As an artist, reading about your craft is just as important as practicing it. There are hundreds and hundreds of books available that can help you improve, so whether you are a tattoo artist looking for new inspiration, an illustrator attempting to perfect a technique or a doodler who would like to study drawing on a deeper level, there is a book out there with the answers you seek.
Here, we share a list of the best drawing books for artists of all skill levels. These titles cover a wide range of topics – from the scientific expertise of Betty Edwards to the figure suggestions of Andrew Loomis.
Are you need some fresh ideas? Pick up one of these titles to help take your drawing skills to the next level.
Rather than randomly picking a title because it is popular, be sure to choose one relevant to your drawing style and your skill level.
Are you a beginner in need of general advice, or are you struggling to grasp the concept of depth perception and want to know how to master it?
Here are some useful tips to help you in the selection process.
Identify Your Weaknesses – What are you struggling with at the moment? Before you can improve, you need to identify your weaknesses. Avoid wasting time with books that bore you because they don’t offer you any relevant information, and stick to those that have the answers to your problems.
Consider What You Draw – Some books offer tips and advice related to a certain topic. Draw 50 Animals , for example, might be a great fit for tattoo artists since many clients request animal tattoos.
Consider Your Tools – Books written by artists who use the same tool as you will offer more precise, relevant information on the topic than a general book will.
In Pen & Ink Drawing: A Simple Guide, for example, author Alphonso Dunn discusses specific techniques that pen and ink artists will find useful. However, those who prefer pencil might not benefit as much from it.
If you are interested in learning more about this particular title, we will be discussing it later in our “Review” section.
See What Other Artists Have to Say
Opinions vary greatly, so if you are torn between several titles and aren’t sure which to choose, find out what other artists have to say about them.
When you take the time to read the reviews, you are bound to find artists with the same opinions, tastes, and skill levels. Many personal reviews also offer a better insight into the book than the summary printed on the book itself, which can help you decide whether a title is worth purchasing or not.
While Alphonso Dunn’s studies may have led him down a scientific path, his passion for art never died. He earned a Master of Fine Arts from the prestigious New York Academy of Art and went on to teach about art at the high school and college levels.
His level of expertise is evident to anyone who reads Pen & ink Drawing: A Simple Guide. He is a very relatable instructor, and this book covers all aspects of pen and ink drawing via examples. Alphonso doesn’t waste space with too much text – he shows you what his message is. The suggestions are in-depth and very useful to any pen and ink artist who wants to improve.
If you like his tips, head over to his YouTube channel where you can watch him in action. He offers tutorials for pen and ink artists as well as general tips that discuss anything from portraits to how you can create more realistic textures.
Regardless of what you draw or your skill level, you should read Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain: The Definitive by Betty Edwards. This title is quite popular in professional art courses and will help you deepen your knowledge and understanding of art on the scientific level.
Since each side of the brain is responsible for different actions, the book reminds us that the right side is dedicated to the arts and creativity. Edwards helps readers understand that learning to draw requires tapping into the right side of the brain – the creative side – and her teachings are truly fascinating.
While many artists consider this to be one of the best drawing books in print, those who are familiar with other versions feel that the one from 1989 is better.
It is a matter of preference, as both books contain the same useful information. However, we thought we would mention both, in case you would like to compare them.
Advertising artist Andrew Loomis has a lot to say on figures, and this book is especially useful to any artist whose main focus is on the human body.
Thanks to the numerous drawings and examples he provides, you will have no problem understanding the message he conveys throughout each section of this book. He helps you understand how to draw figures in perspective, deal with light, achieve accurate proportion, and provide tips that will help you master human anatomy.
Many would agree that this is one of the best figure books out there, and while it may be a bit dated, the tips are helpful to artists in every decade.