Drawing books can be a great resource for anyone who is interested in drawing and looking to improve their skills. That applies to artists and aspiring artists of all skill levels.
How much books can help you improve your drawing depends on a few things, which in my opinion are:
- Whether you like books and are comfortable learning from a book, and
- the type of drawing book you use.
Do You Like Learning From A Book?
The best way you learn a new skill or improve it might differ from someone else, and it might also differ depending on the skill you are trying to learn.
Unfortunately, you might not always know how you best learn a specific skill. But what I do think you know is whether you like learning from a book (or at least not hate it).
Maybe you have positive past experiences with learning from books or maybe the opposite.
The format of the book, i.e. number of pages with words and images or illustrations will likely affect your experience. In this regard, a drawing book with its many images is obviously more visual compared to “ordinary books” that are full of words, but I do think they are similar when it comes to the learning experience. That is you learn by looking and understanding the contents in the book and then you implement it.
Even if you did know how you best learn a skill, e.g. learning from studying/working together with others in a group, you might not have access to that.
This is one of the big advantages of learning from a book. They are relatively cheap and fairly easy to find, and you can pick them up any time of the day.
Different Types of Drawing Books
Drawing books come in various types and with different purposes.
Some books serve mostly as great reference material or for inspiration, while others focus more on helping you to put a structure around practicing specific things like perspective, proportion, anatomy, composition, etc. Some books will help you understand the fundamentals of drawing and others are for people who already have the basic skills.
As you might be able to tell, you need to figure out what you want to learn and then pick the right book.
I think the books that will help you put a structure or format on how you practice drawing is the best option.
Step-by-step Drawing books.
Some drawing books will break down complicated drawings into a simple step-by-step process. A common topic in these books is how to draw animals.
It can be a lot of fun and feel very satisfying to make a decent drawing following these step-by-step instructions. The problem is that even though the end result might be good, you learned very little (or nothing) about drawing. All you did was following a step-by-step process.
Think about it like this. Let’s say you want to be a chef and understand why certain food ingredients are treated and cooked differently, and how different tastes match or complement each other. You are not gonna learn that from following a simple recipe.
Online Courses And Videos
Just like drawing books, online courses and videos can be great resources.
A book does have the advantage of being a physical thing that you can hold in your hands. Also, the printed pages in the book might make the illustrations stand out more clearly.
With that being said, you can find online videos and courses on almost anything drawing-related. Many of which can be purchased for a very modest price and some are even for free.
If you are looking for a course, I would suggest you go check out Udemy.com.
How To Improve Your Drawing?
Drawing books and online courses on drawing can be very interesting and help you improve your drawing skills. Just don’t get the wrong idea that you are improving because you read a book or completed a course.
Books and courses are not a substitute for doing what actually makes you better at drawing, which is doing the actual drawing…
Don’t underestimate the significant amount of hours that goes into just learning the basics of drawing. This is not unlike learning any new skill by the way.
You have will have to practice drawing for many hours, before you can draw something that looks decent, and the more time you are spending on looking or reading a book, the less time you are spending on drawing.
Which Books To Choose?
As I emphasized just above, improving your drawing skills take a long time. You have to put in the work and it is probably not going to feel “easy” most of the time. But it will probably be fun 🙂
If you see a book marketed as teaching you how to draw following quick and easy tips or a step-by-step formula, It is probably best to avoid it in most cases.
The drawing books that help you put a structure around how to practice and what to practice is where you get the most value in my opinion.
Drawing consistently and purposefully is what will make you a good artist. There is no easy way.