“Can you draw me?”
No doubt you’ve been asked this question by someone who’s just learned you’re an artist. It’s a common question, but one that probably inspires quite a bit of anxiety!
Despite being surrounded by human beings our entire lives, the human form is an elusive and extremely difficult beast to capture with pencil and paper alone. But if you’re determined to do so, here are five books to help you!
5. The Anatomy of Style: Figure Drawing Techniques by Patrick J. Jones
If you’re a fan of Sci Fi and Fantasy novels, chances are good that you’ve seen Patrick J. Jones’s artwork on the covers of some of your favorites.
Although The Anatomy of Style is geared towards more advanced artists, there’s plenty of invaluable insight and helpful tips to be found within its pages… perfect for any beginner who’s on a mission to refine their work.
Not to mention it’s a gorgeously illustrated guide from a master of the craft, providing a fascinating behind-the-scenes look into his creative process you won’t find anywhere else.
4. Figure Drawing: Design and Invention by Michael Hampton
It’s essential to learn how and why the human body looks and moves as it does if you want to convey it realistically. Enter Michael Hampton, whose Figure Drawing book simply deconstructs the elaborate framework of the human body.
It’s a massive book (my copy clocks in at 235 pages!), but every page is designed to teach you as much as possible about the subtle nuances of the human form.
3. Drawing the Head and Figure by Jack Hamm
An older book, Jack Hamm’s guide is still excellent for providing an array of applicable tips guaranteed to hone your skills. With pages chockful of examples, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to put his advice into practice.
This book also includes detailed illustrations and explanations of skeletal structure. Perfect for any artist seeking to improve their understanding of the basics of the human form.
2. Figure Drawing for All It’s Worth by Andrew Loomis
When it comes to learning how to draw human anatomy, this book is the gold standard for artists. Although the illustrated models’ hairstyles may be visibly outdated (it’s like an episode of I Love Lucy in here!), everything Loomis teaches within these pages still holds true.
Filled to the brim with fantastic examples, this book goes beyond simply breaking down the basic components of drawing a person. It also describes in detail how to draw convincing movements, so your illustrated figures will appear to take on a life of their own… as if they were ready to leap off the page as soon as you put your pencil down!
1. Figure It Out! Human Proportions by Christopher Hart
Compared to our previous recommendations, the artistic style in this book is greatly simplified. But if you’re less concerned about drawing realistically, then this is a great book for learning easy ways to apply consistency and accuracy to any cartoonish or manga-type character.
It’s also a helpful book to use as a supplement to the other recommendations, in case you find their detailed lessons to be a tad overwhelming. Figure It Out! will teach you several basic fundamentals for rendering the human figure that you can apply to any art style you desire.