Check It Out: Art Books, Movies, and Podcasts

Get inspired by books, films, and podcasts about creators.
By Tamika Diaz
Check It Out: Art Books, Movies, and Podcasts

Whether you’re an aspiring singer, visual artist, writer, designer, or storyteller, you need inspiration. Sometimes, inspiration comes from other people. Sometimes, it comes from your experience. 

Check out the artists featured in these books, movies, and podcasts. What inspired them? One thing they all have in common is that they followed their passion. What’s yours?


  • Women in Art: 50 Fearless Creatives Who Inspired the World, by Rachel Ignotofsky Read about 50 women artists and the journeys they took to create their work. The book is lavishly illustrated and filled with short biographies of women of assorted generations and artistic techniques. Recommended for ages 9 and up.

  • My Name Is Jason. Mine Too,by Jason Reynolds and Jason Griffin This book is brought to you by best-selling author Jason Reynolds and painter Jason Griffin. It’s about two friends named Jason, and includes lots of the art and writing that brought them together. It’s also available as an audiobook, read by the authors themselves. Recommended for ages 12 and up.

  • The Seventh Most Important Thing, by Shelley Pearsall This novel follows the story of Arthur T. Owens, a 13-year-old boy who winds up in juvenile detention after throwing a brick at the Junk Man. The Junk Man is James Hampton, a real-life artist. You’ll have to read it to find out more! Recommended for ages 10 and up.

  • Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art, by Scott McCloud The second you crack open this book, you’ll realize it’s different. This is not your everyday how-to book, written in steps. Instead, it’s presented in a way that will make perfect sense to aspiring comic artists. Let’s just say that if you’re interested in graphic novels and storytelling, this book is for you. Recommended for ages 13 and up.


  • The Pixar Story (2007, G) Did you ever wonder how a lamp became a mascot? In this documentary, learn how an artist, a scientist, and an entrepreneur collaborated to make Pixar a household name. It was not an overnight success: Pixar had its share of failures before achieving the level of success it enjoys today.

  • A Ballerina’s Tale (2015, 13+) This beautiful documentary details the story of Misty Copeland, the first Black woman to become the American Ballet Theatre’s principal ballerina. Hear directly from Copeland herself as you follow her to practice and rehearsals.

  • Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go for It (2021, 14+) Moreno discusses what life was like growing up Latina in New York City. She found her place with dancing, just like she did when she was young in Puerto Rico. Her career spans more than 70 years. This movie shows how she broke barriers and paved the way for Latinx generations to come.


  • Girls Make Beats Girls Makes Beats is a nonprofit organization that inspires young girls to be DJs, music producers, and audio engineers. Its podcast delves into topics that are relevant to girls ages 5 to 17. Listen to the podcast and jump on the website to explore student leadership, mentoring, and many other opportunities.

  • ArtCurious Join Jennifer Dasal as she interviews art historians, curators, and other art experts. Her questions are posed in a way that lets you feel as if you’re in the room during the interview.