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The Best Books about Drawing and Sketching

Katherine regularly reviews art books and has a very extensive art library (4 bookcases and lots of stacks waiting for the next one!)

A very small selection of my drawing books

A very small selection of my drawing books

Find out which are the best books about drawing and sketching

Do you want to learn how to draw? Want to find out which are the best books about drawing and sketching?

This is a big site designed to help those who want to

  • DEVELOP YOUR DRAWING SKILLS and learn about drawing at an advanced level

Scroll down to find links to MORE BOOKS ABOUT DRAWING than you ever knew existed!
[Due to a recent change in hosting, this site is currently being reconstructed. It will still contain links to a huge number of books - but some of these will be on linked websites.]

These are the BEST BOOKS about:

  • specific drawing techniques and materials
  • sketching and using a sketchbook or visual journal
  • how to draw specific subjects (eg drawing people, flowers, animals)
  • creativity and creative drawing

I'm an artist and writer who is absolutely passionate about drawing and sketching and I write about both.

  • Making A Mark, my art blog is currently ranked as the #3 art blog in the UK and in the top 20 in the world.
  • My Travels with a Sketchbook blog has also featured in and been recommended by The Times newspaper in London
  • My new book about drawing and sketching has been published in the USA, UK and Asia in January 2015.

The Big Drawing Book Review - to support The Big Draw in the UK


This site was started as a place to highlight all the best books about drawing and sketching. I'd developed THE BIG DRAWING BOOK REVIEW on my blog Making A Mark and needed a place to keep all the reviews by artists and their recommendations about what were the best drawing books. I now post book reviews to Making A Mark reviews......

I started reviewing books about drawing in support of the Big Draw month in the UK which is co-ordinated by the Drawing Campaign. The "Rating books for the Big Drawing Book Review" Appendix at the end of this website explains the system we used for differentiating between books (5 pencils is excellent!). Book reviews were posted on my blog and the blogs of those people participating in the review.

I then set this site up to make sure I captured and made accessible all those recommendations - so they were available to all and not buried on our respective blogs! I collated all the links to the reviews of books about drawing or sketching by people participating in the project on their and my blogs done as part of the original exercise book. (Unfortunately, this site has since moved hosts and the constraints of this site mean that I can no longer list links to all the reviews on this site. I'm making plans to remedy this.)

Since the project, I've continued to develop the recommendations about good books about drawing and sketching - based on the recommendations of others and my own reviews. Where there are no specific recommendations you can be sure I crawled all over Amazon working out which were the books which were getting the top ratings.

Over time I've developed the structure of the site so that I group "like" books together. For example, there's a section for beginners - but there's also a section for those seeking more advanced instruction on how to develop their drawing skills

I'm always very happy to hear your suggestions - just a recommendation as a comment.

I'd also like to thank all those have left really great feedback about this site since I started it. You are right - there is no other like it!

Books about Drawing


Creating a structure for this site has not been easy. Books about drawing tend to come in a long list without any rhyme or reason.

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In broad terms books about drawing and sketching are:

  • aimed at different skills levels - from people who have no knowledge or skills to improvers and those who need or want to to develop advanced skills
  • typically divide between instruction and art history
  • instruction books vary in their approach - I find that typically the books which standout and get remembered - and bought again and again - are those that don't repeat the same structure as all the others. It wasn't until I was commissioned to write a book about drawing and sketching and had to produce a flatplan that I realised how many books follow a conventional format. For example - why does the chapter on media need to come at the beginning rather than the end?
  • Step by step instruction is very popular but is it effective? Why write about it in a book when it's so much easier these days to view a step by step demonstration via video, DVD or internet television?
  • Instruction about 'how to draw' specific subject matter is popular - however such books should be examined to make sure they don't repeat information which can be found in more generic books on how to draw and allocate most of the pages to actual practical instruction with respect to the specific subject matter.
  • Art History books tend to focus on specific artists. Overviews of specific periods in the history of drawing are available but are not common. A lot of books are produced as catalogues for an exhibition devoted to drama

Learn How to Draw

Below you can find the Best Art Books for:

1) beginners wanting to learn how to draw

2) those wanting to know more about specific drawing media and drawing techniques

If you want to know more about to draw specific subject matter see the topics listed in the "How to Draw...." section (eg people, perspective etc)

Drawing is absolutely no different from anything else in life.

1. There is no "get rich quick" solution

2. You get out what you put in.

— Katherine Tyrrell

"How to Draw" Books for Beginners

Which are the Best Books about Drawing for those wanting to learn how to draw?

If you want to learn how to draw and can't get to a class, the very best thing you can do is buy a book which has proved to be invaluable in teaching me and thousands of other people how to draw.

However do bear in mind that learning how to draw is essentially about practice, practice, practice! There is no way you can become good at drawing overnight - however these books can get you going in the right direction and you can make progress quickly if you try the exercises they recommend.

THE TWO BEST DRAWING BOOKS FOR BEGINNERS - by a very long way - are listed below. These are Keys to Drawing and The New Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain. Neither book is new and both books have stood the test of time - and gained very many fans as a result.

I highly RECOMMEND both books - as do very many people who have learned how to draw from studying these books and attempting the very practical and useful exercises they contain.

