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Homesthetics

22 Best Drawing Books for Beginners of 2019

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Starting to learn how to draw from scratch can often get challenging, but having an excellent book that can guide you through the process is a blessing in disguise. 

Most of the artists have something that tends to drive them to draw; similarly, you need to find your interests. As you learn the fundamentals of drawing, you’ll find new ways to express yourself, and you can keep improving your skills.

A right amount of practice will get you comfortable with drawing, and you’ll be able to notice the mistakes that you’re making. There is nothing better that can help you build a strong foundation in drawing, then selecting the right book, which is suitable to help you master your art.

By reading and practicing the exercises given in each book, you shall be able to grow as an artist. Every successful artist has learned their skills from somewhere, but most of them were able to get their fundamentals from various books. A book that gives you the right idea, mindset, experience, and advice is what you should be looking out for as a beginner.

Let’s check out the list of drawing books that we have selected for you!

Best Drawing Books 

1. Keys to Drawing

The book Keys to Drawing was published by author Bert Dodson almost two decades ago. If you’re a beginner, then we advise you to get this book as it teaches you proper marksmanship and the ways to use accurate measurements to draw from life.

Sale
Keys to Drawing
  • NL30220
  • 9780891343370
  • Brand New Item / Unopened Product
  • North Light Books
 

There is no other book that will guide you the same way that this one does. As you read along, you’ll understand how to control the motion of your shoulder and elbow, which will help you draw lines accurately. To practice accurate lines and to draw them for life, you need to be able to see and measure things accurately.

You need to learn how to draw from life, especially if you want to become a professional artist. The book Keys to Drawing will make the process a little simpler as it helps you to understand the meaning of Drawing from Life and how you can get started.

2. How to Draw: Drawing And Sketching Objects From Your Imagination

In this book, the author Scott Peterson has put together several topics on drawing from the imagination, and he helps you understand how to develop the subject with different perspectives.

Sale
How to Draw: drawing and sketching objects and environments...
  • Used Book in Good Condition
  • Scott Robertson, Thomas Bertling
  • Publisher: Design Studio Press
  • Edition no. 1 (12/15/2013)
 

Rather than just drawing from what you can see, the author adopts a different approach called model building. It means that you’ll be building objects and building volumes. For you, as an artist, it means that you’ll be drawing not only based on what you can see but instead, you will need to gain an understanding of how everything was built around you.

The highlight aspect of this book is that the author suggests you draw with a pen rather than using a pencil. This helps you to avoid weighing heavily on your mistakes and to follow the lesson that is being taught instead. The book also covers a few complex topics a few of them include- creating grids, working with volume, ellipses, and rotations, and drawing environments.

One of the perks of purchasing this book is that it comes with a 10-hour companion video. For which you need to download the app that comes along with the book, and then scan the QR code which is given in the book. After which the author will be guiding you through the drawing process that is given in the book. 

Therefore, we recommend How to Draw: Drawing And Sketching Objects From Your Imagination as it provides you with both theoretical and practical knowledge.

3. Drawing for the Absolute and Utter Beginner

This book is helpful for beginners, and the level of difficulty is suitable for both adults and children. Claire Watson Gracia is a prolific author, and she focuses on ensuring that beginners start with still life drawings as they don’t move like living beings. The purpose behind this book is to help anyone to draw accurately from life.

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Drawing for the Absolute and Utter Beginner, Revised: 15th...
  • Claire Watson Garcia
  • Publisher: Watson-Guptill
  • Edition no. 0 (07/03/2018)
  • Paperback: 192 pages
 

You’ll be starting with creating contours of the objects and then you will proceed to construct volumes and shapes. As you read the book, you’ll find a guide for different exercises, which will teach you to execute what is learned.

Many new artists might not be knowing what they’re drawing and the reason behind it. This book answers all these questions in brief, as at the beginning of every exercise, there is a small description which explains the purpose and the importance of the topic that you’re being taught. You might be required to read the passage a few times to clearly understand what is being said, but the knowledge imparted is invaluable for beginners.

