Top 30 Drawing Books That Will Make You Draw Better

In Artists, Books, Review by Toni Justamante Jacobs

As a beginner, you need certain skills for you to get better at drawing. You need dedication, practice, and inspiration to get better. One of the most efficient ways to practice is to practice using drawing books. Drawing books will teach you the essentials of drawing and improve your skills. Dedication will ensure that you practice regularly and inspiration will stimulate you to create art.

You might have come across some quality drawings and thought, “Can my drawings ever be this good?” The good news is you can. With the following drawing books, your drawing skills are sure to get better with practice.

This drawing book by Ernest R. Norling focuses on perspective. When it comes to drawing, perspective is quite important. With perspective, you can illustrate the distance between the objects in your drawing efficiently. Simply put, if your perspective is off, your drawing might be misperceived.

In this book, there are at least 250 simple drawings used to explain the concept of perspectives. With these drawings, the author discusses horizon, eye level, and vanishing point. The book also discusses how to draw shades, shadows, and how to accurately illustrate objects at different positions. One of the pros of this book is the concision of the discussions and the nontechnical tone of its content.

A drawing book by Andrew Loomis is sure to merit its price. Andrew Loomis was a revered American Illustrator, Author, and Painter who lived between 1892 and 1959. Of the books in his bibliography, Figure Drawing for All It’s Worth is one of his most notable creations.

In this book, Andrew Loomis discusses figures and how to draw figures. Aside from figure, the first few pages also talk about perspective with a few pages dedicated to discussing horizon. The pattern of instruction in the book is stepwise. The first part of the instructions teaches you to draw the figure while the second part teaches you to add details to the figure. The book also teaches the anatomy of different body parts and how to draw them. It teaches shading, clothing, and how to add other details.

This drawing book is one book that is suitable across the board. It works for amateurs, intermediates, and experts. One interesting thing is that the book is not for artists only. Professionals like architects and designers can also learn from it. One of the main goals of the book is to teach you how to draw from your imagination. In the book, you will find lessons on the basic concepts of perspective.

You will also learn the tips you need to draw ellipses and perspective grids. As you go further into the book, you will apply these tips while drawing complex objects and environments. The book was authored by Scott Robertson and Thomas Bertling. Robertson has been teaching design, drawing, and rendering in Colleges for up to 20 years. Bertling on the other hand is an Industrial Designer and Engineer who has worked with top brands like Samsung and Disney.

Bert Dodson highlighted 55 ways to make your drawings get better in this book. These tips were specific so you do not have to look too hard to find them. He also included a list with 8 items that you can use to evaluate yourself as you proceed with the book.

The good news for beginners is that the book was written in a nontechnical way. So, using it will pose no difficulty. The contents of the book will teach you freehand drawing, depth control, creative stimulation, the illustration of illusions, restoration, intensification, and many other skills. There are also exercises for you to run through as you study the book.

This book was written by Rudy De Reyna. De Reyna is a revered author who wrote a couple of Watson-Guptill masterpieces in the 70s. This book (How to Draw What You See.) was initially published about 50 years ago. When it was published, it was held in high regard. After being re-published, the reverence of this book still remains.

This drawing book is fantastic for beginners. It will help you with drawing objects you see with ease. The book teaches you how to identify the fundamental shape of the objects you see. Once, you identify this shape, you can draw it and develop it into the actual shape of the object you see. Once this is done, you can add details.

The authors of this book also wrote the book titled Watercolor for the Absolute Beginner. In this book, they were thorough. They covered a broad range of topics too. The book describes methods that make realism easier and less serious.

The authors also discussed the choice of materials you should use for your drawing. They talk about pencils, drawing sets, pencil handling, and much more. The book discusses perspective, reflection, and proportions too. As you learn the lessons contained in the book, you have exercises you can practice on too. These exercises also serve as a way to verify how much you have learned from studying.

For a beginner, this drawing book is exactly what you need. The content of the book is methodical to allow easy understanding. You start with learning how to draw simple 2D objects then you move more complex objects. In the book, you will find lessons and techniques for 3D drawing. It is all arranged in order.

The book contains at least 500 line drawings as illustrations. In the book, you will also find 75 examples and 9 drawing laws you can learn from. By practicing for 25 minutes every day, your drawing skills are expected to have improved significantly in a month. This book was authored by an Emmy winner, Mark Kistler.