Try either but I really do recommend buying both if you can afford both as they take a different approach and complement each other.

Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain: The Definitive, 4th Edition - by Betty Edwards

Currently #1 BEST SELLER IN DRAWING - 4th edition (2012)

Rated 4.7 out of 5 stars by 441 customer reviews on

Rated 4.9 out of 5 stars by 17 customer reviews in

I own copies of the original edition and the third and fourth editions and have HIGHLY RECOMMENDED previous editions


  • this is a standard text for beginners and improvers
  • sold over 1.7 MILLION COPIES all over the world and translated into 17 different languages
  • consistently rated both best-selling and/or top-rated drawing instruction book on Amazon for a number of years.
  • First published in 1979, it stayed in the New York Times Best Seller lists for over a year
  • Second edition in 1989: Revised by Dr. Betty Edwards - and straight into the NYT Best Seller List
  • Third edition in 1999: The 20th anniversary edition has been in the TOP 10 BESTSELLING BOOKS ABOUT DRAWING ON AMAZON - 1,626 days in the top 100 books (Arts & Photography) on Amazon; 4.4 out of 5 stars (240 customer reviews)
  • Fourth Edition - published April 2012 by Tarcher/Penguin - #1 best seller on Amazon
  • Now also available as a KINDLE EDITION.

WARNING! This book has LOTS OF WORDS AND LOTS OF CONTENT (i.e. information) so is not ideal for those who just like to look at a thin book that is mainly pictures! :)

Keys to Drawing - by Bert Dodson


Forget the original publication date - none of these exercises will ever date!

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED - I've been strongly recommending this book to people wanting to learn to draw - or to improve their drawing - for years.

  • Rated an average of 4.7 out of 5 stars on (160 customer reviews)
  • Rated an average 4.8 out of 5 stars on (22 customer reviews)
  • "Keys to Drawing" occupied the #1 spot for books about drawing on Amazon for a very long time - and the last time was in September 2011

Now also available on Kindle

Bert Dodson's method of "teaching anyone who can hold a pencil" how to draw has been extremely successful over many years. It is now one of the most popular, best-selling art books in history!

"This is a book that I can pick up and reread and dip into over and over again and never ever get bored."

It's one of the best 'how to' books on drawing that I've ever read and I can highly recommend it to all of you who are:

  • interested in the art of drawing,
  • wanting to develop your own skill in self-evaluation and/or
  • wanting to develop your own individual style of drawing.

HIS system for developing drawing skills involves 55 "keys" to drawing. The book comprises exercises which help you to work through what the key is about and why it is effective. In doing so, the reader develops their observational skills and learns how to control mark-making and pattern-making and to draw in a way which creates the illusion of light, depth, and texture

Which is the Best Book for people wanting to learn to draw? - Bert Dodson vs Betty Edwards

I HIGHLY RECOMMEND TWO BOOKS all the time to people wanting to learn how to draw

Keys to Drawing by: Bert Dodson

  • Amazon reviews: 4.7 out of 5 stars (160 customer reviews)
  • Amazon UK reviews: Dodson (Author) 4.8 out of 5 stars (22 customer reviews)
  • Goodreads: 91% of people liked it | All editions: 4.01 average rating, 5716 ratings, 23 reviews, added by 10,343 people, 3665 to-reads

Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain: The Definitive, 4th Edition (2012) by: Betty Edwards

  • Amazon reviews (4th edition): 4.7 out of 5 stars (441 customer reviews)
  • Amazon UK reviews: 4.9 out of 5 stars (17 customer review)
  • Goodreads: 90% of people liked it | This edition: 4.37 average rating, 52 ratings, 7 reviews, added by 218 people

BOTH BOOKS have very many fans and lots of us like both of them!

Everyday Matters - by Danny Gregory

RECOMMENDED: Amazon REVIEWS: 4.8 out of 5 stars (88 customer reviews)

One of the best ways of starting to draw is to practice. One of the best ways of doing this is just to make a point of drawing something every day.

That's what Danny Gregory did - and this book is the result.

I started drawing about eight years ago and it changed my life. It led me to travel, to meet people, to get books published, but most of all it transformed the way I see the world around me and how I experience every day.

"Two years before I started drawing, my wife was run over by a subway train. Sounds really terrible, I know. But, well, this book is about how art and New York City saved my life."

This unique book chronicles his discovery of drawing, his wife's rehabilitation, his son's infancy and the life of the city he loves.

Not everybody will get on with the fact that all the text is handwritten ie it's a facsimile of his journal.

Drawing and Sketching - Resources for Artists - if you want a compendium of information try some of my other websites

The Big Draw, Covent Garden, London 2007 Drawing the crowd drawing spaces 8"x11" pencil on HP paper copyright Katherine Tyrrell

The Big Draw, Covent Garden, London 2007 Drawing the crowd drawing spaces 8"x11" pencil on HP paper copyright Katherine Tyrrell

Making A Mark Guides: Drawing and Sketching

I've developed some Guides for Drawing and Sketching which are available as FREE DOWNLOADABLE files . Let me know what you think about them in comments and suggestions below. I've included links to a couple of them below.

written by Katherine Tyrrell; published by Making A Mark Publications

Books about Drawing Media & Techniques

Focusing in particular on pencils and pen and ink

Once you're no longer a drawing "newbie" you'll find you will find you develop a huge appetite for wanting to learn more about different drawing media and more about specific techniques associated with the different media.