This book doesn’t have too much of philosophy being imparted, other than having few quotes and thoughts about art making. We recommend this book as it sticks to the fundamentals, and will be of great help for a beginner.

4. Drawing for the Absolute Beginner

This book will help the reader to learn the basics as it focuses on the groundwork of drawing. You’ll be learning about which material you can start with, then how to hold your pencil, and how you can accurately make marks on the paper. By noticing these small details, you’ll have a  clear understanding of your marksmanship.

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The Art of John Harris: Beyond the Horizon
  • Titan Books
  • John Harris
  • Publisher: Titan Books
  • Hardcover: 160 pages
 

It helps you to learn about the fundamentals of art like perspective, lighting, form, and other elements which help in return to build your confidence and makes you comfortable with drawing.

Even though the book is short by covering just 128 pages, there are around 24 quick demonstrations on measuring, constructing, sketching, and rendering various objects. The book starts by helping you learn about drawing the basic objects like cups and chairs but gradually moves into vehicles and trees which are more detailed.

The book is suitable for beginners who want to get better at drawing, but there is not much depth to it. To see improvements in your drawing, you need to practice and follow the lessons efficiently.

5. How to Draw What You See

This book was published in the early 1970s, and since then, has been amended and reprinted with detailed information to suit the modern day writing styles. The book is around 170 pages, and it teaches you how to see objects in a proper manner, which helps to improve your ability to capture them accurately.

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How to Draw What You See
  • Watson-Guptill
  • Rudy De Reyna
  • Publisher: Watson-Guptill
  • Edition no. 35 (01/01/1970)
 

The author Rudy De Reyna has kept the book extremely simple for beginners who lack the skill of drawing from life and don’t know where to start. The book has a few series of realistic drawing exercises which will help you to learn about perspective, shading, and forms.

 For the first 20-30 chapters, the book covers topics on drawing after that it changes the medium to watercolors and charcoal. We recommend this book for novice artists who are ready to experiment and learn about the different mediums used for painting. It will also be a good buy if you’re looking to become a concept artist, comic artist, animator, fine artist, or even an illustrator.

6. Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain

 The book Drawing on the right side of the brain by Betty Edwards is often recommended by most people to be the perfect book for beginners. This book helps you to first learn about negative space, perspectives, and value; then it focuses on the practical exercises.

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Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain Workbook: The...
  • PU9226
  • 9781585429226
  • Brand New Item / Unopened Product
  • Penguin Putnam Inc.
 

However, if you’re a little experienced in the field of art or you’re a self-motivated artist, then this book will definitely be a good purchase. Being aware of what you’re trying to draw and why you’re bringing will help you to understand this book better.

7. Perspective Made Easy

This book was published in 1939, and it makes the concept of perspective easy for everyone to understand. Ernest Norling covers all the essentials about perspective in this book and helps you to look at the world differently by teaching you about vanishing point, horizon line, and other nitpicky tricks. These lessons will guide you through constructing objects and buildings based on various scenes.

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Perspective Made Easy (Dover Art Instruction)
  • Dover Publications
  • Ernest R. Norling
  • Publisher: Dover Publications
  • Edition no. 31537 (01/19/1999)
 

Different exercises have been used to explain various concepts, which helps you understand how perspective can be applied to every piece of art that you’re creating. This book will help you get this fundamental quite clear, but it does not provide you sufficient information to make you excel.

8. Designing Creatures And Characters

This book will guide you to form imaginative creatures right from scratch. It provides you with concrete guidance by covering all the fundamentals of figure drawing and its composition.

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Designing Creatures and Characters: How to Build an Artist's...
  • Marc Taro Holmes
  • Publisher: North Light Books
  • Paperback: 192 pages
 

As you get your fundamentals right, then you can let your imagination run wild and create some intricate pieces of art. This book also has different processes mentioned about creating any creature that can be brought to light, along with several different exercises and projects.

The book has several colored illustrations and experiential tips given by the author, Marco Holmes. Designing Creatures And Characters will be a great reference material if you’re interested in the field of concept art.

