On Art History

10 works illustrated by NC Wyeth

30+ works illustrated by Howard Pyle (+ 10 on Gutenberg)

28 works by, or illustrated by Walter Crane

Pen Illustration

Maginnis, Charles. Pen Drawing - An Illustrated Treatise

Sullivan, Edmund J. 1921. The Art Of Illustration

Sullivan, Edmund J. 1922. Line - an art study


Ribot, Th. 1906. Essay on the creative imagination

Rhoades, James, 1908. The training of the imagination


Dow, Arthur Wesley, 1913. Composition; a series of exercises in art structure for the use of students and teachers


Loomis, Andrew, 1951. Successful Drawing (direct download)

Storey, G. A. The Theory and Practice of Perspective (direct download)

Watson, Ernest W., 1955. How To Use Creative Perspective (poor scans)

Longfellow, William Pitt Preble, 1901. Applied perspective, for architects and painters

Miller, Leslie William, 1887. The essentials of perspective, with illustrations drawn by the author.

Great collection of scholarly articles on history of perspective


Robinson, John Beverley, 1914. Architectural Composition

Other architectural highlights include 50+ elaborately illustrated volumes of the journal known successively as Architecture, American architect and architecture, and Architectural record plus numerous volumes both on the history of architecture in general, and on specific styles including Egyptian, Greek, Byzantine, Norman, Gothic, Romanesque, Medieval, Muslim, Indian, etc.


Ellsworth, Evelyn Peters, 1917. Textiles and costume design

Traphagen, Ethel, 1918. Costume design and illustration

Leonardo Da Vinci

Clark, Kenneth, 1952. Leonardo Da Vinci An Account Of His Development As An Artist

Hind, Charles Lewis. Drawings of Leonardo da Vinci

Richter, Jean Paul, The literary works of Leonardo da Vinci (Volume 1 and 2)
The same illustrated edition of Leonardo notebooks that was reprinted by Dover.
Volume One
Volume Two

Books illustrated by Arthur Rackham

Vernon Jones, V. S.1916. Æsop's fables: a new translation

Gates, Eleanor, 1907. Good-night (Buenas noches)

Morley, Christopher, 1922. Where the blue begins

Ibsen, Henrik, [19--?]. Peer Gynt: a dramatic poem

Stephens, James, 1920. Irish fairy tales

Fitz-Gerald, S. J. Adair (Shafto Justin Adair),1896. The Zankiwank & the Bletherwitch

Evans, C. S., 1920. The sleeping beauty

Books illustrated by N.C. Wyeth

The throwback : a romance of the Southwest (1906)

Arizona nights (c1907)

Whispering Smith (1908 [c1906)

The song of Hiawatha (c1908 )

Susanna and Sue (c1909)

The long roll (1911)

Treasure Island (c1911)

Cease firing (1912)

The sampo; a wonder tale of the old North ([c1912])

Blackfeet Indian stories (c1913)

Letters of a woman homesteader (1914)

The drums of the 47th (c1914)

Nan of Music Mountain (1916)

The mysterious stranger: a romance (1916)

The black arrow: a tale of the two Roses ([c1916])

Robin Hood (1917)

The last of the Mohicans: a narrative of 1757 (1919)

Robinson Crusoe (1920)

The courtship of Miles Standish (1920)

Rip Van Winkle (c1921)

Poems of American patriotism (c1922)

Vandemark's folly (c1922)

Chapman's American Drawing Book

Chapman, J.G. (John Gadsby), 1847. The American drawing-book: a manual for the amateur, and basis of study for the professional artist: especially adapted to the use of public and private schools, as well as home instruction.
1847 edition (168 p.)
1847 edition (168 p.)
1858 edition (304 p.)
1870 edition (320 p.)