These are the books which tell you a lot more about drawing materials and techniques than most books about drawing

The Drawing Book: Materials and Techniques for Today's Artist - by Richard McDaniel

Rated 4.4 out of 5 stars based on 5 customer ratings + 1 review

RECOMMENDED with caveats.

It's very difficult to know how to rate this book. On the one hand, it's absolutely the best book I know for looking at drawing materials. Its descriptions and images used to make me salivate and want to try new drawing media and supports. On the other hand, the hardback edition has not been updated or revised for the changes which will have taken place since 1995 when it was first published.

The Pen and Ink Book: Materials and Techniques for Today's Artist

RECOMMENDED with caveats.

Amazon reviews: 4.5 out of 5 stars (based on 20 customer ratings + 8 customer reviews)

Amazon UK reviews: 5.0 out of 5 stars (4 customer reviews)

This is a definite "5 pencils" for anybody who loves or is seriously interested in learning more about pen and ink work and is a "4 pencils" for anybody else.

In my opinion, this is not a book for beginners or for those starting out. Rather it will be enjoyed by those who are already have skills in drawing who want to advance and develop and/or those who are seriously interested in drawing in pen and ink.

Drawing Realistic Textures in Pencil - by J. D. Hillberry

RECOMMENDED with caveats.

Amazon reviews: 4.5 out of 5 stars (based on 127 customer reviews)

Amazon reviews UK 4.6 out of 5 stars (10 customer reviews)

The book is excellent at precisely what it sets out to do - drawing realistic textures in pencil.

For those who enjoy and/or want to achieve this sort of rendering of surfaces and textures then this book provides a lot of helpful information and support which is clearly set out and explained.

However it is not a 'learn how to draw' book as such. For those who want to learn how to draw at either a basic or advanced level there are other more helpful books which provide a more rounded perspective on drawing - and its scope and practice. I'd award it a 4 pencils rating in relation to its coverage of rendering texture only.

Improve Your Drawing Skills

These books will interest you if you want to:

1) improve your drawing skills

2) develop advanced drawing skills

3) learn how to draw like the Masters

Drawing should be part of visual education, in the same way that press-ups are part of an athlete’s training

— David Hockney

Learn about Advanced Drawing

The books in this section take you beyond the conventional skills and about drawing and rendering - with some tackling drawing within a contemporary perspective

Experimental Drawing - by Robert Kaupelis

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED This book is very definitely worth a five pencils rating - based on my original 1992 copy

Amazon reviews: 4.8 out of 5 stars based on 12 customer reviews

In my review of Experimental Drawing I said

"Experimental Drawing" has the feel of being both a distillation of much learning and experimentation on the part of Kaupelis and his students and a labour of love.

This is the 30th anniversary edition. Books which stick around for this long with consistent sales do so because they're very good and get recommended very often by word of mouth

On re-reading it, I've decided that it needs to take up residence on my bedside table so I can revisit it more often. I'm planning to use this book more in future to try and find ways of teasing out the ways of drawing and images which are in my head but haven't yet appeared on paper to my satisfaction.

I'd personally try and get hold of a second hand copy of the original publication if you can

The Drawing Book - by Sarah Simblet

This is a UK book which is not so well known in the USA but it is

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED by me. This is one of my favourite drawing books. That's because I find it stimulating to just look through it as the images are superb.

UK: Rated an average of 4.8 out of 5 stars (9 customer reviews of which 7 were 5*)

If you feel you are most comfortable with traditional rendering/realism then this is probably not the book for you. However it emphatically earns in my view a five pencil rating for those keen to develop their drawing skills beyond technically correct rendering and/or are interested in drawing in art history and/or those who just want to develop their drawing generally. This book is a 'must buy' - I guarantee you will be blown away by it.

The Natural Way to Draw - by Kimon Nicolaides

Recommended by Charley Parker (Lines and Colors)

"If you're really committed, Kimon Nicolaides has the game plan, but it's a demanding course of study."

Amazon reviews: 4.5 out of 5 stars based on 153 customer reviews

Amazon UK reviews: 4.5 out of 5 stars (4 customer reviews) Like (3)

Kimon Nicolaides (1891-1938) taught at the New York's Art Students' League for 15 years where he developed a system for teaching people how to draw - which is shared in this book. The book comprises the 64 exercises he taught over the course of the year. Note that it's VERY DEMANDING in terms of the time required to complete the exercises. The basic assumption is it takes 3 hours per day for a year.

Expressive Drawing: A Practical Guide to Freeing the Artist Within - by Steven Aimone

USA: Average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars (67 customer reviews)

UK: Average rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars (10 customer reviews)

This is NOT a book for those who prefer detailed rendering.

This is NOT a book for people who prefer descriptive drawing.

