The best books on how to draw

Carole Massey Author Of Drawing for the Absolute Beginner
By Carole Massey

The Books I Picked & Why

Drawing: A Complete Guide

By Giovanni Civardi

Drawing: A Complete Guide

Why this book?

In this 376-page drawing “bible”, all aspects of drawing are covered in great detail, from portraits and figure studies to still life and landscapes. After the first chapter on materials and equipment, Giovanni illustrates the bone structure, musculature, and features of the head, hands, and feet using pencil, ink, and charcoal. It’s the most comprehensive approach I’ve seen in any portrait book.

Further chapters on shadows, shading, composition, sketching, perspective, and aerial perspective are also extremely helpful. This book is a mine of information, and one I turn to when in need of technical know-how for portraiture.


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Sketching for the Absolute Beginner

By Peter Cronin

Sketching for the Absolute Beginner

Why this book?

I love sketching and encourage my students to do as much as possible to improve both drawing techniques and observation. In this comprehensive book, Peter guides us through many different aspects of sketching using pencil, pen, and pen & wash, demonstrating his S-E-T method, reminding us constantly to consider Shapes, Edges, and Tones. His drawings and pen and wash studies are a feast for the eyes; he guides the reader through simple step-by-step drawings as well as larger projects, and everything is conveyed in an easy-to-understand way, making it a pleasure to dip into this book.


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Drawing Landscapes

By Margaret Eggleton

Drawing Landscapes

Why this book?

This comprehensive guide to drawing landscapes includes six step-by-step as well as many examples of Margaret’s work. With her wonderful drawing ability she is able to create stunning landscapes, some with incredible detail, some much looser, maintaining compositional balance throughout. I recommend this book to the beginner and more experienced alike as I think it has something for everyone. For anyone who wants some guidance for drawing landscapes, this book will inspire whatever your level of ability.


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Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain

By Betty Edwards

Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain

Why this book?

If you think you can’t draw, then read this book! It’s a bible for anyone wanting to draw, and is by all accounts “the world's most widely used drawing instruction book.” If you want to start drawing or have been unable to get much beyond a “childlike level,” the exercises in this book will help you gain those skills you have always sought.

I often use the “Upside down Drawing” exercise with my portrait classes; my students are usually astounded at how quickly and accurately they can produce a likeness! This is a fascinating book and whether you are an experienced artist or just starting, it will give you inspiring confidence and deepen your artistic perception.


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Drawing Perspective

By Tim Fisher

Drawing Perspective

Why this book?

Perspective is essential for good drawing but something that a lot of people find a struggle. Tim has treated every aspect of perspective in a simple and interesting way so that anyone can understand it. As well as buildings and landscapes, Tim also covers topics not so obvious - people, animals, boats and reflections, and more. He also shows how perspective applies to curved objects and inclined planes, and suggests how to correct common mistakes as well as moving on from rigid rules to a freer and more instinctive way of drawing. 


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