Art Instruction Books

I have learned so much from reading art instruction books that I wanted to share my favorites with you! Some are geared more for adults, some for kids. There's always more to learn, so this page will continue to be updated!


No Experience Required! - Sketching and Drawing (No Experience Required (Course Technology))

The cover of this book by Larry Blovits states “NO EXPERIENCE REQUIRED!”, and I have to agree. The instructions are clear and easy to understand, and the book contains explanations of all supplies needed for each type of media discussed (pencil, charcoal, conte crayon, and pastel). The book also contains a number of “Skill-Building Exercises”, short lessons you can sit down and follow step by step. A parent could even guide a child through these exercises, a fun activity to do together.

Lifelike Drawing with Lee Hammond

Lee Hammond has written a number of art instruction books. In this one, she covers a number of different subjects including objects, pets, and people, making this book a great reference for any art library. She discusses how to use a grid when drawing as well as paper selection and shading techniques, taking the reader step by step through the demonstrations. Anyone interested in realistic drawing should check this book out!

Drawing Realistic Pets from Photographs

Another Lee Hammond book that I've really enjoyed using. Hammond's drawings provide a great starting point for anyone learning how to create a more life-like image of an animal.

Secrets to Drawing Realistic Faces

This is a great resource for anyone interested in drawing realistic people in pencil. In this book, author Carrie Stuart Parks goes into such detail explaining the differnt "tools" artists use to perfect their portraits, you'll be able to use those tools as well.

Drawing Realistic Textures in Pencil

Wow! That is one of the best words to describe the pencil drawings of J.D. Hillberry. I found his website a couple of years ago and have enjoyed his work ever since. While he offers workshops on his techniques, they're all too far away for me to attend, so I was so excited when I found his book. In it he shares so many tips on how he creates his drawings using both graphite and charcoal. A must-read for any pencil artist!


Art for Kids: Cartooning: The Only Cartooning Book You'll Ever Need to Be the Artist You've Always Wanted to Be

This wonderful book by Art Roche takes the reader step by step in creating original cartoon characters – an clear and easy method to follow for both children and adults. A great activity to try together!


Painting Animals That Touch the Heart

This art instruction book by Lesley Harrison is one of my favorites! It's full of pastel paintings of animals, and they are beautiful! Some of them are so realistic it’s hard to believe they arn't photographs. She uses soft pastels, hard pastels, pastel pencils, and velour paper. After looking through the book, I’m ready to purchase some more supplies and follow her tips – this book is highly recommended!

Photo Reference

Artist's Photo Reference: Landscapes

North Light Books has put together a number of these photo reference books, and this is one of my favorites. Topics in this book include skies, water, trees, flowers, mountains, rocks, deserts, and the seasons. You can use the photos as they are or combine them to compose your own original work. I used two of the photos, one of a waterfall and one of fall trees, to create a completely new picture. All in all, it's a great resource for any artist!


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