Rather this is a book for those who would like to loosen up and become more expressive in the way they draw

This book focuses on:

* The Drawing Process

* The Elements of Drawing - Line & Mark, Shape, Texture

* Drawing Relationships - Repetition, Rhythm, Equilibrium, Emphasis, Foundational Structure

The Visual Language of Drawing: Lessons on the Art of Seeing

I've waited a very long time to get hold of a book - by James Lancel McElhinney and the Instructors of the Arts Students League of New York

This book is based on the tuition available at the prestigious Arts Student League of New York founded by and for artists in 1875. For over 130 years, people have been able to sign up to do classes at the League if they want practical training in making art. The League has also had many famous tutors and students.

Amazon reviews: 4.8 out of 5 stars (6 customer reviews)

What this book does is bring together different perspectives on the practice of drawing, how it can be taught and how students can be enabled to see. The premise of the book is that great art teachers never draw on just one source for their teaching - instead they reference many different influences. People who teach art will find it very helpful to their practice.

This book aims to demystify the process of learning to draw. It proposes that drawing is a language, that drawing is for everybody, that there is no single way of drawing and that people who teach drawing can provide the essential grammar of all visual thinking.

The book comprises three sections devoted to:

  1. an introductory essay which sets out how drawing has been appreciated, practiced and taught in the past
  2. interviews with 15 former and current instructors at the Arts Students' League focusing on their personal insights about drawing and how they approached the teaching of drawing. These chapters highlight various alternative approaches to drawing.
  3. Drawing Concepts and Plans - an illustrated outline of how to teach drawing to students - highlighting essential concepts, lesson plans and exercises, terminology, materials and techniques


  • This is not a "how to" book in the conventional 'step by step" sense. It's more of a "how to teach" or "how to learn" book
  • This is a book for people who enjoy reading as well as looking at images of different approaches to drawing. There's a LOT of text - the core of the book comprises interviews with different tutors.

The Art of Responsive Drawing (6th edition) - by Nathan Goldstein

This book has been recommended and used by art schools in the USA for decades.

Recommended by Charley Parker (Lines and Colors)

Rated as 3.7 out of 5 stars (16 customer reviews) - note that the overall average is distorted by people buying a book they did not understand and not understanding how to provide feedback on a 3rd party selling on Amazon. Those who do "get it' rate it highly

This is NOT a "How to draw" book.

This is NOT a book for beginners.

It's the sort of book you need to read alongside a more practical exercise oriented book.

One reviewer commented " this is not a "how-to-draw" book in the "Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain" category, but more of a guide to connoisseurship and the philosophy of drawing."

Classical Drawing Atelier: A Contemporary Guide to Traditional Studio Practice - by Juliette Aristides

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED: Amazon reviews: 4.6 out of 5 stars (77 customer reviews)

This book contains some interesting background on the atelier system. Its aims is to provide a contemporary book version in a manual of approaches and techniques for how to draw in the classical style

Contemporary Drawing - by Margaret Davidson

Amazon reviews: 4.4 out of 5 stars (5 customer reviews)

This books seems to bridge the gap between conventional art instruction books and books about contemporary drawing which simply show you what people have been producing

Check out the review written by Mitchell Albala who is himself an art teacher and author

Learn How to Draw like the Masters

Classical drawing - learn from the Masters

Those who become very good at drawing people tend at some point to study how Past Masters drew people.

Looking at how they made marks, represented people and developed their own unique and individual styles of drawing can be hugely influential in the development of good practices and your own competence in and style of drawing.

Do NOT be put off by these books. They are NOT too advanced even for beginners.

You don't have to be able to draw like the masters to begin to understand and appreciate the complexities involved in drawing people.

Students who study these books soon begin to understand that drawing figures is not something which can be boiled down to six simple tricks - no matter how many authors or so-called teachers would like to persuade us this is the case. These books are also extremely helpful for those wanting to start a life class because they give you ideas for how you can draw people and how to overcome some of the challenges of drawing people. Treat them as a reference source from which to gain inspiration and you will never ever be disappointed.

Many people buy them just to look at them to start with. I still look at my copies all the time - and never ever tire at looking at excellent figure drawings.

Learn How to Draw like the Masters - Classical drawing - learn from the Masters

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED - This book is old and invaluable - in other words it's a CLASSIC.

Amazon reviews: 4.7 out of 5 stars (60 customer reviews)

It contains the most amazing collection of drawings and provides excellent points for how to draw like the masters. It's been described as "the ultimate manual of drawing" and is based on the lessons taught by the late great Robert Beverly Hale at New York City's Art Student League.

In 1989, Watson Guptill published the 45th anniversary edition and the pointers it provides do not date - nor do the drawings by the masters which are included in this volume.

In the book Hales analyses over 100 drawings by the old masters - Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Rodin, Goya, Rembrandt et al - and identifies how they dealt with the perennial challenges for artists trying to recreate the illusion of a 3D form in space on a 2D medium. The level of analysis is not commonly found in other books about drawing

Drawing Ideas of the Masters: Improve Your Drawings by Studying the Masters - by Frederick Malins

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED: I bought a second hand copy of this book having seen a copy owned by one of my tutors. This is one of the BEST books on drawing I've ever bought. It offers you probably the best value you'll ever get for the price paid for a second hand copy

It's not going to get a high rating on Amazon because very few people know it even exists. Plus it's out of print and you cannot buy it new (I had to buy a used copy to get mine).

