In this guide, we bring you the best learn to draw books, reviewed, with recommendations depending on what style you want to learn.
There is nothing wrong with still wanting to learn from a book. Though there is a wealth of information and tutorials online, the best learn to draw books remain very popular. A book can give you a far more concise overview, and ensure you don’t miss any vital steps on your learning journey.
Maybe you want to learn how to draw realistic portraits, maybe you are looking to learn how to draw in a comic book style? There are books out there to suit your needs. For both kids and adults, there are books available in physical formats, but also for the Kindle. You can be reading and practicing in a matter of minutes.
Our Top 7 Learn To Draw Books
Below, you will find our top “learn to draw” books. They are all great for different reasons. We’ve included the nominations too, so you can see the best overall, or the best for your specific needs such as drawing in a cartoon style or drawing realistic art.
The 15-Minute Artist: The Quick and Easy Way to Draw Almost Anything – Best Overall
We all live busy lives in the modern age, so choosing a book that makes it quick and easy to get started is preferable for a lot of people. Catherine Holmes has written a number of books about drawing and “The 15-Minute Artist” focuses more on the realistic side of the hobby. It won’t teach you how to draw in a cartoon style, it shows you how to get perspective right and create instantly recognizable drawings, all in bite-size lessons.
You can learn a lot about different mediums in this book. It teaches techniques for use with charcoal, pen, and colored pencil. You will also learn about blending, texture, and shading to give you a great grounding and some “classical” knowledge of drawing.
This is such a good grounding for beginners, with projects that can be completed in about 20 minutes. If you are a hobbyist and you just want something you can dedicate a few hours a week to, this book will help you to gain skills very quickly, with no overly complex language.
More of Catherine’s books can give you a natural progression route after completing this. Here is a trailer for “How to Draw Cool Stuff“.
All the Things: How to Draw Books for Kids – Best Learn to Draw Book for Children
If you are looking to start a child off on their journey to becoming an artist, this can be a way to keep it fun and easy for them. This is a beautiful book from Alli Koch, and makes a superb gift for kids.
Though this is marketed at 9-12-year-olds, It’s just as suitable for five-year-olds and eight-year-olds and even elder children and teenagers. The language is simple, but if you are an absolute beginner it doesn’t matter if you use these tutorials as an adult.
The publishers have given a lot of thought to the content, and also the way it is presented. Features include:
- A large 9″ x 9″ size. This means it is easy to see all of the steps in the tutorials.
- Layflat binding so that the book stays open and flat on the desk or table during use.
- 42 simple projects for children (and some adults) to learn the basics.
- Fun items such as airplanes and castles.
- Easy language and simple instructions.
This book is such a fun set of activities for parents to do with their children. It is well thought through, and author Alli Koch, a brilliant artist, and crafter, has a great online presence for those who wish to keep following her, too.
How to Draw: drawing and sketching objects and environments from your imagination – Best For Designers and Architects
Learning how to draw for designers and architects is a different prospect. You need a slightly different skill set with more of a focus on perspective and some other concepts like scale. This level of accuracy means that a different book is needed, and this “how to draw” book aimed at designers, architects and construction workers can help.
It gives an overview knowledge of charts, grids and ellipses and you can create complex technical drawings by the end of this course. There’s even a companion app for scanning your drawings and making digital changes.
This isn’t exclusively for designers, architects and those in a similar career. If you want to get into game art or just hyper-realistic drawings of structures, this book can be extremely helpful.
How to Draw Anime (Includes Anime, Manga and Chibi) – Best Book for Drawing Anime
Drawing in an anime style has been condensed into a book, “How to Draw Anime” does a superb job of teaching you those unique stylings. Things like drawing the eyes in an anime style can be incredibly difficult if you don’t know what you are doing. Because it is quite a unique school of art, this book (actually part of a series) can be a very helpful addition to your collection.
