Best Drawing Books for Learning How to Draw

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Drawing books are not all created equal. Here is a list of some of my favorite books that have helped me to improve my drawing skills over the years. As drawing books can be a great resource when it comes to learning about perspective, artistic anatomy, composition, proportion and so much else.

You always want to consider drawing books as just an additional resource, for the reason that nothing can replace the learning process which happens when one is actively drawing. Consider incorporating the resources below, alongside your regular drawing practice. By drawing consistently and using good drawing resources side by side, will help you grow immensely.

Perspective Made Easy

Perspective Made Easy, is an excellent book that simplifies the rules of perspective. You will be amazed at how easily this book helps to understand the rules of perspective as it relates too drawing.

The Practice and Science of Drawing

The Practice and Science of Drawing is a classic in the graphic arts world. It goes through the basic principles of drawing and helps you to understand and appreciate drawing in a whole new way. You will learn the basics of mass, line drawing and proportion. Additionally, it will help you learn how to build a better visual memory.

Lessons in Classical Drawing: Essential Techniques from Inside the Atelier

As a great drawing primer, Lessons in Classical Drawing, distills the practice of drawing to its simplest elements. By going through it you will learn classical drawing principles and how to create well crafted drawings. Included is a companion DVD that provides live instruction.

Beginning Drawing Atelier: An Instructional Sketchbook 

Another great book, Beginning Drawing Atelier, is an instructional sketchbook written by the same author as the previous book. What differentiates this book from others, is it offers a contemporary twist on the traditional atelier instruction.

Charles Bargue and Jean-Leon Gerome: Drawing Course

This book, Charles Bargue and Jean Leon Gerome: Drawing Course, is a reprint of the famous 19th century drawing course book. Included are two hundred lithographs which are meant to be drawn from by students, before they attempt to draw from nature. This is an essential book for anyone interested in learning the techniques used in classical academic painting.

A Treatise on Painting – Leonardo Da Vinci

A remarkable work written by none other than Leonardo Da Vinci is A Treatise on Painting. It begins with precise instruction on how to draw the human form and techniques of rendering motion. You will also learn about perspective, composition, creating effect of light and shadow as well as color – all from Leonardo Da Vinci. Included are 48 anatomical drawings by Nicola Poussin that serve to illustrate some of Da Vinci’s instructions.

Leonardo Da Vinci The Graphic Work

This drawing book contains high quality images of 663 drawings by Leonardo Da Vinci. The drawings included range from anatomical studies to architectural plans to pudgy infant portraits. Looking at great drawings helps one to learn how to draw better oneself. I will personally copy Da Vinci’s drawings from time to time, to help myself learn from his drawing abilities. Get a copy of The Complete Drawings of Leonardo for yourself to learn from the great Renaissance master.

Drawing Lessons from the Great Masters

This drawing book, of Drawing Lessons from the Great Masters contains a methodical analysis of 100 master drawings. The author, Robert Beverly Hale, shows how Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Rodin and Rembrandt among others. You will gain creative insights into the unsurpassed achievements of the masters.

Artistic Anatomy: The Great French Classic on Artistic Anatomy

Artistic Anatomy is a reprint of a classic French anatomy book, as a result it was most likely used by artists like Renoir, Degas and Braque along with many others. It is an excellent book to reference for drawing the human form and learning artistic anatomy.

Classic Human Anatomy: The Artist’s Guide to Form, Function, and Movement

Finally, Classic Human Anatomy is another excellent anatomy book for those interested in learning how to draw the figure. It contains a wealth of information to help with figure drawing studies!

Now, over to you

Do you have a favorite drawing book? I would love to hear – let me know in the comments below!


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    6 thoughts on “Best Drawing Books for Learning How to Draw”

    1. Thanks Elisabeth. I look forward to adding some of those to my collection. When starting out I found Betty Edward’s ‘Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain’ very helpful.

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