This book was made to teach artists how to draw moving figures. Dynamic figures require different elements of perspective to ensure that they are well illustrated. You need the right angles and depth to ensure that the movement of the character is correctly shown. This skill is particularly useful when drawing action figures and comics.

The book was written by Burne Hogarth, one of the most revered comic book artist and cartoonist in the early 20th century. Hogarth was dubbed Michelangelo of the comic strip. He was also one of the founders of the School of Visual Arts.

This book comes with many examples and visual references. This makes it useful for beginners and experienced artists. It focuses on surface anatomy. By discussing the essentials of surface anatomy (the muscles and the bones), you get more insight into the mechanics of the movement of figures. This knowledge will improve your ability to draw dynamic figures. Knowing this also contributes to you becoming inventive with your drawings. One method the book uses in explaining surface anatomy is by likening different parts of the body to solid shapes. The book is quite easy to use and it is methodical too. The entirety of the book will contribute to improving your ability to draw from your imagination.

In this, you will learn a lot about anatomy as it relates to drawing. The book covers constructive anatomy in detail. Lessons from constructive anatomy will help you become better at drawing bones and muscle structures. They will also improve your knowledge and skills of drawing the motion and posture of the limbs, the fingers, trunk, pelvis, and other parts of the body.

The goal of the book is to teach you how to draw body parts relative to each other. You learn the different motions and postures such as bending, twisting, interlocking, and creasing. The book makes a concept that is rather hard to grasp, simple.

This book was authored by a veteran, Oliver Sin. He covers 4 main concepts in the book. These concepts are Applying the Essentials, Essential Materials & Techniques, Creating the Illusion of Three Dimension, and Techniques for Creating Depth & Dimension.

You will learn about the basic techniques used in drawing and the supplies you need for drawing. You will also learn about concepts like negative space, negative shapes, plane changing, value, and much more. While learning the techniques for creating dimension & depth, the book teaches you overlapping forms. Apart from overlapping forms, you will also learn how to contrast shapes to achieve depth and how perspective affects depth. To teach you how to create 3D illusions, the book discusses edges, changes in values, and contours.

The use of this book is not restricted to beginners. Experts can also learn some things from using it. This book is thorough. It has a schedule of 15 hours per week for 1 year. So, you might have to set a lot of time aside to learn everything contained in the book in good time.

Using this book requires practice. It is not as simple as you would expect. In fact, most of the contents of the book are very similar to what you will get in a real class. So, the experience would seem like you are teaching yourself. Also, if you are an expert or close, you just might learn a new way to draw when you use this book.

This might just be the light you need for you to draw better. This book focuses on one aspect of drawing that many other drawing books do not focus on, light. This book is not just useful to artists and illustrators. Painters, animators, and photographers will also find the book valuable.

Herein, you will learn to use light to create special effects in your drawings. The book is easy to understand yet detailed. The content can be used in a broad range of visual art whether traditional art or digital art. 

Just like the title of the book hints, this is something for the beginners. So, if you have not been drawing before getting this book, you will be fine with it. In this book, you will find lessons on how to draw the human face from different views. You will learn to draw from the profile view and frontal view.

You will also learn how to add extra dimensions to your work and how to develop value. Other skills you will find in this book include adding spatial depth, adding accuracy, and recording edges. The book is well-organized and inside it, you will find many examples, illustrations, and tips that will spur you to be dedicated.

This book was first published in 1979 and has been revised twice since then. It is thought that people who use the right side of their brain predominantly are more creative. This book aims to help new artists tap into the creativity domiciled in their right brain.

In the book, you will find lessons on perception. Perception is one of the basic skills of artists. The deal is to teach beginner artists how to see in different ways. You will learn how to gestalt. You will also learn how to perceive edges, lights, shadows, and many more.

This is another book by the revered Andrew Loomis. In this book, the author discusses perspectives in facial illustrations. It also teaches you to draw facial expressions, aging, and light and shade. It also teaches how to detail drawings of head and hands too. This book is meant for beginners and experienced artists. For a beginner, you might have to be very patient at the start. But it gets better with time.