Categories covered in this book include:
- Anime Eyes
- Anime Hair
- Anime Girls
- Anime Boys
- Manga Girls
This is available on the Kindle as well as in paperback format. The way the book is laid out is great for all age groups, and is suitable for adults but also for 10-year-olds or other kids who want to have a go at drawing some of their favorite Anime characters.
How to Draw Figures: Simple Anatomy, People, & Forms – Best for Drawing People
Another book by the prolific Joseph Stevenson who has a lot of “how to draw books” on the market.
How to Draw Figures sets out to approach the difficulties of sketching, drawing and painting the human form. People tend to find this incredibly difficult. Plus, because we are hard-wired to spot anything that is out of proportion in a drawing of a person, it is easy to make it look pretty terrible.
Arguably, drawing people is one of the most difficult things to master in all of the drawing discipline and other art forms. The best books for learning to draw anatomy give you a strong understanding of the human form and proportions. Stevenson manages this, in simple language and step-by-step guides that are easy to follow.
This walks you through perspective, and drawing people with different figures, in different positions, and even in the middle of an action. This can help you to avoid those unnatural drawings of people that seem to be so common.
One minor criticism is that this doesn’t go into much detail on drawing faces. Once you have drawn a person’s body, the face can so easily make the drawing look amateur, or even comical. You may need a separate book to work on faces, and to avoid ending up with artwork that resembles some of these hysterical fails.
The author of this book recommends just using a simple setup with a sketchbook and pencils to get started. This makes it suitable for those who just want to test the water with a writing hobby, and has a great structure to follow for beginners.
How to Draw with Photorealism: Drawing and Shading Techniques – Best How to Draw Book For Intermediate Artists
A lot of how to draw books for beginners focus on really basic techniques. This sort of knowledge is vital, but you might already have some of these skills. In this case, trying to advance your knowledge of shading and advanced techniques is vital.
Even if you don’t intend on photorealism being the main style of your art, this book still does a great job for intermediates. It takes you from the basics of drawing shapes and accurate proportions to shading and creating a real 3D feel to your artwork.
The blurb promises to teach you “how to draw water droplets, a face, eyes, nose, and lips”. There is a focus on the human form and facial features, so it is a great book for portrait artists, but it also introduces other items and objects.
It’s available both on Kindle or as a paperback.
If we were to be hypercritical of this, we would maybe like a few more examples and images and a few fewer blocks of text. These can be tough to follow if you are focusing on the visuals of creating artwork.
The author, Jasmina Susak, is impressive, and her 3D and hyperrealistic drawings have garnered a lot of attention. If you want to further follow her school of drawing, you can check her out on YouTube.
What Are The Benefits of a Book Over Other Tutorials?
There are a lot of ways to learn how to draw in the modern age. In spite of this, books remain incredibly popular for those who want to learn how to draw. There are a couple of reasons for this. People like to have the physical reference of a book to keep referring to. You can even make notes or store your sketches within. On top of this, a book means you are following the tips of one artist. This avoids mixed messages and a lack of continuity. The books in this list all give a cohesive step-by-step course.
Should I Stick to Books For My Style?
This is an interesting area of debate. If you just want to draw in one style, do you need to bother with the other lessons or schools of artwork?
If you are insistent that you just want to draw in the anime style, for example, you might stick to anime drawing books. However, a lot of people are actually keen to expand their horizons, and techniques learned in other books can help a lot with whatever style you end up drawing in. More knowledge is always a good thing.
Drawing may be one of the oldest forms of human expression. The oldest known drawing dates back 73,000 years. Over history, there have been so many schools and methods of drawing. You might want to draw for a variety of different reasons.
The books above give a fantastic platform of knowledge no matter what you plan to learn to draw. If you are looking to learn as a simple hobby, or if you want to become a professional artist, a good library of books can help you no end.
Do you have any recommendations for other “learn to draw” books? Have the books in this guide helped you? Let us know in the comments section below.