ELL have a thread of this topic in their meta. Photo.se have this sort of thread on their main site.



Since there are hundreds of books and sites out there, i wish to weed out the weeds so that we spend money on something worth while.

May we also have such a thread? It would be helpful to have it on the main site since many people do not visit meta.

It can be community wiki.

Many people do not participate in chat so they will be left out if someone knowledgeable suggests in chat.

  • FWIW, I was giving recommendations in chat the other night
    – user24
    Commented May 20, 2016 at 1:44
  • I know and I was sad because I don't read chat much and therefore I was feeling left out @CreationEdge so I think it will be better if we a dedicated thread somewhere on the main site where people can actually benefit from the knowledge of the experienced. Commented May 20, 2016 at 1:48

2 Answers 2


I really don't think there's any way for us to do this that will be useful.

Even the one you reference on ELL is incredibly out of date and cites some very questionable resources... without having someone to curate this list who actually knows what they're talking about... it will not be very useful.

Plus, there are so many different crafts on this site, we'd have to have one for every different craft... which means we'd have dozens of different "resources" pages that all have to be curated by people who are familiar with the resources and keep them up-to-date.

They're also highly subjective. Everyone has their own favorite resources... there are potentially hundreds of possible items on these lists, which make them less than useful, particularly considering the limitations of our format.

If you want help finding a resource, you should use the internet to find one, talk to a librarian, or even ask in chat... but maintaining these lists sounds like a bad idea.

  • I have specifically reduced the question only to drawing and painting. That scope is limited. Commented May 20, 2016 at 17:01
  • Not really. We're a site for ALL crafts. Just because you've limited the scope of this specific question doesn't mean that every version of the question for every craft couldn't be asked. There's no reason to have dozens of meta requests for lists of resources that will all have the same answer from me. We need to decide it once, not dozens of times. Nothing about my answer changes if you reduce the request to drawing and painting only.
    – Catija
    Commented May 20, 2016 at 17:06
  • I meant that if drawing and painting has a limited scope then we can have a thread for their books and useful sites. Commented May 20, 2016 at 17:26
  • You are missing my point. The scope of the list is irrelevant. My answer doesn't care what the subject of the resource list is - it can be one type or a dozen - all of the issues above exist regardless of scope.
    – Catija
    Commented May 20, 2016 at 17:32

I'm always reluctant to have list Q/A, simply because there are so many resources. Curation of such a list needs to be done (a) regularly in case links expire and/or new resources are available, and (b) by a dedicated subject matter expert. In an artistic field, this becomes even trickier because the potential for different opinions about "best" technique and "best" results may vary widely, as well as different artists having unique approaches and backgrounds (and therefore perhaps no knowledge of a really ideal book for beginners). There is also a technical challenge of community wikis, in that new users don't always use them properly and sometimes add an answer instead of editing the wiki. It can rapidly become disorganized.

Worse, A&C has a broader scope than many other StackExchange sites. This is by design, and isn't bad, until we try to look at compiling a "best resources" list. Even if we limit the scope from "all arts & crafts)...

Arts (& Crafts)
    ----> Painting (and Drawing and Sculpting...)
        ----> Oil paints (and acrylic and watercolor...)
            ----> Landscapes (and portraits and still life...)

Between tutorials, websites, and books, there are probably a long list of resources available just for landscapes using oil paint. Therefore the list of possible lists is fairly long, only multiplying the complexity of organizing and maintaining such a reference library.

Perhaps a different approach would be asking whether a given book is a good resource before deciding to buy it.

I am considering purchasing Oil Landscapes For Newbies by Some Painter. Since it's expensive, I wanted to know what techniques it covers and whether I'll really learn what I want from it...

  • Would asking for a book review be acceptable on the main site? Commented May 21, 2016 at 0:25
  • 1
    In my opinion, yes, as long as you are specific about what to learn. "Is it good" is opinion based and broad, whereas "does it explain basic techniques" is answerable. (It may be worth a new meta question to make sure the community agreed with me, though!)
    – Erica
    Commented May 21, 2016 at 2:56
  • I do understand that but in that case I can ask about every book I find on amazon. Will that be really acceptable? Commented May 21, 2016 at 3:00
  • In theory I don't have a problem with it. In practice, you'd get quicker results either searching for a site that does compile lists of recommendations, or asking in Arts & Crafts Chat...
    – Erica
    Commented May 21, 2016 at 3:03
  • 1
    Or ask on Amazon directly. They have item specific Q&A on every item they sell and people who have purchased the item are notified when new questions are asked, so between reviews, previews (if available) and questions, you shouldn't need to ask questions like this here.
    – Catija
    Commented May 21, 2016 at 15:54

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