Best Drawing Instruction Books for Beginners for 2019

Learn How to Draw With the Help of a Great Book

woman drawing in sketchbook

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A good drawing instruction book can be a wonderful resource for the beginner. You can benefit from the years of teaching and art-making experience of the authors while learning new techniques, discovering unique approaches, and practicing how to draw what you see in real life.

Each of these books has a different style that will suit different people. When choosing a drawing book, consider whether you are an active learner who likes to experiment and pick out the good bits, or whether you prefer a steady, step-by-step program that will guide you all the way. No matter your preference, there's a great drawing book out there for you and these are among the best.

  • 01 of 06

    The New Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain

    Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain

    Betty Edward's classic drawing book has been continually updated and reprinted since it was first released in 1980. It remains as relevant and essential to artists today as it ever was.

    There is no doubt that there is a lot of quality information in this book, though you will either love it or hate it. Edwards spends a lot of time discussing the mental processes of drawing, emphasizing the difference between seeing and knowing.

    The illustrations are excellent, but this book will suit a keen reader best. It's best to get hold of a copy and decide for yourself.

  • 02 of 06

    Drawing for the Absolute and Utter Beginner

    Drawing for the Absolute and Utter Beginner

    Claire Watson Garcia's book begins at the very beginning and progresses slowly with many useful exercises. Beginners will find their confidence boosted as their results look like the examples from other students.

    The book sticks with fairly basic materials and doesn't go off into fancy stuff or too much philosophy, with the exception of some quotes and thoughts about art-making here and there. Well worth the purchase price, especially if you're just starting out.

  • 03 of 06

    The Natural Way to Draw : A Working Plan for Art Study

    The Natural Way to Draw

    Kimon Nicolaides' book is regarded by many as one of the best drawing books ever written. It is designed as a long course of study which requires constant practice and is designed for those truly interested in fine art drawing.

    This book is not suitable for anyone who wants instant results. If you are serious about learning to draw—whether you're a beginner or have some experience—this book may be for you.

  • 04 of 06

    Traveling With Your Sketchbook

    Traveling with Your Sketchbook

    Joyce Ryan's book on pen-and-ink sketching wouldn't be the first choice for a beginner, but many students are very enthusiastic about it. The author's approach is very casual and it may best be suited if you have some sketching experience, but it's good none the less.

    You will find many clear and helpful suggestions on composition and technique. Ryan also offers plenty of exercises and examples for you to explore, from developing a sketch on site to working from photographs and much more. Take a look for yourself, it may be just what you need.

    Continue to 5 of 6 below.
  • 05 of 06

    A Foundation Course in Drawing

    A Foundation Course in Drawing

    University lecturers Peter Stanyer and Terry Rosenberg authored this book for Watson-Guptill. It has an academic feel and is an ideal text for art students.

    The book has many interesting projects with a contemporary edge best suited to those who want to really explore all the possibilities drawing has to offer. It's also a highly recommend and useful sourcebook for teachers and those with a little experience. Raw beginners would be better off with a different book, but keep it in mind for later.

  • 06 of 06

    Learn to Draw and Paint

    The Watercolor Sketchbook Kit

    By Curtis Tappenden, this useful book has loads of color illustrations by various artists, with plenty of great ideas and useful tips. It touches on various mediums, including pencil, charcoal, oils, watercolors, and pastels.

    However, the techniques are often only lightly skimmed over. While it is useful for more advanced amateurs seeking ideas, or as a teacher's resource, beginners will also need a book that covers the individual mediums in more depth.