Peter Stanyer and Terry Rosenberg are experienced painters and teachers. They have displayed a couple of their works on top platforms and shows. In this book, they teach perception. You, as a beginner, will learn to see objects in different ways. The book teaches you to observe shape, space, form, light, movement, and texture of objects when you see them.

Aside from being detailed, another thing the book offers is multiple techniques. Everyone will see things differently and will be inclined to certain views. By offering multiple techniques, the book ensures that you find your inclination.

When you travel, the chances that you will find inspiration in new places are high. if you intend to connect with your drawing while traveling, then this book might be what you need.

The book discusses the essential tools for travel sketching. It also talks about the techniques and the common errors you might face while sketching. The author also talks about how you can critique your final work. 

This book will help with figures and perspective. It is a record of the creative process the 3 authors used while illustrating different figures in entertainment. Figures like castles, huntsmen, and forests are focused on in the book. The authors also highlight ideas for creating characters, props, and much more. This book may not be very suitable for beginners. But if you have some knowledge of composition, this would suit you.

This book focuses on hyperrealism. The author brings back techniques from some of the best hyperrealists of all time. In this book, the author reproduces the works of those master artists and he includes his works too. Alongside these works of art, he adds his explanation of the techniques used in achieving similarity to the real objects. 

This book by Carrie Stuart Parks and Rick Parks also focuses on helping your art become more realistic. The book was crafted to be methodical so even beginners can use it. You will learn about crafting depth to create a higher sense of realism. You will also learn how to personify your drawings. The book features more than 40 demonstrations with instructions. You will also learn how to draw textures that many may find difficult to draw.

This book covers all ages. So whether you want to draw better or you want to help your kids draw better, this will do. The author talks about line and line quality in the book. The lessons on line quality explain how the appearance of lines affect perception. The book also teaches foreshortening as a way to add depth to drawings.

You also get to learn about perception, viewing objects in different ways. Then you learn about shading techniques and how to use them.

This book has been around for 8 decades. Whether you are a painter, an architect, or a sculptor, you will find this book useful. This book serves as a reference for visual artists. In it, you learn how you can create your own materials such as oils, watercolors, and pastels. It describes an overview of what materials to use, how to use them, and when to use them.

Another book on realistic drawings. In this book, the author describes ways to use your pencil to draw realistic illustrations. You will also learn about drawing 3D objects. The book has over 200 images with simple explanations on how to draw them to be realistic.

This Drawing Book describes how to create hatching effects, how to use contrasts, and how to adjust tone when you are drawing with pastels, charcoal, pencil, and colored pencils. You will also find challenge exercises with which you can brush your skills as you go through the book.

Another book by Catherine Holmes you will find interesting. Herein, she describes the different ways you can shade and how to transform your drawings with it. The author talks about how to vary pressure and stroke to alter depth, movement, and space.

In this book, the author describes the wonders you can create with colored pencils. The book describes how to create realistic drawings with colored pencils. It also discusses layering, blending, and how to create translucency with colored pencils.

The format of this book is methodical. It progresses from shading simple shapes and progresses to complex shapes like the human face. The book describes how you can add details to your drawings; how to give more life to your art.

If you will be drawing human figures a lot, you must get the sizes right. As you go further drawing, you might not get to draw from models as much as you did at the start. In the absence of models, it becomes hard to verify whether the different parts of the human figure in your drawings are relative. This book teaches you quick methods to verify the proportions of the figures in your drawings and correct the errors.

This book was written by an animator who once worked for Walt Disney Studios. The book describes how to draw animals and give them personalities. You will learn how to illustrate their movements, emotions, and actions.

The book talks about various ways you can use line in animal drawing. You will learn to draw animals in different forms: muscular structures and skeletal structures. The book discusses specific animals including dogs, rabbits, foxes, cats, cows, gorillas, and many more.

You should use a couple of drawing books together in your quest to draw better. While the books are high-quality individually, they cannot cover everything you need to know about drawing. So, using 2 – 3 drawing books simultaneously will give you better results.

Toni Justamante Jacobs

About the author: Hi, I’m Toni Justamante Jacobs. I´m a professional Concept Artist and Illustrator with more than 10 years of experience in the industry. Some of my clients are Gameloft, Fantasy Flight Games, Kunlun Games and Games Workshop. Currently, I´m working at Socialpoint as an in-house Senior Concept Artist.