 9. Vilppu Drawing Manual

You’ll find few people talking about the Vilppu Drawing Manual as it was published in private by Glenn Vilppu. This book will help you learn about the details of the subject drawing and life drawing. The author has been teaching for decades and has a unique style towards it.

Vilppu Drawing Manual
  • Used Book in Good Condition
  • Glenn Vilppu
  • Publisher: Vilppu Studio
  • Edition no. 0 (02/28/1997)
 

The guide covers topics like:

  • Basic forms
  • Measurement
  • Constructing accurate objects from life.

The author works closely with concept artists and animators, so he understands the need for learning both constructionist and realistic painting. The primary concepts covered in this book are form construction and gesture drawing. In this spiral-bound guide, you’ll be able to get a complete description of life drawing, which is generally not covered in detail in other books.

We recommend this book for beginners and for semi-experienced beginners who are interested to learn about a unique approach to life drawing.

10. Light for Visual Artists: Understanding & Using Light In Art & Design

No matter if you’re practicing to draw on a digital platform or with your paper and pencil, the concept of light is emphasized in both.

One of the fundamental skills of drawing is about rendering light and shadow, and this book focuses on helping you understand how light works. Light for Visual Artists: Understanding & Using Light In Art & Design gives an introduction to the artistic techniques and physics for shadow and light.

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Light for Visual Artists Second Edition: Understanding and...
  • Richard Yot
  • Laurence King Publishing
  • Paperback
  • Edition no. 2 (07/16/2019)
 

The book also gives you information on how different materials, textures, and fabrics tend to reflect light and how an object gets affected when multiple light sources are reflecting on it.

We recommend you first to start drawing as then the concepts of light and shadows will be easier for you to understand.  But if you’re dealing with painting, then you’ll be studying the colors which will make this topic quite complicated for you to follow. However, this book also provides a complete guide for lighting as it also teaches you about the color selection.

11. The Artist’s Complete Guide To Figure Drawing

In this book, Anthony Ryder focuses on teaching the reader what to draw rather than how they should be drawing. When drawing a human figure, he speaks about capturing what we’re seeing in front of us and not what we believe we can see. The importance of letting go of the ideas that we have learned and the different expectations regarding how a figure should be looking like has been highlighted.

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The Complete Beginner's Guide to Drawing Animals: More than...
  • WALTER FOSTER
  • Walter Foster Creative Team
  • Publisher: Walter Foster Publishing
  • Hardcover: 240 pages
 

The reader is asked to carefully observe the interplay that takes place between light and form, line, and shape, which gives rise to the actual look of a human form. The book focuses on the block-in method, which is an exercise for seeing and creating the shape of the figure with a concentration on contours, and the right value.

We recommend this book for both beginners and experienced artists as the book has a three-step method (step-by-step), along with experiential tips which provide adequate guidance for drawing.

12. Learn To Draw And Paint

This book by Curtis Tappenden has several colorful illustrations by various artists. The book also gives the reader a lot of ideas about painting, along with useful tips. The author has emphasized the use of different mediums like watercolor, charcoal, pencil, and pastels through this book. 

Best Drawing Books for Beginners

Learn To Draw And Paint does not cover the basic techniques that are used in every drawing, so it might not be resourceful for a beginner, or they will need to keep another book that will guide them to understand each medium in depth. We recommend this book if you’re looking out for ideas and you’re experienced or semi-experienced  in the field of drawing and painting.

13. Framed Ink: Drawing And Composition For Visual Storytellers

Marcos Mateu-Mestre explains the concept of composition to make the reader understand how by focusing on this fundamental, they can even make a dull scene appear captivating.

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Framed Ink: Drawing and Composition for Visual Storytellers
  • Design Studio Press
  • Marcos Mateu-Mestre
  • Publisher: Design Studio Press
  • Paperback: 128 pages
 

This book covers several topics like general thoughts on narrative, drawing and composing a single image, composing shots with a purpose, composing with continuity, and the graphic novel.