More Artists and their works

Heermann, Norbert, 1918. Frank Duveneck

Roof, Katharine Metcalf, 1917. The life and art of William Merritt Chase

Cox, Kenyon, 1914. Winslow Homer

Inness, George Jr,, 1917. Life, Art and Letters of George Inness

Hartmann, Sadakichi, 1910. The Whistler book; a monograph of the life and position in art of James McNeill Whistler

Macfall, Haldane, [1906?] Whistler

Furst, Herbert, 1920. Frank Brangwyn, R.A (woodcuts)

Sparrow, Walter Shaw, 1915. A Book of Bridges (illustr. Brangwyn)

Brooklyn Museum, 1921 - Historical paintings of the Slavic nations (Mucha's Slav Epic)

The original iteration of this article was written/compiled by David J.C. Briggs (with the aid of a couple of other members of the forums). I asked him for permission to reblog this and that permission was heartily granted.

The Internet Archive is a great resource, and I hope this points more people in their direction. There is a massive database of all sorts of material stored on their servers and they're committed to make all of that available to the general public free of charge. In addition to being a vast online library, The Internet Archive is also a non-profit organisation committed to 'keep the internet free', so that this kind of information is available to anyone who wants to learn - and not just those who can afford it.

I hope to make this an ongoing work, and that more suggestions will be made in the comments. Also, if you find some links that are incorrect or stopped working, please let me know!
Add a Comment:
iamkathybrown Featured By Owner Jun 28, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Sorry, faved and unfaved twice because I could not decide a folder. Looks awesome, thanks for bringing this to dA!
yohansachith Featured By Owner Sep 19, 2014
thanks lot :)
shnbwmn Featured By Owner Dec 9, 2013  Student General Artist
I'd just like to add, for those interested in finding even MORE books, that you can search on Not all books you find will be available for download, and some aren't strictly legal, but it is certainly worth checking out. I compiled a huge list of drawing/painting/general art books from here :)
Miziziziz Featured By Owner Jul 24, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
wow! Thanks for this!
Now I can add another 50 books to my "to Read" pile...sigh.

Do you happen to know if any of these deal with drapery/clothing drawing?
ArtByCher Featured By Owner Apr 5, 2013   Traditional Artist
This is excellent!! And I'm sure this was not a easy article to put together :D
Armonah Featured By Owner Apr 5, 2013
Ah well, David J.C. Briggs put the original article together, all credit goes to him for the hard work :)
Ninina-nini Featured By Owner Apr 4, 2013
oh wow! that's an amazing compilation of resources! thank you so much for posting this

Armonah Featured By Owner Apr 4, 2013
You are very welcome! I'm glad you like it :heart:
Brookette Featured By Owner Apr 4, 2013   Artisan Crafter
Great resource! Thanks for sharing.
Armonah Featured By Owner Apr 4, 2013
You're welcome :)
Astrikos Featured By Owner Apr 4, 2013   General Artist
Armonah Featured By Owner Apr 4, 2013
Astrikos Featured By Owner Apr 5, 2013   General Artist
Adorable icon!
Urus-28 Featured By Owner Apr 4, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Oh this is great :la:
Armonah Featured By Owner Apr 4, 2013
Glad you think so ^^
Miztliyuma Featured By Owner Apr 3, 2013
Thanks for share, we love U!:iconbrohugplz:
Armonah Featured By Owner Apr 4, 2013
No problem :)
TheOwl68 Featured By Owner Apr 3, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
WOW. Thank you kindly for this listing of free books!
Armonah Featured By Owner Apr 4, 2013
You're welcome :)
CelticStrm-Stock Featured By Owner Apr 3, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
This is incredible! :D Thank you for sharing it!
Armonah Featured By Owner Apr 4, 2013
You're very welcome :)
TheGalleryOfEve Featured By Owner Apr 3, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you so much for putting this together dear!!! :iconflyingheartsplz::iconsweethugplz::iconflyingheartsplz:
Armonah Featured By Owner Apr 4, 2013
I'm glad you thought this was useful. All credit goes to David though ^^
TheGalleryOfEve Featured By Owner Apr 4, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Ok :iconflyingheartsplz::aww::iconflyingheartsplz:
Add a Comment:

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