The Only Sketching Books You’ll Ever Need: 20 Sketching + Drawing Books

  • Post last modified:December 23, 2020
  • Post category:Books

Looking for the best sketching books? I’ve got you covered.

Below, I’ve curated 20 books that will help you take your sketching skills to the next level.

Most of them are suitable for artists of all levels — whether beginners, students, or professionals.

So go ahead, look through the list and select the best sketching book that fits your skills and goals.

Figure Drawing for All It’s Worth by Andrew Loomis book cover | Best sketching books

One of the best artists of all time, Loomis wrote this book for those who have already mastered the fundamentals of drawing and are ready to take their craft to the next step. 

What’s in it for you:

  • How to draw from living models.
  • Fundamentals of anatomy, planes, and lighting, etc.
  • Detailed explanatory sketches and examples.
  • And so much more!

2. How to Sketch by Liron Yaconsky

How to Sketch by Liron Yaconsky book cover

Written for the complete beginner, this book will guide you through drawing your first line to drawing real-life objects. 

A firm believer in the “anyone can do it” mantra, Yaconsky has written How to Sketch for the average person who wants to master the art of sketching. 

What’s in it for you:

  • Easy-to-follow, step-by-step guidance and tutorials.
  • The fundamental mindset for sketching.
  • Exercises to help you build your fundamental knowledge and experience. 
  • And so much more!

3. Keys to Drawing by Bert Dodson

Keys to Drawing by Bert Dodson book cover

In this book, Dodson shares a drawing system consisting of 55 keys that will take you from beginner to expert in no time. 

What’s in it for you:

  • Several exercises to help you practice.
  • How to use ‘creative play’ to stimulate your imagination.
  • How to master the art of conveying illusion, depth, and texture. 
  • And so much more!

4. The Urban Sketcher by Marc Taro Holmes

The Urban Sketcher by Marc Taro Holmes book cover

This book will help you capture the bustle and beauty of life in urban towns. 

Teaching you to draw on location, The Urban Sketcher will teach you how to capture the excitement of life and draw inspiration from where you live, whether it be a city, town, or village. 

What’s in it for you:

  • How to capture still and live-action objects.
  • Detailed steps and guidance.
  • Practical and expert advice.
  • Daily exercises to help you boost your creativity and master essential skills.

5. How to Draw What You See by Rudy De Reyna

Published in 1970, How to Draw What You See has been featured on several bestseller lists and is still relevant today. Its premise is to teach you how to draw things as you see them — in a realistic manner as possible. 

What’s in it for you:

  • Excellent methods that will help you capture the world around you.
  • How to recognize and use the basic shape of an object to draw it, regardless of the amount of detail involved.
  • And so much more!

6. Drawing for the Absolute Beginner by Mark and Mary Willenbrink

Drawing for the Absolute Beginner by Mark and Mary Willenbrink book cover

Drawing for the Absolute Beginner combines a realistic style and easy, fun steps to help absolute beginners master the art of drawing. It also covers all the important aspects of drawing and provides a great starting point for anyone interested in sketching. 

What’s in it for you:

  • Fun and practical exercises.
  • Simple steps to help you build your confidence and skill.
  • Easy to difficult challenges as you progress.
  • And so much more!
Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain by Betty Edwards book cover

One of the most widely used drawing instruction books, Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain combines artistic instruction with psychology to help you develop skills and draw in a way that you never thought possible. 

What’s in it for you:

  • Step-by-step guidance and tutorials.
  • Expert and practical advice.
  • Excellent problem-solving techniques and advice on how to continuously develop your skill.

8. The Urban Sketching Handbook by Stephanie Bower

In this book, Bower provides 101 tips, tricks, and hacks that will help you master the art of sketching on the go. It offers several shortcuts to help you master the craft and become an expert in no time. 

What’s in it for you:

  • The art of drawing a great line.
  • How to get your perspective right, determine your composition, and balance your light and shadow.
  • How to use ellipses to draws arches. 
  • Why eye-level line is important in sketching.
  • And so much more!
Sketching from the Imagination- Characters by 3dtotal Publishing book cover

In this book, fifty amazing artists share their sketches, methods, and inspirations that help them create characters. 

What’s in it for you:

  • Packed with visually appealing sketches. 
  • Excellent advice and creative insights.
  • An inspiration for artists of various levels. 

10. How to Draw by Scott Robertson and Thomas Bertling

How to Draw by Scott Robertson and Thomas Bertling book cover

An excellent book for both beginners and professionals, How to Draw is an invaluable guide to learning how to sketch any object from your imagination. 

