The best books on drawing cartoons step by step

Who am I?

I've been cartooning, or "curtooning," my entire life. As a child, I drew cartoons of everything, from animals to dinosaurs, and was the cartoonist for my elementary school, junior high school, high school, and college newspapers. My cartooning style with big eyes and simple lines came from my favorite cartoonists and their cartoon strips that I read every day in the newspapers. However, my most significant influence was reading every cartoon in Mad Magazine, including comics from Don Martin, Sergio Aragonés, and Al Jaffee. When cable came out with multiple channels in the 1980s, I felt there was not enough kid-friendly content, so I created my award-winning cable show titled It's Curtoon Time.


I wrote...

How to Draw Cartoon Reptiles

By Curt Visca, Kelley Visca,

Book cover of How to Draw Cartoon Reptiles

What is my book about?

Cartoonists of all ages will learn easy-to-follow techniques on how to draw eight reptiles in six easy steps while learning fascinating facts about each creature. Each reptile cartoon (rattlesnake, cobra, python, chameleon, gecko, desert tortoise, sea turtle, and crocodile) is paired with interesting facts to entice artists into the creeping, slithering, and crawling world of reptiles. Terms for drawing cartoons, a glossary, and an index are included to build a cartoonist's vocabulary. These drawing terms include action lines, angles lines, wiggly lines, and zigzag lines. This hardbound book has been in school and public libraries throughout the United States for over 20 years.

The books I picked & why

Shepherd is reader supported. We may earn an affiliate commission when you buy through links on our website. This is how we fund this project for readers and authors (learn more).

The Big Book of Faces: How to Draw 400 Easy to follow Step by Step Drawing Lessons for Kids

By Erik DePrince,

Book cover of The Big Book of Faces: How to Draw 400 Easy to follow Step by Step Drawing Lessons for Kids

Why this book?

I enjoy this book because it teaches artists of all ages how to draw various simple facial cartoons in a twelve-step sequential style that is easy to follow. How to draw people with different expressions is essential for any cartoonist. I like how this book takes the artist from drawing happy faces to surprised faces while covering a variety of nationalities. There are many components to drawing faces, such as eyes, a nose, a mouth, ears, and hair, and I like how this book covers it thoroughly in 400 different variations of faces. “Face” the fact that I never take a book at “face” value.


How to Draw Peanuts: Drawing Characters And Coloring With Peanuts Stress Relieving

By Hirano Seishiro,

Book cover of How to Draw Peanuts: Drawing Characters And Coloring With Peanuts Stress Relieving

Why this book?

I’m the biggest Peanuts cartoon strip fan and enjoy this book because it teaches artists how to draw each Peanuts character in an easy-to-follow step-by-step manner. Most people that don’t think they can draw become overwhelmed with where to start. This book reminds cartoonists to follow a pattern and to focus on one line at a time that will all come together and form Snoopy, Charlie Brown, or Lucy. My wife and I have even flown into the Charles M. Schulz–Sonoma County Airport and visited the Charles M. Schulz Museum and Research Center in Santa Rosa, California, on two different occasions. I highly recommend visiting! Good grief, buy this book!


Learn to Draw Your Favorite Disney/Pixar Characters: Featuring Favorite Characters from Toy Story, Finding Nemo, Inside Out, and More!

By Disney Storybook Artists,

Book cover of Learn to Draw Your Favorite Disney/Pixar Characters:  Featuring Favorite Characters from Toy Story, Finding Nemo, Inside Out, and More!

Why this book?

I had the pleasure of going to Disneyland as a child and working at Disneyland for many years in high school and college. It was an honor to create artwork for Disney Castmembers (employees), such as t-shirt designs and a giant cartoon mural when there was an attendance record one summer day. Anything Disney/Pixar-related from the 1990s to the early 2000s is near and dear to my heart, such as the movies Toy Story, Monsters Inc., and Finding Nemo. We took our children to see these movies when they were young, and I still watch them today. This book covers everything, from teaching Disney/Pixar fans how to draw Lightning McQueen from the movie Cars to Elastigirl from The Incredibles. The drawing exercising section is also a nice touch. Snap out of it, Buzz, and buy this book!


Draw 50 Famous Cartoons: The Step-By-Step Way to Draw Your Favorite Classic Cartoon Characters

By Lee J. Ames,

Book cover of Draw 50 Famous Cartoons: The Step-By-Step Way to Draw Your Favorite Classic Cartoon Characters

Why this book?

This book brings back many fond memories of Saturday mornings as a child when I would watch Popeye and Felix cartoons and The Archie Show on TV. I don’t think we can call a cartoon character Jughead anymore, but you can learn how to draw Jughead step by step and his trademark beanie. This crown-shaped cap, also called a whoopee cap or Jughead cap was popular in the 1930s to 1940s. You’ll go down memory lane with this book and, in a Popeye voice, say, “I yam what I yam.”


The How To Draw Book For Kids Anything Everything in the Cutest Style

By Takeshi Sugimori,

Book cover of The How To Draw Book For Kids Anything Everything in the Cutest Style

Why this book?

This book makes me smile because it's filled with a plethora of the cutest cartoons to draw step by step, from rainbows to cupcakes. Sometimes a person will tell me they don't like to draw certain types of cartoons, such as a cat. Still, I remind them that drawing something you are not interested in broadens your horizons and deepens your understanding of the world as you step out of your comfort zone. I like how author Takeshi Sugimori reminds artists to believe in themselves. Plus, he covers the artform of sketch hatching or shading, which is rarely covered in books. When I taught kids how to draw on my It's Curtoon Time TV show, I would remind them to add shading at the end of each cartoon. Sometimes life is about rainbows and unicorns!


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in cartoons, drawing, and cartoonists?

5,809 authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about cartoons, drawing, and cartoonists.

Cartoons Explore 21 books about cartoons
Drawing Explore 56 books about drawing
Cartoonists Explore 34 books about cartoonists

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like How to Draw Cute Stuff, 1, Hold Your Horses, and Graphic Satire in the Soviet Union if you like this list.