However this is one of those books which provides refreshment and stimulation in equal part if you ever get jaded or stuck with your own drawing.

The book has six sections covering Portraits, Figure, Figure Composition, Landscape and the Built Environment.

This is a compendium of drawings by Past Masters. The aim is to provide an insight into drawing as practised in the past and it compares and contrasts the techniques of different artists. Includes 140 drawings in a variety of media - pencil, pen and ink, charcoal and watercolour.


If you like to keep a sketchbook or a visual journal, then these art books can provide you with ideas about how to do this!

THE BEST NEW SKETCHING BOOK: The Art of Urban Sketching - Drawing On Location Around The World

This book by by Gabriel Campanario and the Urban Sketchers started the viral explosion of books about Urban Sketching


Amazon reviews 4.7 out of 5 stars (104 customer reviews)

Amazon UK reviews 4.7 out of 5 stars (34 customer reviews)

  • #1 in Books > Arts & Photography Graffiti & Street Art
  • #1 in Books > Arts & Photography Pastel
  • #2 in Books > Arts & Photography Colored Pencil

This is the first book by Urban Sketchers. The Art of Urban Sketching topped the Best Seller Lists for Drawing Books BEFORE it was published on 1 February 2012.

  • It then sold out immediately and went straight to reprint which also sold out.
  • It's now on its third print since publication.
  • It's proved to be so popular that its sales and ranking are only limited by how fast this book can be printed!

The last time I saw anything like this was when James Gurney's Color and Light: A Guide for the Realist Painter was published at the end of 2010 - and it then topped the charts for the whole of 2011 and still remains a firm favourite.

The Art of Urban Sketching: Drawing On Location Around The World by By Gabi Campanario and Urban Sketchers ( was the Best New Art Book in the first half of 2012. At the end of January 2012 - prior to publication - it had secured the #10 spot in the top 100 books in the Arts and Design Category on Amazon (which now includes music) - on the strength of pre-orders alone. Even while out of stock it was maintaining a top ten position in Amazon categories for painting, drawing and other media

Congratulations are due to Gabi Campanario (The Sketch Journalist) who authored the book and the 100 Urban Sketchers who participated in its production

New Books About Drawing and Sketching

This section is devoted to what's new and what's about to be published

20 NEW Books about Drawing in 2014

this site will has a curated list of the 20 best books about drawing and sketching published in 2014 - in my opinion

2013: NEW Books About Drawing

  • Trying to improve your drawing?
  • Want to know about NEW books about drawing which have been published - or are about to be published?
  • This site lists new publication about drawing on a month by month basis in 2013. It also highlights those new books which I recommend.

2012: NEW Books About Drawing

  • This site lists BRAND NEW books about drawing and sketching due to be published in 2012 on a month by month basis and highlights major new books which I recommend

2011: NEW Books About Drawing

  • Find out about new books about drawing and sketching published in 2011 - in hardback, paperback and ebook editions.
  • Listings on a month by month basis but are selective and do not list every book. Each book highlights the type of format, nature of the book and the reception and reviews it has had to date.

How to Draw......

These are the Best Art Books for anybody who wants to learn about how to draw different subjects

The Books in this section have been relocated to subject specific websites/hubs (see below)

How to draw people, heads and hands

This is the link to new website about The Best Books about How to Draw People

Want to learn how to draw people, heads and hands? Do you know which are the books which are significantly better than a lot of the books which purport to teach you how to draw people and do no such thing!

Anatomy for the Artist

RECOMMENDED: Sarah Simblet produces some of the best drawing books on the market and I have no hesitation in recommending this book if you want to learn the anatomy of the human figure from the perspective of an artist. It's also recommended by drawing lecturers and drawing schools.


  • USA - 4.5 out of 5 stars (110 customer reviews)
  • UK - 4.7 out of 5 stars (21 customer reviews)

How to draw perspective

This section has moved to a new site: How to draw perspective

Learn about how to draw perspective - from online resources and instruction books. This is a guide to some of the best resources online about drawing perspective

The Art of Perspective

Perspective drawing is one of those skills which seems to generate a complete mental block for a number of people. Often because it can come across as being a tad too technical and/or something only "proper artists" can do.

However it's not that difficult to learn some of the basic principles and it's well worth the effort in terms of its impact on all your drawings (and paintings) of the real world.

Below you can find the best book about perspective from the perspective of coverage and ratings - it's also a best seller!

RECOMMENDED: Rated an average of 4.6 out of 5 stars by 63 customer reviews

This is a very popular book which deals with perspective from an artist's 'natural' viewpoint as well as from a technical drawing perspective.

It provides a wide range of techniques and tips about how to portray spatial relationships and depth

* how to create perspective on a flat surface using a variety of mediums.

* covers the theory behind perspective

* introduces appropriate approaches to challenging subjects.

