Best How to Sketch and Draw Books

I often get emails asking for recommendations on drawing and sketching books. So I'm going to write a list of what I think are the good books on how to draw and sketch.

There's probably no such thing as a best drawing book. Everyone has a different learning style which is why there are always new drawing books coming out.

As such, I will not give you a long list of books. I'll just present my 2 favourite books from each category. If you want more, visit the list of art instruction books.

If you have any drawing books that works for you, share them in the comments section.

General Drawing Books

Keys to Drawing
My favourite book on drawing is Keys to Drawing (review) by Bert Dodson. The instructions are straightforward. Lessons are short and fun. Content is accessible and thorough. You can pick it up anytime and go through any examples. Even after you have gone through the book, it's still a really nice book to flip through for ideas and inspiration. This is a great book for beginners.

If you can only get one book, get this book.

Keys to Drawing is available at Amazon (US | CA | UK | DE | FR | IT | ES | JP | CN) and Book Depository

The New Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain
The other popular drawing book is The New Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain (review) by Betty Edwards. Reviews for this book are somewhat mixed. There are those who like it and those who don't. This book works, especially for beginners. The drawing principles it teaches are fundamental, examples and the explanations are clear, even if a bit lengthy compared to Keys to Drawing. I used to have this book but have sold it away because I find myself still going back to Keys to Drawing once in a while.

The New Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain: A Course in Enhancing Creativity and Artistic Confidence is available at Amazon (US | CA | UK | DE | FR | IT | ES | JP | CN) and Book Depository

These are two of the most effective books on drawing. They are simple books. You can start with instantly with pencil and paper. These two books focuses on drawing from what you see, and not on drawing from imagination or construction.

Perspective Books

Perspective Made Easy
Perspective Made Easy is the one book you need to learn perspective. Instructions are clear, and examples are easy to follow. Everything that is complex is explained simply for easy understanding.

Perspective Made Easy is available at Amazon (US | CA | UK | DE | FR | IT | ES | JP | CN) and Book Depository

Figure Drawing and Anatomy Books

Figure Drawing for All It's Worth
Figure Drawing for All It's Worth by Andrew Loomis is one of the better figure drawing books. I love the text of the book. The tone is very encouraging and the instructions are always clear. The examples are beautifully illustrated. It's easy to follow along and learn. This old classic has been out of print for so long that I applaud Titan Books for getting the republish rights.

Figure Drawing for All It's Worth is available at Amazon (US | CA | UK | DE | FR | IT | ES | JP | CN) and Book Depository

Classic Human Anatomy: The Artist's Guide to Form, Function, and Movement
Andrew Loomis' figure drawing book focuses on construction, drawing from your mind. However, to draw the human figure accurately, you need a good anatomy reference book.

Classic Human Anatomy: The Artist's Guide to Form, Function, and Movement by Valerie L. Winslow is a well written book. The bodies, muscles and skeletons are well illustrated and explained. Every anatomy part and every muscle shown is explained in terms of functionality. Understanding their function helps in understanding what you draw and aids retention of what you've learned.

Classic Human Anatomy: The Artist's Guide to Form, Function, and Movement is available at Amazon (US | CA | UK | DE | FR | IT | ES | JP | CN) and Book Depository

Composition Books

Mastering Composition: Techniques and Principles to Dramatically Improve Your Painting
Mastering Composition review is a good book on composition. The lessons are illustrated by lots of examples, mostly painted by himself. They are mostly landscapes, still life, and a tiny bit on portrait. The painting demonstrations included are very detailed, down to the type of colours used.

Mastering Composition: Techniques and Principles to Dramatically Improve Your Painting) is available at Amazon (US | CA | UK | DE | FR | IT | ES | JP | CN) and Book Depository

Framed Ink: Drawing and Composition for Visual Storytellers
Framed Ink: Drawing and Composition for Visual Storytellers (review) by Marcos Mateu-Mestre complements the Mastering Composition Book very well. This book deals with they dynamic composition you need to tell a story immediately in just one image. Highly recommended.

Framed Ink: Drawing and Composition for Visual Storytellers is available at Amazon (US | CA | UK | DE | FR | IT | ES | JP | CN) and Book Depository

Colour

Watercolor Artist's Guide to Exceptional Color
I think experimenting with watercolours is a fun, effective and cheap way to understand how different colours work with one another. Watercolor Artist's Guide to Exceptional Color (review) covers all you need to know about colour schemes and mixing.

Watercolor Artist's Guide to Exceptional Color is available at Amazon (US | CA | UK | DE | FR | IT | ES | JP | CN) and Book Depository

The Complete Watercolorist's Essential Notebook: A treasury of watercolor secrets discovered through decades of painting and experimentation
Since I'm talking about watercolour, I might as well recommend one as well. The Complete Watercolorist's Essential Notebook (review) by Gordon MacKenzie is a very informative book on watercolours. Well, it's actually two books in one so you get a lot of value for your money.

The Complete Watercolorist's Essential Notebook: A treasury of watercolor secrets discovered through decades of painting and experimentation is available at Amazon (US | CA | UK | DE | FR | IT | ES | JP | CN) and Book Depository

Inspiring Sketchbooks

I'll just name a few but not so much as to overwhelm you. These are books I go back to frequently.

The Art of Urban Sketching
The Art of Urban Sketching

An Illustrated Life
An Illustrated Life by Danny Gregory

Everything Is Its Own Reward: An All Over Coffee Collection
Everything Is Its Own Reward: An All Over Coffee Collection by Paul Madonna

Wasserfarben für Gestalter
Wasserfarben für Gestalter by Felix Scheinberger

Rome Sketchbook
All of Fabrice Moireau sketchbooks and other travel-related sketchbooks.

Tekkon Kinkreet Art Book: Background Sketches
Tekkon Kinkreet Art Book: Background Sketches

Kim Jung-Gi 2007 & 2011 Sketch Collection
Kim Jung-Gi 2007 & 2011 Sketch Collection

That's all for inspiring sketchbooks. There are a lot more on the list of art books reviewed.

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4 Comments

Thanks a lot parka, great

Thanks a lot parka, great list. I would like to ask you if you think that i should only begins with the book "keys to drawing" or I should get another one to complement with this book. As I wrote before are completely new to this and I'm a bit lost where to start.
Sorry to bother you again.
Thanks!

I'd like to recommend "Art of

I'd like to recommend "Art of Perspective; The Ultimate Guide for Artist in Every Medium" by Phil Metzger. It covers a lot of what is in "Perspective Made Easy" but also covers other elements of making convincing perspective in drawing/painting in a very general and understandable manner .
Topics:
- Atmospheric Perspective
- Detail & Edges
- Size, Spacing & Overlapping
- Values & Shadow
- Linear Perspective- one,two & three point - curves, reflections

I agree with you when you

I agree with you when you stated - "There's probably no such thing as a best drawing book. Everyone has a different learning style which is why there are always new drawing books coming out." I've found that for myself as my drawing skills progressed I would still reference some of the 1st books I bought but would go out and look for new and different books with techniques / tips.

I'm more a visual learner where my dad (who also likes to draw) is more of a step-by-step type of person.

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