best Drawing Books
The Best Drawing Books
There are a lot of art books on the market and as you know, not all of them are good. All of the books listed here are ones I have in my art library and have used for my own personal growth as an artist as well as for instruction with students. I consider them all must-haves for those interested in learning or improving their skills. I will be continually adding to this list so come back often to see what’s knew. When you click on a book or title, you will taken directly to Amazon to learn more about it. Be sure to see my list of Best Drawing Supplies too.

New Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain Workbook: Guided Practice in the Five Basic Skills of Drawing
by Betty Edwards

Millions of people have learned to draw using the methods of Dr. Betty Edwards. Now, in an essential companion to her bestselling classic, Edwards offers readers the key to mastering this art form: guided practice in their newfound creative abilities.

Can anyone learn to draw?

Unequivocally, I give a resounding yes!

You have undoubtedly heard this before: “I can’t even draw a stick figure”; “I would love to be able to draw but I don’t have the talent” or “my daughter is talented in art; I guess she gets it from her grandmother”.

Most people believe all students can learn to read, write and do arithmetic. We would never consider that a person has to have inherited the ability to learn these skills, but for some reason we maintain that belief when it comes to art.

Our society has erroneously held the notion that a person needs to be “born” talented in order to be able to draw. In fact, it is unfortunate that most art teachers in our public schools don’t know how to teach students how to draw. I know many teachers who fall into the “I only have a few students who are talented” mode as an explanation for why only a few are successful.

So, anyone with a desire, can learn to draw, and draw well.

So, what is drawing anyway?

Drawing is the ability to see shape and relationships between shapes. That’s it.
And the skill to do that comes from something you already have-the right side of your brain.
The right side of the brain is spatial, imaginary, holistic, and intuitive. It has no concept of words, letters, speech, numbers or time.
Our society and our educational system have always promoted the left side of the brain: linear, sequential, logical, verbal, reality-based.

That is interesting, but how do you learn to draw with your brain?

Betty Edwards was a genius when she figured out how people draw. In her books she presents exercises that cause a shift from the left side of the brain to using the right side of the brain. That is one reason why it is important not to skip around in her book, but to do everything in order.
Blind Contour drawing, seeing negative shape, upside down drawing-all of these exercises cause the left side of the brain to “shut off”.

I am always surprised at how few people interested in learning to draw or improving their skills, know about the Dr. Betty Edward’s books. These books are essential to learning to draw and should be in every artist’s library.

I have used the information in these books for years to teach thousands of students to draw accurately. I am a firm believer that anyone can learn to draw, and to draw well.

My advice for any novice is to purchase the workbook and the book. Read the book in order; don’t skip around. Do all of the exercises and do them in sequence.

Set up a schedule and work at least three times a week for an hour. You will be amazed at your progress, I promise.

I have also integrated the Mona Brookes books into my instruction. I first practiced on my niece when she was about six and I was amazed at what she could do in the first exercise. The principles are the same as presented by Betty Edwards but geared more to a younger audience.

The New Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain

A revised and expanded edition of the classic drawing-instruction book that has sold more than 2,500,000 copies.

Betty Edwards who has proved all people can draw well just as they can read well, has decoded the secrets of the creative process to help you tap your full creative potential and apply that power to everyday problems.

Drawing on the Artist Within
by Betty Edwards

Keys to Drawing
by Bert Dodson

This book is a classic and a good companion to the Betty Edward's books. Greatinformation on sighting techniques.

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Hillberry, an artist and teacher, offers splendid demonstrations on creating the look of metal, wood, hair, and even cracked glass. To his credit, Hillberry admits one needs to have already grasped shape, proportion, and perspective before approaching this level of realism. Highly recommended for collections that need more than the basics.

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