How to draw animals and wildlife

How to draw and paint animals and bird is a NEW website for those interested in instruction to help them draw wildlife and domestic animals and birds

The Laws Guide to Drawing Birds


  • Amazon reviews (USA): Rated 4.9 out of 5 stars by 105 customer reviews
  • Amazon reviews (UK): 4.0 out of 5 stars by 4 customer reviews

This is a very highly rated book about drawing birds in the USA - the artist and naturalist John Muir Laws has been called a "modern Audubon" by the Washington Post. The recent publication has generated a lot of very positive reviews. It focuses on habit, behaviour and postures as well as on 'how to draw feathers'.

One of the reasons for the low rank by UK readers is the birds are biased towards those found in the USA

Appendix: Rating books for the Big Drawing Book Review

This is how The Big Drawing Book Review rated books about drawing or sketching.

5 pencils - go out and buy this book right now if you have the money. In your opinion, an essential book for anybody seriously interested in drawing and/or learning more about drawing.

4 pencils - a seriously good book about drawing; definitely one you want to own at some point - maybe one for the Christmas present list if you're broke

3 pencils - good effort but nothing which really distinguishes it from other books. It's just this author's take on the basics. The sort of book which is good while you are reading it but doesn't stick in your memory.

2 pencils - undistinguished in your view. For example: content may be a rerun of previously published books and/or remixed with a new front cover; presentation may not be particularly noteworthy.

1 pencil - buying this book would damage your wallet but is unlikely to enhance either your knowledge, skills or enjoyment. It may also hurt your eyes! (Unfortunately there are a few of these out there - although I'm assuming we've probably weeded through a few of these without buying!)

Comments - Let me know what you think - but please do not spam!

Srinivas Madasu on August 26, 2019:

Review helps thanks again

Brian Raymond on April 12, 2018:

I've just read your blog and these book suggestions with great interest - thanks for the great reviews and collating all this information in one place.

I just need to highlight a book that I discovered a few years ago that has had a significant impact on my own drawing practice and I'd recommend getting hold of. It is by Heather Spears, a drawer, poet, author and teacher. The book is called The Creative Eye which has some great insights into visual perception and really interesting practical techniques to help artists see better. Check it out.

Alice McKenzie on October 27, 2017:

I am the Librarian for our Art League in Arizona. Your reviews are really helpful and I hope to have access to your updated website. It states it will be available in 2015 but I didn't see a link to it. Can you tell me where to find it?

Malcolm Newell on July 26, 2016:

Thanks for this list - I've been searching the internet for a guide not just on which books are good, but where to start and why. I've been working through Mark Linley - How to Draw Anything, and found myself a bit frustrated with the "copy this" approach. I don't want to copy I want to draw like me! I've settled on Bert Dodson's Keys to Drawing.

Danielle on February 17, 2016:

Got great ideas from your list. I was hoping to see a book recommendation on dogs and cats and perhaps a good book on shading tips and tools. Thanks for the list

Surabhi Kaura on October 31, 2015:

This is cool!

sociopath-free on February 22, 2014:

I can't draw a crooked line, but the books you list here are inspiring.

teelover on February 15, 2014:

Great selection!

Katherine Tyrrell (author) from London on January 25, 2014:

@rebekah-grelen: I haven't really targeted kids with this website - however I take your point. Thanks for the appreciation! :)

rebekah-grelen on January 25, 2014:

Awesome! Thanks for sharing all the awesome resources. SUPER basic... but I loved Ed Emberly drawing books as a kid. So fun and easy to follow! :)

Lee from Derbyshire, UK on January 15, 2014:

Like it! I've always been awful at drawing so this is a very welcome lens for me!

Katherine Tyrrell (author) from London on January 11, 2014:

@boneworld: An awful lot of people think the same as you! :)

Jackson Thom from West of Left South Lucky on January 10, 2014:

This is extensive, but still it comes back to Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain. I gotta get that book!

Sure Temp on January 04, 2014:

very informative!

Sure Temp on January 04, 2014:

very informative!

Marcel White on December 19, 2013:

@makingamark: You are a good person and your intentions are good but its an impossible mission. You deserve an award just for making me try. Thanks again.

Katherine Tyrrell (author) from London on December 19, 2013:

@Marcel W: That's because you weren't practising sketching from observation first!Once you learn how to draw from observation, you'll find that creative drawing becomes a lot easier.

Marcel White on December 19, 2013:

@makingamark: Yes, I read it but I thought I could use your suggestion as a kind of acid test to discover if there was any hope for a guy like me to sketch anything. The result was NO!!!

Katherine Tyrrell (author) from London on December 17, 2013:

@Marcel W: I think the problem you have is the absence of the cat!Did you read the bit about who the article is for? I quote"This guide is for people who want to learn how to:* sketch their cat* create better drawings of their cat* draw from life rather than from photos* develop observational skills* develop skills in sketching quickly* develop drawing skills generally"

Marcel White on December 17, 2013:

Well, I read your lens, became interested and followed the link to the article HOW TO SKETCH A CAT IN 30 SECONDS. I confess I don't have a cat and had to use my imagination but I tried . . . and ended up with a sketch that looks like a hybrid of a bathyscaphe and an iguana. Thanks for giving me hope for some minutes. Great lens!

kehsiberry on December 11, 2013:

This is very good.. I always want to learn how to draw or sketch, this lens is very informative

Katherine Tyrrell (author) from London on November 07, 2013:

@Boyd Carter: Thank you Boyd - I'm delighted with every aspect of the comment apart from the fact I've apparently changed sex! ;) :)

Boyd Carter on November 06, 2013:

If anyone is interested in sketching or drawing, this lens is a "must visit" before you start buying books. Well done, detailed, and comments by the writer as to why he recommends the books he recommends. I recommend it highly.

