If you’ve always wanted to take a drawing class or join a drawing meetup but have found the time commitment too demanding, try picking up a drawing guide. These books might lack the interactive aspect of in-person art sessions, but they allow you to illustrate at your own pace, while encouraging you to challenge yourself. There seems to be an infinite number of how-to-draw books on the market, but we’ve found some of the best ones that are instructive yet inspiring. After all, there’s no limit to how one should want to draw.
1. How to Draw Cool Stuff: A Drawing Guide for Teachers and Students
Like an art course in book form, this pick is organized by lesson plans that guide you through drawing techniques of gradually increasing difficulty. Written by artist and educator Catherine V. Holmes, it shows you how to build on shapes to create complex illustrations, with step-by-step instructions that are easy to follow. More than copying exercises, these lessons also explain basic concepts, such as shading, perspective, and layering, with notes written for most children and adults to comprehend. You’ll get great practice at different styles and subjects, from still life objects to cartoons to realistic portraits.
2. How to Draw 101 Animals
Young children can pick up this book and practice drawing all on their own. It is filled with illustrations that break down ways to draw animals in just six steps, so little ones can simply copy the line work to render creatures with ease. The animals are depicted in a fun, cartoon style and range from a penguin to a pig to a horse. Note that this book doesn’t feature instructions or explanations of drawing concepts, but it’s a great way for children to familiarize themselves with the act of drawing.
3. Art for Kids: Drawing
This kid-friendly guide provides a great introduction to essential drawing techniques as well as instruction on how to make original artworks. Young artists will learn about line drawing, proportion and scale, perspective, and more and be encouraged to illustrate simple subjects, like animals, people, and nature. Written by Kathyrn Temple, an arts educator with years of experience teaching children, it covers concepts in a fun way that doesn’t overly simplify them. While some adolescents might be able to follow along on their own, some of the lessons can be complicated, so we recommend this as a guide for young ones to work through alongside an adult.
4. 50 Ways to Draw Your Beautiful, Ordinary Life
This book is written by the cofounders of Flow, a magazine all about creative mindfulness, and is designed to offer an artistic break in your day. It’s filled with step-by-step exercises and drawing prompts to illustrate and reimagine quotidian objects, with four sections on home, garden, style, and nature. You’ll learn to draw objects—like a wicker chair, garden tools, a coffeepot, and plants—which might give you a new appreciation for the environment around you. The book even comes with its own booklet for you to fill up as well as paper dolls, postcards, and tracing paper for experimentation.
5. The Complete Beginner’s Guide to Drawing
If you’ve never before drawn with intention, this book by art instruction specialists Walter Foster Publishing is an excellent pick. It’s packed with drawing techniques, tips, and lessons, introducing first-timers to illustration concepts through clear and concise explanations. You’ll start off by getting acquainted with the pencil and other essential tools, before gradually learning foundational skills and eventually building up to reproducing subjects as diverse as landscapes and human anatomy. Along the way, you’ll learn ways to render texture, perspective, and volume, so you can illustrate your own visions.