My book recommendations!
You ask me a lot about which book as are my favorite or what books you should buy for studying. I explained a little bit about my way of using books for learning (giving a few examples of books) in this video.
Here are a few examples of good books to use as reference material, especially if you aim for an art style similar to mine:
The Art of the Wind Rises
ジ・アート・オブ 風立ちぬ (ジブリTHE ARTシリーズ)
This is just an example of the THE ART series of art books published by Studio Ghibli. All of them are great reference material, especially that they contain a ton of various content from sketches, concept arts, character designs, backgrounds, etc. If you can get the ones written in English, there is also a lot of precious knowledge in the texts explaining the reasoning behind all of the visuals. Some of the books are only in Japanese, but I recommend them too if only for the illustrations.
Shinkai Makoto Work "Kimi no Na wa. (Your Name.)"
A great sample of what can be achieved with digital tools in the realm of landscape painting. A book consisting mostly of backgrounds for the animated movie brimming with knowledge and great examples. I have been referring to the older Makoto Shinkai movie’s art books a lot when learning how to paint scenery digitally. The book always provides a few good examples for solving the problem at hand.
Oga Kazuo Animation Studi Ghibli Artworks
男鹿和雄画集 (ジブリTHE ARTシリーズ)
This book is an excellent compilation of works by the lead backgrounds artist for some of the Studio Ghibli’s most famous movies. You will find here not only complete background paintings but also watercolors, sketches, pencil drawings and more, topped with inspiring interviews and articles.
The backgrounds are great, but I like the rough works featured in this book even more and would like to learn to sketch like Oga Kazuo one day!
Onibi: Diary of a Yokai Ghost Hunter
An exquisite example of a comic book entirely colored with watercolors! If you would like an example of how this medium can be used to convey atmosphere, emotion, and a story I would recommend to start here. Also, if you like Japan with all its tradition and a bit spooky atmosphere, you will enjoy the tale too. Made by our "partners in watercolor crime" Atelier Sento - if you like my works, be sure to check their stuff!
The Electric State
This art book contains a lot of beautiful digital illustrations connected by a coherent story. I recommend it for anyone who wants an excellent example of the "cinematic look" used in paintings for building atmosphere and the feeling of movement.