Drawing and art often come into our life at a young age, as we’re taught to colour in, draw pictures of our families or finger-paint. Now, even as adults, whether they’re artists or not, people use drawing to express themselves, release their creative energy or to simply have fun! With an increase in time spent drawing comes an increase in skill and passion.
So, if you’re wanting to improve your drawing skills or start up drawing as a brand new skill, we’ve put together a list of our favourite drawing books to get you started. These books are sure to further enrich your knowledge of drawing skills, and serve as a great reference and inspiration source.
Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain
By Betty Edwards
With a strong focus on creative thinking, Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain serves as a great source for both aspiring artists as well as professionals.
It is one of the most defining ‘how-to-draw’ book and has been translated into over 17 different languages. The book covers a range of drawing skills and exercises including important concepts, techniques, and theories and materials. A deeply insightful resource overall.
Drawing for the Absolute Beginner
By Mark Willenbrink
Written by Mark and Mary Willenbrink, Drawing for the Absolute Beginner lives up to its title. The book itself covers all basic drawing skills and concepts for creatives just starting out.
From how to hold a pencil and choose your preferred materials to perspective, depth, light effects, landscape and shading – this book is undoubtedly a necessary addition to the collection of both beginner and expert illustrators alike.
How to Draw What You See
By Rudy De Reyna
How to Draw What You See has been a best seller for over 10 years! The author leads you through the process of drawing things as you see them in front of you, in the real world.
Interestingly, this book has been used by a number of notable illustrators and artists as it covers the basics of recognizing shapes, dimensions and realistic perspectives in both a simple or complex, detailed way.
By Barbara Bradley
Drawing People by award winning illustrator Barbara Bradley serves as a great reference for all things that are people related. The book delves into how to draw all types of human figures with practical information regarding proportion, shading, energy and detail.
Digital Painting Techniques – series
Unlike the others we’ve mentioned, this pick isn’t just one book, but a series! Compiled by 3dtotal.com, the series covers concepts and themes for concept artists, animators and digital artists. Although also a great gallery book, the Digital Painting Techniques series covers a range of professional digital painting techniques such as; matte painting, creating custom brushes and speed painting.
This series also includes a number of great tutorials, inspiration and free downloadable content, making it a great addition to any creative’s bookshelf.
Keys to Drawing
By Bert Dodson
Keys to Drawing by Bert Dodson was first published in the 1970s and remains a classic to this day.
Although it’s been revised and reprinted a number of times it holds a great deal of information regarding how to recognize shapes within objects and how to go about creating those objects.
Aside from the highlighted 5 keys of drawing fundamentals, there are also sections on charcoal and watercolour techniques.
Drawing the Head and Hands
By Andrew Loomis
With a focus on anatomy, this book will teach you how to draw incredibly detailed portraits as well as hands. These themes are all tied together with solid drawing fundamentals.
Author Andrew Loomis takes on illustration with a mathematical approach, however, they are able to be understood by artists of skill levels.
Drawn To Life
By Walt Stanchfield
This drawing book is unlike any others we’ve discussed. It focuses on emotion, capturing the moment, life and actions – rather than technicalities and proportions.
Although quite a long read, this book serves as an undeniable classic; a part of the 20 Golden Years of Disney Masterclasses series!
If you’re interested in expanding your skill to enhance the emotion and action of your characters, this is the book for you.
By Andrei Riabovitchev and Roberto F. Castro
Serving as an overarching guide to all the essential theories and rules in art, Art Fundamentals is regarded as one of the most comprehensive drawing books today.
The book delves into fundamentals like colour, light, composition and depth, as well as more complex theories like the rule of thirds, the Golden Triangle and Divine Proportions. A must-have for any aspiring or professional illustrator!
Serving as an overarching guide to all the essential theories and rules in art, Art Fundamentals is regarded as one of the most comprehensive drawing books today. The book delves into fundamentals like colour, light, composition and depth, as well as more complex theories like the rule of thirds, the Golden Triangle and Divine Proportions. A must-have for any aspiring or professional illustrator!
Sketch Every Day
By Simone Grunewald
Based predominantly on sketch, this book emphasises the importance of putting aside some time, even if it’s just 5 minutes, to sketch every day.
Sketch Every Day is filled with sketches by author Simone, that provide key tips and principles regarding depth perception, perspective and how one can convey emotions through characters.
The author also delves into her personal experiences as a creative, some of her best tips and tricks on how to balance work with family life, and other fundamental drawing concepts.
Let us know which book is your favourite! Or tell us what books you would recommend! We’d love to hear what you think in the comment section below. Make sure to share this article if you think you know someone who loves drawing – thanks for reading!