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Top 6 Beginner's Drawing Instruction Books

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A good drawing instruction book can be a wonderful resource for the beginner. Many authors have years of teaching and art-making experience that you can benefit from. Different styles will suit different people - consider whether you are an active learner who likes to experiment and pick out the good bits, or whether you prefer a steady, step-by-step program that will guide you all the way.

1. Drawing for the Absolute and Utter Beginner

Claire Watson Garcia's book begins at the very beginning, and progresses slowly with many useful exercises. Beginners will find their confidence boosted as their results look like the examples from other students. It sticks with fairly basic materials and doesn't go off into fancy stuff or too much philosophy, with the exception of some quotes and thoughts about art-making here and there. Well worth the purchase price.

2. The Natural Way to Draw : A Working Plan for Art Study

Kimon Nicolaides, Mariner Books (February 1990) This book is regarded by many as one of the best drawing books ever written. It is designed as a long course of study which requires constant practice. It is not suitable for those who want 'instant results'. If you are serious about learning to draw, whether a beginner or more experienced, this book may be for you.
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3. The New Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain

Betty Edward's classic drawing book has recently been updated and re-printed. There is no doubt that there is a lot of quality information in this book, though you will either love it or hate it. Edwards spends a lot of time discussing the mental processes of drawing, emphasising the difference between seeing and knowing. The illustrations are excellent, but this book will suit a keen reader best. I recommend you get hold of a copy and decide for yourself.
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4. Traveling With Your Sketchbook

Joyce Ryan's book on pen-and-ink sketching wouldn't be my first choice for a beginner, except for the great enthusiasm my students have for the book. Ryan's technique does not look slick and professional, with occasionally awkward figures and perspective, and an abbreviated 'brillo pad' handling of vegetation - but my students love her! With clear and helpful suggestions on composition and technique, plenty of exercises and examples. Take a look for yourself - it may be just what you need.
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5. A Foundation Course in Drawing

University lecturers Peter Stanyer and Terry Rosenberg authored this book for Watson-Guptill, which has an academic feel and is an ideal text for art students. The book has a great many interesting projects, with a contemporary edge best suited to those who wants to explore drawing.I'd highly recommend this as useful sourcebook for teachers and those with a little experience, but raw beginners would be better off with a different book.
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6. Learn to Draw and Paint

By Curtis Tappenden, published by Watson-Guptill. This useful book has loads of color illustrations by various artists, with plenty of great ideas and useful tips. However techniques are ofen only lightly skimmed over, so while it is useful for more advanced amateurs seeking ideas, or as a teacher's resource, beginners will need a book that covers the individual mediums in more depth.
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