What’s in it for you:

  • The foundational skills to help you draw complex objects.
  • How to draw things never-before-seen. 
  • Invaluable and practical advice for artists of all levels.
  • And so much more! 

Published in 1972, The Practice and Science of Drawing continues to be one of the most read and recommended books in graphic arts. 

What’s in it for you:

  • An exploration of the most important basic art principles.
  • The art of line drawing and mass drawing.
  • Several exercises to help you improve your craft.

12. Sketching: The Basics by Roselien Steur and Koos Eissen

Sketching- The Basics by Roselien Steur and Koos Eissen book cover

This book will teach you all the basics you need to know about drawing clearly and comprehensively. As such, it is geared mostly towards beginners and students in arts and creative courses. 

What’s in it for you:

  • Step-by-step illustrations and tutorials.
  • Several examples and strategies. 
  • How to master different sketching techniques. 
  • And so much more!
Sketching for Architecture + Interior Design by Stephanie Travis book cover

This is the perfect book for architecture interior design students who want to learn everything about sketching. 

In today’s digital world, this book applies itself to teaching students the fundaments of hand sketching, a skill that is largely on the decline in the architecture and interior design space.

What’s in it for you:

  • 40 step-by-step exercises and tutorials.
  • How to master all design forms, from simple to the most complex.
  • Beautiful illustrations, sketches, and examples.
  • And so much more!

14. Artist’s Sketchbook by Cathy Johnson

Artist's Sketchbook by Cathy Johnson book cover

In Artist’s Sketchbook, Johnson will teach you how to turn your everyday activities and experiences into a collection of visual memories. 

You’ll learn to draw on the spot and capture all the beauty that is around you, whether you are in a village, town, or city. 

What’s in it for you:

  • Helpful tips and expert advice. 
  • 15 demos with step-by-step processes and explanations about sketching on the spot.
  • Favorite sketches, tips, techniques, and advice from more than 10 artists.
  • And so much more!

15. Freehand Drawing and Discovery by James Richards

Written specifically for architects and planners, this book teaches the basics of freehand sketching and how to use it to generate design concepts. 

What’s in it for you:

  • Several illustrations and examples to help you hone your skills.
  • Step-by-step and easy-to-follow guidance.
  • Practical tips and advice from industry experts.
  • And so much more!

16. Beginner’s Guide to Sketching by 3dtotal Publishing

This book is the ultimate guide to basic and concept sketching. It will help you build your fundamental skills and sketch with confidence. 

What’s in it for you:

  • Top tips and advice from established experts in the industry.
  • Several exercises and illustrations.
  • Step-by-step processes and tutorials.
  • And so much more!

17. The Artful Sketch by Mary Phan

The Artful Sketch by Mary Phan book cover

In The Artful Sketch, Phan will teach you how to create gorgeous handmade sketches and designs. 

What’s in it for you:

  • 14 sketches and step-by-step instructions to help you master your craft.
  • Beautiful illustrations and examples.
  • A simple yet powerful sketching technique.
  • And so much more!

18. Art Starts with a Line by Erin McManness

Art Starts with a Line by Erin McManness book cover

Indeed, art starts with a line, and this book will teach you everything you need to know to master the art and science of line drawing. 

What’s in it for you:

  • How to draw anything and everything with simple lines and shapes.
  • Techniques and exercises to help hone your skills.
  • Introduction to all the basic tools and materials you’ll need.
  • And so much more!

19. Sketching People by Lynne Chapman

Sketching People by Lynne Chapman book cover

In Sketching People, Chapman will teach you the skills needed to draw all kinds of people in several different settings. 

What’s in it for you:

  • How to convey age differences.
  • Methods and techniques of creating fabric folds.
  • How to master tonal drawings.
  • Capturing the essence of a character.
  • And so much more!

20. Sketch!  by France Belleville-Van Stone

Sketch! by France Belleville-Van Stone book cover

In this book, self-taught artist Belleville-Van Stone will teach you how to create your own drawing ritual and devote more time to art. 

What’s in it for you:

  • How to turn rough sketches into finished work.
  • How to incorporate daily drawing into your busy life.
  • Pros and cons of going fully digital. 
  • Tips and expert advice on everything you need to know.
  • And so much more!

Sketch! is geared towards busy professionals who want to learn how to incorporate small chunks of drawing practice into their daily lives, even if for ten minutes a day. 

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