From this book, you’ll gain an understanding of conveying emotions, order vs. chaos,  nighttime vs. daytime drawings, and several others. The images in the book are illustrated with black and white ink. If you’re interested in visual storytelling, then this book will be of great help to you as the basics are covered across different levels.

14. The Natural Way to Draw: A Working Plan for Art Study

The author Kimon Nicolaides has a lot of expectation from the reader, and therefore if you grab this book, then you will be required to practice for at least four hours every day. This book will be teaching you how to draw objects and figures from life with a animators attitude/quick sketch. The author emphasizes on making you look beyond the 2D paper and to create objects by thinking that they’re right in front of you.

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The Natural Way to Draw: A Working Plan for Art Study
  • Kimon Nicolaides
  • Publisher: Mariner Books
  • Edition no. 41 (02/01/1990)
  • Paperback: 240 pages
 

The book also teaches you to make marks without being concerned about the line quality quickly. We recommend this book for a beginner or for someone who is looking to render realistically.

This book will be beneficial for someone who is an aspiring animator as it teaches you the ways to capture figure poses with style and weight. The Natural Way to Draw: A Working Plan for Art Study does not help you understand how you can accurately draw from life, but it helps you to see your work beyond the simple contours.

We recommend you to get this book if you’re interested in studying drawing fine art. By reading this book, you will not get your results instantly, as a constant practice is required. This book will help you learn things only if you’re serious about learning the art of drawing irrespective of whether you’re a beginner or not.

15. Figure Drawing for All It’s Worth

Learning how to draw figures, in the beginning, can get annoying and tedious for you. It will be challenging to understand what you’re doing, and the process will also not be transparent. This book by Andrew Loomis can make a significant impact on the mindset of a beginner as every basic detail about figure drawing has been explained.

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Figure Drawing for All It's Worth
  • Titan Books UK
  • Andrew Loomis
  • Publisher: Titan Books
  • Edition no. 0 (05/31/2011)
 

Even by reading a few pages, you will gain an immense amount of knowledge as Loomis sets the gold standard for figure drawing in this book. The author helps you to understand how you should be breaking down the figure, then constructing it, and how you should apply these techniques in the figure room.

Loomis guides the reader through the entire art of figure drawing by helping you understand the proportion of the human figure, whether it’s for women, men, or children. You’ll gain a lot of anatomical sense as the book has an entire chapter dedicated to muscles and bones.

 If you want to learn about learning the art of figure drawing, then this book will be good for a beginner as the author helps you to learn about constructing a figure in every position. When you complete reading this book and practice the different exercises, then you’ll be confident about drawing any human form.

16. Force: Dynamic Life Drawing For Animators

As you complete your lessons on the fundamental of figure drawing, you need to apply them in your work. In Force: Dynamic Life Drawing For Animators, the author Mike Mattesi does not only teach you about figure drawing with the purest form of a nude body but also focuses on how clothes on a figure can be used to convey motions.

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The Nine Old Men: Lessons, Techniques, and Inspiration from...
  • Focal Press
  • Andreas Deja
  • Publisher: Routledge
  • Edition no. 1 (09/23/2015)
 

Mike Mattesi also covers a topic on drawing of animals that we do not find in many of the books. He also adds several components like the drawing of seals, birds, and primates.

We recommend this book if you’re having difficulty in conveying your emotions through your artwork, but have a good grasp about figure drawing. It might be a little challenging to comprehend for beginners in figure drawing initially as the book focuses on the concept of motion that is used to create dynamic drawings but with practice you can do it well.

17. Figure Drawing: Design And Invention

In this book, Michael Hampton guides to understand the human figure by focusing on geometry and the muscle structure in detail. This book has been illustrated with full-color, which makes the study of different muscles simpler by helping you differentiate between each group. Knowledge of the muscle structure will help you be aware of getting the postures in the figures correct, and you’ll be able to notice the errors in a posture more keenly.