Katherine Tyrrell (author) from London on October 30, 2013:

@richardrose: Thanks for your comments - much appreciated.

Katherine Tyrrell (author) from London on October 30, 2013:

@KidsAdvantage: Sorry the poll didn't work for you, I'll see if I can work why that happened - or report a bug.

KidsAdvantage on October 30, 2013:

I couldn't take part in the poll above for some choice - Keys to drawing....going to try this one as there just seems to be more info & feedback availabel

richardrose on October 12, 2013:

Tons of fantastic information. Awesome lens

Katherine Tyrrell (author) from London on October 02, 2013:

@BLouw: Thanks - I hope it's a website you'll want to refer to your students

Barbara Walton from France on October 02, 2013:

What a fantastic resource and a great range of drawing books! I'll definitely be back to refer to this.

bdkz on September 18, 2013:

Testing comments.

SteveKaye on September 06, 2013:

This is a truly amazing resource. Thank you for publishing it.

suzzycue on September 06, 2013:

Wow I hit the jackpot of drawing books and lessons. I want to start drawing again and it looks like your lens is the best place to start. I have bookmarked your lens . Thanks a lot for all the info. I want to learn pastels also.

chat2vishakha on September 02, 2013:

Nice post.Thanks for sharing the list of books.

Kate Fereday Eshete from United Kingdom on August 21, 2013:

What a wonderful resource - everything in one place, easy to find when you need it. I like drawing and even plucked up the courage to include my rough sketches done during a visit to the Isle of Harris in Scotland in my latest lens. I'm self-taught, so am always on the look-out for good books to guide me. Thanks for a mega-information-packed lens that I shall re-visit.

RANADEEP on August 15, 2013:

Very good and updated lense with 95% great stuff,your lense is awesome and it can help me to polish my drawing skills alot better,thank you very much for sharing a great information!!

JaspinderKaur on August 11, 2013:

great collection.thanx for sharing

girlfriendfactory on August 10, 2013:

I'm pinning this to keep as a favorite! :-) Thanks for all the great resources!

nicey on July 12, 2013:

A lengthy lens and packed with good information. I love drawing. Thanks

Katherine Tyrrell (author) from London on June 27, 2013:

@FanfrelucheHubs: Thanks! My aim is this should be a one stop resource website for people who can work from 'learning to draw' through to 'advanced drawing' and more specialised drawing.

Katherine Tyrrell (author) from London on June 27, 2013:

@annayjo: What I found most helpful was to go back and look at the drawings by people who really knew what they were doing. People like Michelangelo and da Vinci. Try "Drawing Ideas of the Masters: Improve Your Drawings by Studying the Masters" - you should be able to pick up one up a good price second-hand.

Katherine Tyrrell (author) from London on June 27, 2013:

@vicky71: It's so different from a few years ago when people were spending ages trying to track down an online copy of his books! They've absolutely walked off the shelves since they were reprinted

vicky71 on June 26, 2013:

I have got few books by Andrew Loomis..But this is great.. Everything here..Thanks. Love your lens

Katherine Tyrrell (author) from London on June 18, 2013:

@LauraCarExpert: My pleasure Laura! :)

LauraCarExpert on June 18, 2013:

Wow this is so much of great information, Thank you!

Katherine Tyrrell (author) from London on June 13, 2013:

@marvmac: Thank you

marvmac on June 13, 2013:

Great page

Katherine Tyrrell (author) from London on May 16, 2013:

@WordChipper: It's so difficult when you know what they like doing but haven't got a clue about what's good. Hopefully this site helps you and other people with that conundrum.

WordChipper on May 14, 2013:

I see some great gift ideas her for my daughter - she loves to draw.

MythYes on May 08, 2013:

There are so many books on this list! Great lens.

annayjo on April 23, 2013:

I would love to try sketching with pencil or charcoal but making outlines look more natural is the hardest for me. It just looks like lines instead of natural flow into making the whole picture. I think some of these book may be of help. Thank you

thingz1 on April 21, 2013:

Great resource, thanks.

Katherine Tyrrell (author) from London on April 19, 2013:

@Fit And Fab: So much depends on the 10 year old! I think a ten year old could cope with Betty's book. You might want to sit and look at with her and check she's getting the points being made - which could be fun for the both of you. How about if you both had a go at the exercises together?

Fit And Fab on April 19, 2013:

So much info on this wonderful lens. Can you tell me which book you would recommend for my 10 year old daughter who enjoys drawing?

surabhinafdey on March 30, 2013:

wow....this info is really gonna help me live my sketching fantasies.....

Nathalie Roy from France (Canadian expat) on March 24, 2013:

Certainly one of the best resource online about books for drawing. Lots of personal insight. A must read for artists (or would be artists)

GeekGirl1 on March 22, 2013:

Great info. I must draw again!

wyzeguru on March 19, 2013:

I already own a few of these books so we must be on the same page!

