The Best Artists' Magazines

A roundup of my favorites from various how-to artists' magazines available.

There's a wide range of how-to and inspirational magazines for painters and artists available, whether you paint with acrylics, oils, watercolors, or pastels, used mixed media, draw, or do collage. There are magazines for artists at all levels, from complete beginners to artists wanting to improve their skills to professionals. I read several (those at the top of this list) for a boost of inspiration and sheer enjoyment of the subject matter.

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International Artist: The Magazine for Artists by Artists From Around the World

International Artist magazine
Image courtesy of Amazon

This remains my all-time favorite painting magazine. Most of it showcases practicing artists from around the world working in different mediums (painting, drawing, and printmaking), with a gallery of their work and, usually, a step-by-step demo. The emphasis is on the artist describing their approach and working process, rather than intricate how-to descriptions. There's a themed competition in each issue (which you can enter on-line), and photos of previous winners and runner's up with information on the artists' inspiration, design strategy, and working process. It's a bi-monthly magazine, giving you plenty of time to read through each issue.

PleinAir
Image courtesy of Amazon
If you're a landscape painter and interested in what other landscape artists are doing -- both results and processes -- then take a look at this magazine, whether you paint on location or not. The focus is mainly USA, but the mediums and approaches is varied. It also has articles on past artists, analyzing their work and process. More »
The Art of Watercolour (France)
Image courtesy of Amazon

Published in France in English (there's also a French edition), this magazine is a​ mixture of artist profiles and techniques, aimed at intermediate and experienced artists. It's sumptuously illustrated, as you can see in the sample issue on the publisher's website. Inspiring even if watercolor isn't your medium. More »

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The Artist: The Practical Magazine For Artists by Artists (UK)

The Artist magazine
Photo © Marion Boddy-Evans. Licensed to About.com, Inc

This British magazine is the best how-to magazine available, in my opinion, ideal for both beginners and artists wanting to expand their skills. Each month professional artists tackle both drawing and painting subjects and specific techniques. There usually also a profile of a famous artist or painting, a roundup of events and competitions in the UK, and reviews of art materials.

Artists magazines -- USA Artist's magazine. Image ©2007 Marion Boddy-Evans Licensed to About.com Inc

An American magazine, not to be confused with the UK’s "The Artist" (see no 4), though still an inspiring and helpful publication. The focus is practical and how-to; it includes all painting mediums, some drawing-related features, an "ask the experts" Q&A, exhibitions information, and pages of listings of workshops (including some outside the USA). More »

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The Pastel Journal

If you're a devoted pastel artist, this is the magazine for you. If you're only an occasional pastel users, you'll find it encourages you to pick up your pastels. Articles include artist profiles and how-tos. The downside is that it's a relatively expensive magazine, especially for overseas subscriptions (it's published in the United States), and it comes out only six times a year.

Artists and Illustrators magazine
Photo © Marion Boddy-Evans. Licensed to About.com, Inc

A&I is a colorful, large-format magazine that labels itself as "For everyone inspired by art". It combines profiles and interviews of professional artists with career-related advice, product reviews, demos and technical tips. The focus is on the UK artists and events. More »

Australia’s practical, how-to magazine, produced by the same publisher as "International Artist" (see no 1), but narrower in focus. More »

UK’s magazine for the painting hobbyist, produced by the publisher of "The Artist". The pages are packed with how-to information and technique tips aimed at developing artists, plus reviews of art materials and exhibition listings. If you are a total beginner, you'll likely enjoy the level of the projects which are set to challenge you but not be unachievable. If you're not a beginner who has just started to learn to paint, you'll likely find the information too basic. More »

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Cloth Paper Scissors

Cloth Paper Scissors mixed media magazine
Photo © Marion Boddy-Evans. Licensed to About.com, Inc

If mixed media and/or collage is your thing, then you'll likely enjoy this magazine which is focused on "artistic discovery" through projects that can use anything and everything. If you like art journaling and pushing the boundaries of where art and craft techniques meet, take a closer look. If you're a fine-art purist who likes only traditional-style painting on canvas, stay away.

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Watercolor Artist (formerly Watercolor Magic)

A magazine featuring water-based mediums (acrylic and gouache, not just watercolor), from the publishers of the USA Artist magazine.

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No Longer Published: American Artist

American Artist magazine
Photo © Marion Boddy-Evans. Licensed to About.com, Inc

This magazine got taken over by Interweave Press in mid-2008 and again in July 2012 by F&W. That publication was ceasing, after 75 years, was announced in a brief message on Facebook on 17 October 2012. The company transferred subscribers to The Artist.

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No Longer Published: American Artist Workshop

Workshop art magazine
Photo © Marion Boddy-Evans. Licensed to About.com, Inc

Aimed at painters using oils and acrylics, this is a quarterly magazine showcasing artists who run workshops. Produced by Interweave, it's focused on U.S. artists, and is a bit like looking over the shoulder of someone presenting a class.