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Figure Drawing: Design and Invention
  • Michael Hampton
  • Publisher: Michael Hampton
  • Edition no. 2 (08/31/2009)
  • Perfect Paperback: 240 pages
 

We advise you to get this book if you want to learn about anatomy in art as it also covers the concept of gestures and helps you to draw from your imagination. It’s never too late to get your fundamentals brushed up!

18. Drawing The Head &  Hands

Andrew Loomis covers the two most challenging parts of drawing a human figure in this book, which is the head and hands. The reader is made to look at the head from various perspectives, men, women, ages, children, and teenagers. It’s a good read for even a beginner, and the note on anatomical structures and few rules which are mentioned will help you to get the figure right.

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Drawing the Head and Hands
  • Titan Books UK
  • Andrew Loomis
  • Publisher: Titan Books
  • Edition no. 0 (10/25/2011)
 

The book also covers topics on modeling planes, tones, and expressions. As you complete this book, you’ll be able to tell an inspiring story through your different pieces of art, and the concepts of proportion and perspective will also be clear. Even though the book was published in 1956, but the information it provides can be applied even in our modern day work.

19. A Foundation Course in Drawing

Reading this book will give you an academic feel as it is considered to be an ideal book for students. Peter Stanyer and Terry Rosenberg, who are university lecturers have written this book, and it has many exciting projects. As you complete the different exercises and practice drawing regularly, you will be able to understand the contemporary edge that the book has to offer.

A Foundation Course in Drawing
  • Used Book in Good Condition
  • Peter Stanyer, Terry Rosenberg
  • Publisher: Watson-Guptill Pubns
  • Hardcover: 408 pages
 

Despite drawing having a plethora of applications, we recommend this book as a resource for a beginner in the field of drawing.

20. Traveling With Your Sketchbook

This book by Joyce Ryan is a combination of both potential profit and pleasure. It is an excellent source of inspiration for beginners. Even though the book focuses on sketching with pen and ink, which is generally not considered the best option for an amateur but they are most enthusiastic about getting this book.

Sale
Traveling With Your Sketchbook: A Step-by-Step Guide to...
  • Used Book in Good Condition
  • Joyce Ryan
  • Publisher: Butterfly Books
  • Edition no. 0 (04/01/1991)
 

The author also explains how you can solve the common problems and explains the relative advantage of sketching from different photographs to sketching directly.on the spot.

There are many suggestions given by the author on technique and composition, which helps to guide you through your sketching process. The book has many examples and exercises that you can explore to make different sketches. We suggest this book for someone who is looking to improve their skills and techniques of sketching.

21. The Skillful Huntsman

This book is suitable for artists who are into the drawing of fantasy visual development or concept art. The team of artists who have written this book has outlined various castles, monsters, huntsmen, forests, and more.

Sale
The Skillful Huntsman: Visual Development of a Grimm Tale at...
  • Design Studio Press
  • Khang Le, Mike Yamada, Felix Yoon
  • Publisher: Design Studio Press
  • Edition no. 0 (05/01/2005)
 

The topics  covered in The Skillful Huntsman might not be of great help to the artists who are into the painting of a landscape, but the inspiration behind this book and the high level of creativity makes it an exciting read. We recommend this book only if you’re well-versed with composition, as the book has complex concepts related to perspective and figure drawing.

22. The New Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain

This classic drawing book by Betty Edward has been updated several times and reprinted as it was first published in 1980. The book gives you a lot of relevant information along with some brilliant illustration. The author also speaks about the different mental process that is involved in drawing and mentions about the difference between knowing and seeing.

Sale
Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain Starter Kit: The...
  • Betty Edwards
  • Publisher: TarcherPerigee
  • Edition no. 0 (10/31/2013)
  • Paperback: 284 pages
 

We recommend this book if you’re a keen reader and willing to practice the exercises that are given at the beginning of the book. On successful completion of this book, you will get a clear understanding of shape, proportion, and perspective.

Final words

Try your best to read as many books as possible to fulfill your dreams about making that perfect drawing. There is a broad field of knowledge that you can grasp as you read these books to improve your technical skills. 

Choose the right book from the list that we have created, and start drawing on that blank canvas which is waiting to be filled.

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