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Listen Up: 12 Podcasts For Better Creative Thinking

The best free podcasts to improve your photography, design and illustration skills.

Next time you’re commuting between jobs, running on the treadmill or even eating breakfast, try filling the time with a podcast that’s directly geared towards your creative career and artistic inclinations. Our favourite shows sound more like a conversation with good friends, than a school lecture. Plus those “good friends” just happen to be famous celebrities and masters of their crafts.

Our favorite podcasts range from art world news to learning techniques specific to photography, design and illustration. Whether you’re just starting out or well-established in your field, these are the shows that will spark inspiration. You know those days where your eyes are weary from staring at a screen? It’s the perfect opportunity to turn on a podcast from PetaPixel, NPR or The Jealous Curator and close your eyes to let your ears do some of the work for once.

Here are our top 12 podcasts for better creative thinking:

Photography

PetaPixel Photography Podcast

Mike “Sharky” James spent many years as a photojournalist and now hosts this podcast to share the knowledge he’s gained with others. Catch the show twice weekly on PetaPixel in order to stay up-to-date with the photography industry. Keeping things light with a humorous tone, Sharky goes through topics ranging from product reviews to photography-related news (for example, discussing the photographer who started a copyright suit against Donald Trump). What puts this podcast on our hit list is the variety of episodes—from news items about photographers to “how to” tutorials.

Listen to it here

The Candid Frame Podcast

The Candid Frame features interviews with professional and fine art photographers, who share photography advice and discuss their creative process. Interviewees have worked for a wide range of publications and come from all over the world. Questions specifically have to do with what inspires these artists and what their thought processes are from the beginning to end of a project. The hope is to inspire listening photographers through stories of what inspires other great artists.

Listen to it here

Tips from the Top Floor

A tried and true podcast from the early days of the medium, this one has it all—host Chris Marquardt will keep you in the loop about new technology. He gravitates to timely industry advice with useful tips from photographer interviews. Recent guest Valerie Jardin, for example, talks about finding the perfect moment to take a shot on the street that tells a story.

Listen to it here

Design

The Deeply Graphic Designcast

This podcast goes through a different topic each week to give professional advice for freelancers and in-house designers alike. Topics range from creative ways to find new clients to tips for making your workflow more efficient. Industry guests like Apple consultant Brett Nord give their take on the topic of the week and every podcast includes time to answer listener questions.

Listen to it here

Greyscalegorilla

Listening to a podcast about your work doesn’t necessarily have to feel like work. The Greyscalegorilla Podcast, which is geared towards people working in motion graphics, offers information in an engaging, fun way by answering questions from listeners. The entire show is literally constructed through listeners themselves. Really, this is the best way to make sure that listeners are learning what they need to know most. Host Nick Campbell gives advice on how to get a job and keep it, as well as some talk as to what to do if you’re already there.

Listen to it here

Resourceful Designer

It’s not all about the craft anymore, something Mark Des Cotes of the Resourceful Designer podcast understands. Everyone has to be a businessperson these days, and Des Cotes will share his tips on how to do just that. Look through these episodes to listen to advice on how to deal with the business side of design—whether managing clients, or tools and resources for everyday.

Listen to it here

Illustration

Chris Oatley’s ArtCast

Hosted by former Disney character designer Chris Oatley, this is the most popular illustration podcast on iTunes. Oatley, who also offers courses in digital painting and visual storytelling, uses his design knowledge to offer advice on topics relevant to artists and illustrators. He also features discussions with industry pros from companies like Pixar and Dreamworks. He has a deep belief that if people are passionate about the industry, they should go for it. He wants others to know how to break into the industry and how to stay relevant once they get there.

Listen to it here

Escape From Illustration Island

Hosted by illustrator Thomas James, this podcast is no longer running, but with 81 episodes, there’s lots of material to listen to. It features interviews with illustrators, art directors, art reps, and other creative professionals to offer advice about working in illustration. Many episodes have the entire time devoted to one big name illustrator. Although this may not fit with the times, where we are all expected to have 30-second attention spans, it gives viewers a chance to get some real insight into the details of their professions.

Listen to it here

DrawnToday

Many podcasts and radio shows bring in people who are veterans of the industry. Often seen as the best people to give advice due to their success, by only interviewing established people, there is a big chunk of information missing that you can only garner from emerging talent. Illustrators who have recently cracked the industry give practical advice on DrawnToday to those trying to make a start, because they were just there. These discussions include topics such as the skills needed for specific genres and breaking down the art scenes of different cities.

Listen to it here

Fine Art

Fine Art: NPR

Tune into NPR for this well-rounded fine art podcast. It does what NPR does well: news. This is for the person that needs to understand what everyone is talking about at gallery openings and industry events. You will never be the stupid one nodding your head but not really knowing what’s going on if you simply keep up with these shows. Episodes might be simple interviews or wacky art stories about famous artists.

Listen to it here

The Jealous Curator: Art for Your Ear

Renowned blogger and author Danielle Krysa has always approached serious art with a sense of humor. Her podcast that began in 2015 is no different. She explains that when she studied art history in university, her favourite part was hearing gossip about the artists, so this podcast focuses on the juicy stories behind works of art. Krysa calls it, “a chance for all of us to get to know these successful artists, who also happen to be regular people with hilarious stories, before they’re in the art history books.”

Listen to it here

The Modern Art Notes Podcast

This podcast has a guest each week that can shed some light on the art world—old and new. Tyler Green interviews artists, art historians, authors and curators to talk about what they have been working on and the state of things in fine art. Running since 2011, this podcast is usually taped at artist studios, but has also taken place at many art museums. A great podcast to learn all about where art was, is and will be. It is the perfect thing to listen to if you’re an art history buff and want to listen to intelligent people discuss Matisse and Klimt but also if you are someone who wants to be in the know about interesting new exhibitions, such as the Perez Art Museum Miami.

Listen to it here

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