Monday, February 5, 2018

Inspirational Books and Podcast Round-Up

With the coming of the new year I find that it’s time for me to review my goals, set new ones, and get inspired.  I usually do this by listening to some of my favorite podcasts, and reading inspirational or educational books.
Since the new year started, I’ve taken to reading a few pages from an inspirational or creative book upon waking to start my day off on the right foot.  I’ve put together a round-up of some of my favorite books and podcasts below. Feel free to share in the comments any books or podcasts for creatives that you are loving right now!


Kid Lit

  • Literaticast with Jennifer Laughran - A podcast with Jennifer, senior agent at the Andrea Brown Literary Agency, on all things in the children’s publishing world.  She interviews art directors, agents, editors and more!
  • SCBWI podcast - A podcast filled with interviews from the whole array of the kidlit industry: illustrators, authors, agents, editors, publishers etc. You must be a member of SCBWI to listen to full episodes

Note: The founders of the All The Wonders website have decided to end their project; however, the site will stay up so that people can continue to use it as a resource.  The podcasts will continue on their own respective sites, which I have listed below.
To take a listen to the archives of the Picturebooking podcast and All the Wonders, visit

  • Picturebooking Podcast with Nick Patton  - “A Podcast about creating and sharing picture books.” Nick discusses picture book creation process in interviews with authors and illustrators. I have discovered so many wonderful authors and illustrators through this podcast!
  • The Children’s Book Podcast with Matthew Winner - “Weekly Interviews with Authors, Illustrators, Up-and-Comers, and Everyone In Between.” A must listen!


  • Creative Pep Talk with Andy J. Miller - If you are an illustrator, you must listen to this podcast. Andy will pep you up with his upbeat and hilarious episodes about making a living by making great art.  Get ready for a lot of dad jokes, but also to feel all the feelings.
  • 88 Cups of Tea with Yin Chang - a podcast generally for writers, but a quick shout out to the episodes with Rebecca Green: Staying Inspired as an Artist, and Greg Pizzoli: Developing Picture Book Ideas & Diversifying Your Work as an Artist.
  • Design Matters with Debbie Millman -  Debbie is renowned in the design world and an excellent interviewer. This podcast is jam packed with in-depth interviews of the best in the creative industry. AND on her website you can filter the podcast episodes by discipline, ie illustrator, art director, writer etc. Woo! Go listen!


  • Ask a Freelancer with Andy J. Miller - If you are a freelance artist like myself, you’ll find some great tidbits in this podcast.  There are only 16 episodes, but they are worth listening to.
  • Being Boss with Kathleen Shannon and Emily Thompson - Aside from finding Kathleen and Emily incredibly entertaining to listen to, they have some great content on living your life and running your business as a creative entrepreneur. They recently updated their website so their content is super easy to browse by topic. Just head to their resource page.


  • Draw Every Day, Draw Every Way By August Wren
    As simple as it sounds.  A drawing prompt for 365 days of the year.  The book is divided into themed sections with different paper and suggested media to use.  I rediscovered my love of colored pencils because of this book. A great way to get out of a creative rut and get yourself into the ritual of making art daily.
  • Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert
    A book about finding inspiration, facing down your fears, and creating just for the joy of it. I’m a big fan of Elizabeth Gilbert because her writing is always relatable, humorous, and poignant. You’ll definitely want this book on your nightstand.
  • Get It Done: From Procrastination to Creative Genius in 15 Minutes a Day by Sam Bennett
    I can’t say that I am a creative genius after reading this book, but it seriously helped me define what my true creative goals are and how to break them down into manageable tasks. I think all artists should have this book.  In fact, I think it’s time for a re-read.
  • Daily Rituals: How Artists Work by Mason Currey
    A fun light read comprised of short passages about the daily rituals of artists, scientists, writers and more.  From Jane Austen to Picasso, Woody Allen, and Benjamin Franklin. I’m constantly striving to find the “right” daily ritual for me to produce my best work, and this is a great book to find a little inspiration in how other artists have worked.
  • The Creative Habit: Learn it and Use It for Life by Twyla Tharp
    A book that is inspirational and useful to artists of all mediums. Another book about the importance of ritual, doing the work, and getting out of your creative rut. Each chapter ends with a straightforward exercise to help you on your creative journey.
  • Art Inc.: The Essential Guide for Building Your Career as an Artist by Lisa Congdon
    A no-nonsense guide on building your career as an artist.  This book talks about the nitty-gritty - from licensing, copyright, diversifying your income, to working with an agent.  There is so much great information in here.  I also highly recommend taking a listen to any podcast interviewing Lisa Congdon - in fact, one of my favorite podcasters, Andy J. Miller of Creative Pep Talk, has one!
    Listen here:
    Find her book

Hope you find some new things here to get you inspired!

Alexandra Thompson

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