If you’ve been on Stray Curls for a while, you’ll know that I love to draw.
Since I was three years old, I’ve been drawing, and it’s been an integral part of my life.
However, I only started developing this skill and taking it seriously as a means to make money a few years ago from 2015.
You can read about how what skills you need to become an illustrator here, but the gist is:
- You have to draw a lot
- You have to be consistent
That’s pretty much it.
However, because there can be so many drawing resources online, it can get confusing to know where to start.
In this post, I will brief you on some of the best drawing books for beginners I’ve used to become better at drawing.
If you don’t already have a blog, please check out my step-by-step guide on starting an art blog from scratch.
This post includes affiliate links to products I truly (from the bottom of my heart) recommend, meaning at no extra cost to you, I may earn a small percentage which I will use to feed my sweet, adorable pooches.
Best drawing books for beginners
Because I have personally been drawing for a long time, I’ve experimented with different mediums and art styles and covered multiple drawing styles.
I’ve spent a lot of time curating this list because I feel most of the lists of drawing books I find online are very biased and not written by people who actually draw.
You can draw so many things, and it can be confusing to pick books to help you get started.
So, don’t fret. Just pick whatever clicks and start by drawing a little bit each day.
I will cover more tips at the end of the post. For now, let’s begin with the best drawing books you can pick as a beginner.
I’ve been following Simone Grünewald for a long time because I loved her art style, and when I heard about her book, I didn’t hesitate to get it.
She covers multiple drawing techniques that you can use to become better at drawing, and the sections I love most include how to discover your art style:
Her explanations are very detailed, and I can’t imagine how much time she has spent organizing this beautiful book into these sections that are so easy to flip through.
She also includes multiple exercises to help you draw expressions:
This book is for anyone who wants to start drawing people. She teaches you how to avoid common mistakes, and this book will help you develop your drawing skills.
But if I had to pick this book for anything – it’s an inspiration. So, even if you don’t feel like drawing, you can pick up this book, and you’ll be motivated to draw!
Also, if you enjoyed this book, Simone has another book here that you might love.
2. Everyday Sketching and Drawing: Five Steps to a Unique and Personal Sketchbook Habit – Steven Reddy
Drawing characters is wonderful. But drawing everyday objects will help you improve your drawing skills. I did this when I was growing up, and it has definitely helped me learn multiple shading techniques and understand the importance of light and shadows.
This book will teach you how to draw everyday objects to really improve your observation and drawing skills.
This is a straightforward and practical book. It will also inspire you to draw every day and fill your sketchbook with simple sketches of everyday things – hence the name.
I’ve been following Beverly Johnson on Instagram for a long time now. And her art is out of this world.
There is a certain whimsical nature about her work that draws you in and keeps you hooked.
This book demonstrates how to create multiple diverse characters, plants, and animals with strong personalities, unique mannerisms, and interests; understand their motivations, find their passions and make them come alive!
I purchased this book because I needed to study anatomy, and this is one of the best books I have found online to teach anatomy.
The exercises start really simple, and even a person like me who’s never attended a drawing class did not find it challenging to do these exercises at all.
Even if you want to get to a place where you’re drawing your own characters, you need to understand the basics of human anatomy to break the rules.
Learning anatomy has helped me improve my illustrations vehemently!
So, if you’re interested in learning how to draw human beings, please pick up this book. It will serve as a very important textbook for studying human anatomy.
If you’re looking to draw realistic pencil portraits, I highly recommend taking this online course. It has helped elevate my pencil sketching skills.
A lot goes into drawing – it involves a lot of observation and some amount of mathematics.
This book will help you understand how to place figures and objects in your drawing. It will help you understand how to draw interiors, create shade and shadows so that you can create very realistic drawings.
This is a book that every artist needs in their collection.
6. Character Design Collection: Heroines: An inspirational guide to designing heroines for animation, illustration & video games
This is an inspirational book – not a very instructional piece.
I have already ordered a copy, and I’m waiting for mine to get here.
Because this book includes projects from multiple artists, you won’t be able to stop opening it and flipping through the pages.
It’s that beautifully put together.