Katherine Tyrrell (author) from London on March 17, 2013:

@Close2Art LM: Thanks for noticing that I've tried to set it up with sections for beginners, improvers and advanced.My own view it helps enormously if you get the right book at the right stage. If you get one that is too demanding too early it can put you right off. Plus if you don't recognise that you have more skills to acquire, you might stop your development a tad too early!

Katherine Tyrrell (author) from London on March 17, 2013:

@inbarshahar: Many thanks - it's good to share!

inbarshahar on March 17, 2013:

i liked this lens, i will share it with my friends, it contains great information.

Close2Art LM on March 11, 2013:

This is great information for artists in all stages of their development, awesome

Michelllle on March 07, 2013:

Wow. Amazing Information.

MooshkaDaisy on March 06, 2013:

Great lens with tons of information! Thank you!

daisychainsaw lm on February 20, 2013:

This is a great informative lens, thanks for sharing your knowledge!

cathy-pascoe-3 on February 15, 2013:

Do you have a section on books about how to teach drawing? I haven't found anything yet. I have a recommendation for that section. "Drawing with Children" by Mona Brookes. Five years ago, when I was teaching in the elementary school system, and I got to teach all the art in my school for a year and a half....that book was my inspiration. The children's art portfolio I collected then has won me jobs at eight different art galleries in Ontario as a children's drawing instructor.

anonymous on February 12, 2013:

Great a lifelong artist there are books here I haven't heard of before.

anonymous on January 31, 2013:

This is one of the best lists that I have ever come across. Thank you so much.

Clairissa from OREFIELD, PA on January 28, 2013:

This is a fabulous resource. Thanks for sharing. Blessed!

likestoshop on January 25, 2013:

My little brother is going to LOVE this lens!!! : ))

Takkhis on December 30, 2012:

I use pencil always while i draw.

rdcbizz on December 30, 2012:

love to draw

Katherine Tyrrell (author) from London on December 24, 2012:

@BLemley: Thanks for the blessing!

Katherine Tyrrell (author) from London on December 24, 2012:

@RosemaryLucas: Thank you Rosemary - I keep trying to fit more in! :)

Emilee46 on December 24, 2012:

i have looking for dwrawing and sketching tutorial. and now i found it here. thank's for your lense.

RosemaryLucas on December 24, 2012:

Really useful lens packed with resources.

Beverly Lemley from Raleigh, NC on December 19, 2012:

Love your resources and helpful knowledge! SquidAngel blessed! B : )

anonymous on December 12, 2012:

Wonderful and very helpful information! All in one place! Thanks for sharing with us!

Katherine Tyrrell (author) from London on November 08, 2012:

@Judith Nazarewicz: Definitely always room for one more book about drawing!

Katherine Tyrrell (author) from London on November 08, 2012:

@qualityweb: Glad to be of help. I also love drawing and sketching and until I started this site I had no idea there were so many books out there which can provide help to those who want to develop their skills.

Bethrice on November 07, 2012:

great lens .very useful

qualityweb on November 07, 2012:

I personally love drawings and sketching, so as per me this lens contains maximum information which can help you to become a good artist.

Judith Nazarewicz from Victoria, British Columbia, Canada on November 06, 2012:

Loads of content, as an artist I love any and all art books. My book shelves are overflowing but there is always room for one more. :-) Thanks for the awesome lens!

Boris_M on November 03, 2012:

Great lens. I`m really bad at drawing but I always wanted to learn. I just might get myself one of these books and start working on it :)

AdOnce on November 02, 2012:

Nice leans, but not nice design of page :)

Katherine Tyrrell (author) from London on October 25, 2012:

@rvmom26: Many thanks for the compliment

rvmom26 on October 23, 2012:

Wonderful comprehensive lens!

anonymous on October 21, 2012:

Cool list of book on drawing. I will bookmark this lens. Thanks

fatima-nasim on October 16, 2012:

Awesome lens!

anonymous on October 12, 2012:

nice colllections now i will surely draw a master piece thanks for sharing

spids1 on September 30, 2012:

Great book list. Well put together!

tahirmahmood on September 21, 2012:


MatthewDasher on September 20, 2012:

A great list indeed! Just remember that no matter how much you read about drawing, it's practice that makes perfect! :)

JZinoBodyArt on September 17, 2012:

Now that's a massive list!

makglifeasier12 on September 17, 2012:

Wow, this lens is more intense than I had thought of. Nice set up.Jeff

Hannah Writes on September 14, 2012:

My younger daughter has been blessed with the gift of being artistic. The beginner books will be very helpful to her.

StephenObrion on September 07, 2012:

Definitely a great lens for the aspiring drawer!

FreddieHanger on August 31, 2012:

I love drawing!!! Charcoal is my personal favorite as far as mediums (media?) go :)

poldepc lm on August 29, 2012:

thanks for sharing this lens

Katherine Tyrrell (author) from London on August 22, 2012:

@anonymous: I'd always go back to basics and study the techniques used in classical drawing first. There are a number of excellent books which are about classical drawing.

anonymous on August 22, 2012:

Great lens. Just one thing missing. I am having trouble with shading. Are there any books that give extra credit to shading?

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