Books about Murals

The Art of Illusion  A Trompe L'oeil Painting Course 

ISBN 1-58180-097-5 by Janet Shearer

the Art of Illusion book review This was the first book on mural painting that I ever read (and bought!), and I was blown away by the possibilities. Shearer spends a fair amount of time teaching perspective, which can be really tedious and boring, but she actually makes your work easier if you take the time to learn the basics, and she goes through several methods and gives little tricks. Most artists I know eyeball the whole thing more than they actually work out the geometry, but there may be times the more complicated methods are necessary.  She goes through common tools really well, including those that are really most useful, and describing their uses in a  way that's easy to understand.  While some of her fabulous murals may seem intimidating, they all contain elements that I use in almost all my work, and I learned many of my standard techniques from looking at this book over and over again.  Clouds, waves, stone, cracks, floors that continue on from real floors, and folds in fabrics were just some of the skills I learned largely through studying Shearer's work.
A beautiful book for reference and learning or just to enjoy her work!

The Trompe l'Oeil Home

ISBN 0-8230-5446-2 by Roberta Gordon Smith

Gordon-Smith highlights lots of specific projects here, rather than teaching a lot of mural painting basics. There are a few pages of general painting advice, and it is hepful. She really focuses on trompe l'oeil, obviously, although there are some projects, like the Space Scene, that really don't fit into the trompe l'oeil category. There are fairly specific instructions for at least one technique in each of the paintings, so it's a good reference to learn new skills.  Her style tends to be a little more soft focus. I specifically learned a lot more about layering a landscape scene, painting folds and flowing fabric, and lots of architectural details. This book is especially strong on architecture-she shows how to make  faux wood panels, stone pediments, niches and archways completely come to life. Highly recommended for the slightly experienced painter, or a beginning mural painter who has some art skills already.

How to Paint Murals and Trompe l'Oeil

ISBN 1-58180-030-4 by Victoria Ellerton with Simon Brady

How-to-Paint-Murals-and-Trompe-loeil-book-review Some very specific projects, even including the color palettes and a paint directory. Some of these projects are more out of the ordinary, like the black  people silhouettes (very cool-even inspired me to convince a client to let me use that technique) and a stylized night sky with a city skyline silhouette (still trying to find a place for that idea...). Alot of these designs are really modern and graphic, while others are soft and flowing. There are just a few examples of actual trompe l'oeil, but they are impressive. There are several pages of practical advice, and a nice section at the end of inspirational photos from many different artists in many styles. Some of these inspirations are so good they may intimidate any but the most talented and experienced artist. If you are looking for murals that do not fit into the standard landscape or garden plan, this just might be the book for you.

Marvelous Murals You Can Paint

ISBN 0-89134-969-3 by Gary Lord and David Schmidt

Some really good techniques taught here, like clouds, rocks, wood and mountains and a sunset sky.  There are actually several ways presented to do clouds, with special attention to doing clouds with a spray gun, which would probably be considered a pretty advanced technique. This is the first book I have found that gets into topics like scaffolding, which I would also think is more for a slightly experienced painter. There are sections on color, perspective, tools, and a nice discussion of room preparation, which can often be overlooked but is critical to your success. A small chapter on stencilling is included, which can be very helpful if you are intimidated by just starting to paint on your own.

Decorate Your Home with Trompe l'Oeil  

ISBN 08069-7141-X by Jocelyn Kerr Holding

Decorate-Your-home-with-Trompe-loeil-book-review Beginning with the origins and history of trompe l'oeil, Holding's book covers alot more than just mural painting. There's a very large section on color theory-probably more than the beginner would care about, but its very well done.  Her chapter on perspective breaks things down exceptionally well, and shows how different perpsectives can be useful in different kinds of paintings.  This part would be great for someone just starting out in murals. The sections on technique are broken down into single skills, and also very carefully demonstrated.  I really liked that she showed how to imitate several different kinds of stone and marble, which would be especially helpful in faux painting furniture.

The Painted House

ISBN 0-8212-2454-9 by Graham Rust

The-Painted-House-book-review Wow.  Definitely not for the beginning painter,  unless you are able to be totally inspired and not intimidated by someone else's talent. I have to assume the point of this book is to get your  imagination going, and opening you up to the infinite possibilities of mural art. The average person would not have a home that could accomodate this kind of painting, and only the very lucky professionals get to work on this scale.   The subjects range from a shellfish feast to an Egyptian doorway to Mardi Gras in Haiti!  There is very little instruction, but a lot of description and explanation. However, if you want to look at examples of some masterful and gorgeous work, you will fall in love with this book.