You can tell from the list in this post that I really love drawing characters over nature or other elements.
If you are planning on making money as an artist – drawing characters and people is the fastest way to grow because people will hire you to draw them, and characters are very relatable, so they sell.
This is one of the most fun jobs you can dream of doing. But there is a lot that goes into becoming an illustrator for children’s books.
And if you are looking for a good place to start – you can definitely start with this book.
Divided into a series of lovely sections, each created by individual illustrators, this book tells the story of how to depict narrative and compel an audience through visual art successfully.
This book will help you understand how you can create suspense and how color, visual hierarchy, and symbolism can tell a powerful story.
This is the perfect book for anyone who wants to become a children’s book illustrator. And you can even buy it as a gift for someone interested in drawing!
Additionally, if you’re looking at shortening your learning curve, you can check out this nice course on becoming a children’s book illustrator!
I recommend this book to anyone who wants to draw characters or women in general.
Because this book is tasty – there’s no better word to describe this book.
Pernille has been drawing and illustrating for years, and her methods are impeccable. She delves into detail on how she sketches her characters and chooses the color scheme. She also covers lighting and shadows, and she shows you how you can use any software like Photoshop or ProCreate.
If you’re looking to enhance your digital drawing skills, please pick up this book!
And I love how she walks you through her entire process so that you can see how she goes from start to finish.
This book doubles as a coffee table book as well, so win-win!
I still remember the first day I got my iPad. I explain more about my journey as an illustrator in this post.
I installed ProCreate on it, and I remember how difficult it was to understand it on the first day. I was overwhelmed.
There is a long learning curve in the beginning because it takes a while to get used to drawing on ProCreate. However, if you get this book and a few additional courses, you can master it in a week or 2.
Now, drawing on Procreate has become second nature to me.
This book will help teach you everything you need to know about ProCreate.
I got this book very recently, but I still found it extremely useful!
Do drawing books actually help?
Yes, drawing books help inspire you and also teach you different techniques to help elevate your drawing skills.
As someone who has never attended a drawing class or studied art, I’ve found drawing books to be excellent resources to help improve my drawing skills.
What should I draw as a beginner?
There is no set rule as to what you should start drawing.
Learning to draw is like learning music. It’s a process. And you need to fall in love with the process rather than the destination.
It’s not something you can achieve in a day.
So, start anywhere.
Don’t overthink it.
Focus on drawing the things you really love and try to be consistent. Dedicate 30 minutes to an hour every day for your drawing practice.
Getting books and courses will really help fast-track your progress. So, if you really want to speed up your learning, invest in some good courses and practice alongside them. This is how I improved quickly.
Not many people know this, but I also pencil-sketch. And it’s because I was consistent with my art; I could track my progress monthly!
Can you learn to draw at any age?
Yes, of course!
It’s a skill that can be learned at any age. I’m friends with a watercolor artist who is in his 70s. He takes great pride in his work, and he’s published so many books over the years.
Drawing isn’t a competition. Do it because it makes your heart sing.
Drawing isn’t easy especially at the beginning because there is a huge learning curve. But I hope this list of books gave you some inspiration to keep going on this journey and helped motivate you to draw every day.
If you enjoyed this drawing tutorial, you might enjoy these other blog posts!
- How to Become an Illustrator
- How to get noticed as an Artist online!
- How to start an art blog – a step-by-step guide!
- 10 things I wish I knew before becoming an Illustrator
- 10 signs you’re a natural-born artist
- 23 surprising ways to overcome creative blocks
- How to combat negative comments and trolls as an artist
- How to be a confident artist and keep drawing even when you feel like you can’t
Before I wind up, I want to cover some resources that helped me grow as an Illustrator and shorten my learning curve.
Resources to help you draw better:
Courses for Artists
If you enjoyed this tutorial, you’ll definitely enjoy my free art email course that helps artists make money with their creative skills!
I highly recommend checking out Domestika’s Courses because they have courses on almost anything you want to learn and they’re structured beautifully. It’s very well organized and their website is super fast. Their app is lovely too. You can download the classes and watch them offline, and the best part? Once you buy the course, you own it forever!
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