With a lot of people staying home, we know that everyone is looking for ways to stay busy and productive more than ever. To help, we’ve put together a list of inspiring and creative audio listens that will keep the creativity flowing—in your own living room.
Take Time to Draw Like an Artist:
You Are an Artist: Assignments to Spark Creation by Sarah Urist Green; Read by Sarah Urist Green
More than 50 assignments, ideas, and prompts to expand your world and help you make outstanding new things to put into it
Curator Sarah Urist Green left her office in the basement of an art museum to travel and visit a diverse range of artists, asking them to share prompts that relate to their own ways of working. The result is You Are an Artist, a journey of creation through which you’ll invent imaginary friends, sort books, declare a cause, construct a landscape, find your band, and become someone else (or at least try). Your challenge is to filter these assignments through the lens of your own experience and make art that reflects the world as you see it.
You don’t have to know how to draw well, stretch a canvas, or mix a paint color that perfectly matches that of a mountain stream. This book is for anyone who wants to make art, regardless of experience level. The only materials you’ll need are what you already have on hand or can source for free. Full of insights, techniques, and inspiration from art history, this book opens up the processes and practices of artists and proves that you, too, have what it takes to call yourself one.
Knit While You Listen:
The Yarn Whisperer: My Unexpected Life in Knitting by Clara Parkes; Read by Clara Parkes
“Stockinette, ribbing, cables, even the humble yarn over can instantly evoke places, times, people, conversations, all those poignant moments that we’ve tucked away in our memory banks. Over time, those stitches form a map of our lives.”—From the Preface
In The Yarn Whisperer: Reflections on a Life in Knitting, renowned knitter and author Clara Parkes ponders the roles knitting plays in her life via 22 captivating, poignant, and laugh-out-loud funny essays. Recounting tales of childhood and adulthood, family, friends, adventure, privacy, disappointment, love, and celebration, she hits upon the universal truths that drive knitters to create and explores the ways in which knitting can be looked at as a metaphor for so many other things. Put simply, “No matter how perfect any one sweater may be, it’s only human to crave another. And another, and another.”
Spend Time in the Woodshop:
Good Clean Fun: Misadventures in Sawdust at Offerman Workshop by Nick Offerman; Read by Nick Offerman
After two New York Times bestsellers, Nick Offerman—woodworker, actor, comedian, and co-host of NBC’s crafting competition series Making It—returns with the subject for which he’s known best—his incredible real-life woodshop.
Nestled among the glitz and glitter of Tinseltown is a testament to American elbow grease and an honest-to-god hard day’s work: Offerman Woodshop. Captained by hirsute woodworker, actor, comedian, and writer Nick Offerman, the shop produces not only fine handcrafted furniture, but also fun stuff—kazoos, baseball bats, ukuleles, mustache combs, even cedar-strip canoes.
Now Nick and his ragtag crew of champions want to share their experience of working at the Woodshop, tell you all about their passion for the discipline of woodworking, and teach you how to make a handful of their most popular projects along the way. This book takes readers behind the scenes of the woodshop, both inspiring and teaching them to make their own projects and besotting them with the infectious spirit behind the shop and its complement of dusty wood-elves.
How to Be an Artist by Jerry Saltz; Read by Jerry Saltz
Art has the power to change our lives. For many, becoming an artist is a lifelong dream. But how to make it happen? In How to Be an Artist, Jerry Saltz, one of the art world’s most celebrated and passionate voices, offers an indispensable handbook for creative people of all kinds.
From the first sparks of inspiration—and how to pursue them without giving in to self-doubt—Saltz offers invaluable insight into what really matters to emerging artists: originality, persistence, a balance between knowledge and intuition, and that most precious of qualities, self-belief. Brimming with rules, prompts, and practical tips, How to Be an Artist gives artists new ways to break through creative blocks, get the most from materials, navigate career challenges, and above all find joy in the work.
Fun Listens For Kids and Young Adults:
Teach About Art:
This Is What I Know About Art by Kimberley Drew; Read by Kimberley Drew
In this powerful and hopeful account, arts writer, curator, and activist Kimberly Drew reminds us that the art world has space not just for the elite, but for everyone.
In This Is What I Know About Art, arts writer and co-editor of Black Futures Kimberly Drew shows us that art and protest are inextricably linked. Drawing on her personal experience through art toward activism, Drew challenges us to create space for the change that we want to see in the world. Because there really is so much more space than we think.
Take Your Kids to the Museum Anywhere, Anytime:
Dr. Seuss’s Horse Museum by Dr. Seuss; Read by Samira Wiley
A never-before-published Dr. Seuss book about creating and looking at art!
Based on a manuscript and sketches discovered in 2013, this audiobook is like a visit to a museum—with a horse as your guide!
Explore how different artists—including Picasso, George Stubbs, Rosa Bonheur, Alexander Calder, Jacob Lawrence, Deborah Butterfield, Franz Marc, Jackson Pollock—have seen horses and maybe even find a new way of looking at them yourself. Young listeners will find themselves delightfully transported by the engaging equines as they learn about the creative process and how to see art in new ways.
Dr. Seuss’s Horse Museum is a playful picture book that is totally unique. Ideal for home or classroom use, it encourages critical thinking and makes a great gift for Seuss fans, artists, and horse lovers of all ages.
Listen and Learn About Famous Artists with the Who Was? Series:
Who Was Pablo Picasso? by True Kelley; Read by Fred Sanders
Over a long, turbulent life, Picasso continually discovered new ways of seeing the world and translating it into art. A restless genius, he went through a blue period, a rose period, and a Cubist phase. He made collages, sculptures out of everyday objects, and beautiful ceramic plates. True Kelley’s engaging biography is a wonderful introduction to modern art.
Who Was Andy Warhol? by Kristen Anderson; Read by Kaleo Griffith
Best known for his screen prints of soup cans and movie stars, this shy young boy from Pittsburgh shot to fame with his radical ideas of what “art” could be. Working in the aptly named “Factory,” Warhol’s paintings, movies, and eccentric lifestyle blurred the lines between pop culture and art, ushering in the Pop Art movement and, with it, a national obsession. Who Was Andy Warhol? tells the story of an enigmatic man who grew into a cultural icon.
Enjoy even more hands-free inspiration while crafting your next handmade creation.