What books have helped you?

Do you have any reference books that you simply can’t do without in your artistic practice? Have there been instructional books along the way that helped you make leaps forward in your understanding?

Please share the title and author of those books in the comments, so everyone can benefit from them! We may even feature a few of those books in our blog in the coming year.

14 thoughts on “What books have helped you?

  1. From what I’ve heard, there’s this book called “Figure drawing: design and invention” by Michael Hampton. It’s supposed to be an excellent instructional book about figure drawing. It goes from basics to the complex intricacies of how to draw proportionate people. I don’t know for sure though, I’ve only seen in recommended.

  2. Micheal hampton’s “figure drawing”, andrew loomis “a succesful drawing, a prspective book by someone named cheeseman, and lots of research

  3. “Figure drawing: design and invention” by Michael Hampton is indeed one of the best books i’ve read for figure drawing instruction. His techniques are a very inside-out approach to drawing which is an essential skill for quick accurate gesture drawing and animation

  4. Hello I have quite a few anatomy books that i skim through occasionally. But ill keep my comment simple.

    Anatomy A Complete Guide for Artists by Joesph Sheppard….It covers lots of information on anatomy…along with detail picture of each body part….arm, leg, rib cage, etc. The book starts with proportions then goes into the different body parts…..showing the bones plus names along with the muscles and how they work together.

    Bridgman’s Complete Guide to Drawing from Life…breaks the anatomy down in to mechanics and explains how certain parts of the body function and building the figure with shapes.

    Atlas of Human Anatomy for the Artist by Stephen Rogers Peck…..a really DEEP anatomy book that covers every individual bone making up the skeleton. Almost a tad boring like a school text book..but great to reference if you learn the basics of anatomy and want to know MORE information on a body part or bone.

    Michael Hampton-Figure Drawing: Design and Invention…by far is one of my favorite anatomy books…its seems to be a newer Book compared to the previous books named above…… the drawings are colorful instead of all gray scale and his approach to building the figure is very simple. But this book is a great read from start to finish. Also it covers the basics and if I want to understand more of a certain part (muscle or bone) of the body I’ll reference one of the previous books…but with this book I’m not over-whelmed with information the information given is simple….its just enough to get me started. This book also doesn’t speak too much about proportion because he feels it stiffens the drawing…he says to just keeping fixing a problem until it looks right.

    Others that I don’t care to elaborate on but should be looked at are…..

    Andrew Loomis Series = Drawing the Head and Hands/Successful Drawing/Figure Drawing for All its Worth/Fun with a Pencil

    George Bridgman- Constructive Anatomy

    My suggestion would be to start with Michael Hampton’s :Figure Drawing :Design and Invention….and reference the other books to get a deeper understanding of the different body parts…I’d also suggest to actually READ these books and don’t just stare at the pictures…lol…I do that quite a lot. And most importantly draw figures!! DRAW DRAW DRAW

    and also use the internet…im online all day research anatomy or anatomy books….but make sure to get some drawing time in! lol!!

    THe End!!…Hopes this helps someone!!

  5. A couple of months ago I purchased Walt Stanchfield’s “Drawn to life, volume 1 and 2″ and these are absolutely GREAT!
    They’re not into anatomy construction/instruction, but very much into bringing your drawing to life, what makes a figure drawing a drawing that tells a story and how to overcome stiff, static drawings. There is also a lot of peptalk on how to become a better artist.
    I found that it really helped me to look differently at figure drawing.

  6. Thanks so much, guys! I will definitely check these out. Please, keep the recommendations coming, I suspect they will benefit many people!

  7. I also have Sheppard’s Anatomy: a Complete Guide for Artists, and Hampton’s Figure Drawing: Design and Invention.
    Now I’m following Kimon Nicolaides’ study program, on The Natural way to Draw, which I highly recommend. After this, I intend to devote more time to Glenn Vilppu’s Basic Drawing Manual and Bert Dodson’s Keys to Drawing.

    Here it follows a few titles I’ve bought by chance, I’d like you guys to share your experience, if you know some, or recommend a similar title. Yes, It’s a bad habit, just read the author or editor’s words on that book, which are frequently full of positive intentions toward the student, and acquire for later.

    Nancy Beiman – Animated Performance
    David Sanmiguel – Art of Drawing Anatomy
    Robert Fawcett – On the art of Drawing
    Anthony Ryder – The artist’s Complete Guide to Figure Drawing
    Borough Johnson – Figure Drawing & Portraiture in Pencil, Chalk and Charcoal
    Christopher Hart – Everything you Ever Wanted to Know About Cartooning but Were Afraid to Draw
    Ben Caldwell – Action! Cartooning
    Carl Cheek – Quick Sketching
    Scott McCloud – Understanding Comics
    Diane Cardaci – Drawing Made Easy Realistic Textures
    Betty Edwards – Drawing on the Artists Within
    John H. Vanderpoel – The Human Figure
    Anson K. Cross – Light and Shade in Charcoal, Pencil and Brush Drawing

  8. A few books that have helped me in the past have been:
    Drawing Essentials- Deborah Rockman

    All of Andrew Loomis’ publishings (they are open sourced and free to download on the internet according to his will)

    Alla Prima- Richard Schmid (although its technically a painting book i learned much from it that translates to drawing)

  9. Last but not least. Drawing from within: unleashing your creative potential. By Nick Meglin. I highly recommend this book for all artists. It talks about overcoming mental blocks and lack of confidence in your drawings. Simply by just having fun and drawing for yourself..not others…along with the motivation are drawing exercises at the end of each chapter. But this book is a great buy.

  10. When I was a complete art noob, “Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain” by Betty Edwards helped me immensely. And I havn’t even taken the time to finish it yet.

  11. How to Draw Manga-Sketching Manga Style by Takehiko Matsumoto

    I began drawing in middle school, focused mostly on anime, and this was one of my first books. While I have moved on from the style myself, this book is full of examples and is very easy to understand, especially for young and beginner artists (that want to draw people). This book helped me develop my skills in order to move on to realism, while at the same time teaching me to simplify so I didn’t get too caught up in the details while trying to make quick sketches :)

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