Some of the books are no brainers and others are bargains for a treasure. Maybe you passed on some of these books when they were new and at a premium, but if you are patient some books can cost as little as one cent. Starting with a few amazing deals (all prices are as of this writing).
The Art of Star Wars Episode I
Fantastic artbook. Whatever you might think of the movies themselves, this book is full of great drawings and concepts by Change, McCaig and Whitlatch. Gorgeous landscapes and inspiring character and creature designs.
Used starting at $13
The Art of Star Wars Episode II
Another great art book. More great concepts, and some very strong landscape concepts. Excellent addition and if you buy the first one the collector's itch will make you want this one too.
Used starting under $3
My Adventures As an Illustrator
I believe that I have shared this book before but the prices are back down. If you love Rockwell, read this book. Written by Rockwell, it gave me a great appreciation for his work. Rockwell's life wasn't always reflective of his work. He faced challenges and doubts and periods of creative drought. The level of celebrity that he achieved in life was remarkable and it is interesting to read of a bygone era where illustration reigned supreme. Great book and read on a remarkable man.
Used copies starting at $.01
Norman Rockwell Illustrator
In my opinion this book is a must for any illustrator. Great practical working information (and they must have printed a zillion of them because you can almost always find a copy for $.01). Get this one while you search for a deal on Rockwell on Rockwell.
At least 8 copies for $.01
This book has some excellent reproduction in it, of classic Rockwell paintings. But it also has a great collection of the photographs that he used to reference many of his paintings. It is informative to see how Rockwell used the information a tool, but never a master to his hand. He was interpreting the images, not being a slave to them. Great addition to an illustrator's bookshelf.
Used starting at $5
I love the Disney Art of Books. They are usually filled with great concepts and are like a master class on color theory. You get to see the thought process of the color design through the concepts and how color affects mood and tone. They can really fluctuate in price, jumping from a few dollars to over a hundred depending on the timing. Here are a few with pretty good prices as of writing this:
The pastel concept paintings in this book by Dominique Louis are gorgeous. They are rich and full of color. The sculptures are beautiful too.
Starting at $15 used.
The Art of Big Hero 6
This is the one book on this list that I don't own, but it looks like a great one.
Used starting at $8
The Art of The Incredibles
I loved the art style of this movie, an can't wait for the sequel. Many of the concepts are almost minimal, focusing on silhouette and shape. Some are made from cut paper and have great whimsy, like those of Edna 'E' Mode. Much of it reminds me of the illustrations I saw in old text books and children's books. Especially the 'World Book' collections, if anyone else remembers those. Check out this Pinterest board for some examples of what I mean. I love it.
Used starting at $14
The Art of Finding Nemo
More gorgeous pastel paintings and one of the most beautiful color scripts of any movie. Lots to learn from this book on color harmony and how lighting affects color.
Also some fantastic black and white illustrations by artist Simon Varela. I met Simon once. He was interviewing for a job and I was the Art Director. We quickly decided that he was WAY over qualified for the job, but I spent the next hour looking over some beautiful transparencies of his work.
Used starting around $9
The Art of Frozen
I just received my copy of this book today. There are beautiful character concepts and set designs, but the landscape concepts are just fantastic.
At least 5 used copies under $5
The Art of Wall.E
Lots of cute and appealing concepts. Not my favorite of the Disney Art books, but still a great addition.
Used starting at $5
Definitely not a Disney book. :) McGinnis seemed to only paint leading men and women. All rugged heroes and long legged models, but done with great skill and imaginative compositions. I find most of his work fascinating, and the detail in some of his egg tempera paintings is so appealing. Arnie Fenner wrote a great post on him a few years back.
New copies for $24
The Art of Tom Lovell
I have shared this book before, and all the cheap copies were snatched up. The price has come back down. One of the treasures of my bookshelf.
Used copies for $10
The reproductions in this book aren't great. But there is enough there that the book is still worth it. Pyle's work always inspires my imagination.
Used starting at $5
Visions of Adventure: N.C. Wyeth and the Brandywine Artists
This book does have some good reproductions of Pyle, at least better than the book above. It also has prints of Wyeth, Dunn, Schoonover, and Cornwell. Great book and it has come down in price significantly.
Several used starting at $10
Finishing off with a couple more Star Wars books:
The Art of Star Wars, Episode IV - A New Hope
Where it all began. Some of the classic images by Ralph McQuarrie and others. I think the concept work was excellent, but it is also neat to compare and contrast it with the more recent books. Different approaches with similar goals.
Several used copies for under $3
This is such a remarkable book. Every time I look through it I am amazed at both the drawing skills of Terryl Whitlatch and her knowledge of animal anatomy that she uses to create believable alien creatures. If you like drawing critters, this book is a must.
The used hardcover starts at $3