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Drawing Book: Drawing from Line to Life

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Drawing from Line to Life

Drawing from Line to Life

Mike Sibley

The Bottom Line

I recommend Mike Sibley's book 'Drawing from Line to Life' without reservation. If you are interested in realist drawing and serious about learning, this book has a wealth of information that you just won't find anywhere else. Beginners might need something a little lighter to complement it, such as 'Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain' - but that is about seeing. This book shows you how to make the marks on paper.


  • Most comprehensive coverage of realist drawing techniques I've ever seen
  • Clear and informative illustrations
  • Practical, step-by-step demonstrations
  • A readable, enjoyable style


  • May be a little daunting to beginners
  • Focuses on surface rather than form, but a million other texts cover structure


  • Covers the pencils, tools and paper Mike Sibley uses himself - follow his advice with confidence.
  • Explores the essentials of creating line and tone, shading and using different pencil grades.
  • Explains erasing techniques - as a tool, not just for correcting mistakes.
  • Demonstrates blending, and importantly, when NOT to blend.
  • Includes an excellent chapter on using indented line - you'll wonder why you haven't used it before.
  • Explains negative drawing - an approach to handling areas of light and dark.
  • Explains how perspective works and is applied in drawing. Beginners might need some basics first.
  • Demonstrates drawing ellipses and curves, from simple shapes to complex objects such as boats.
  • Explains how reflections happen and how they look on different surfaces, such as gass and water
  • Shows how to draw textures from rust and paint to timber and fabrics, to fur and animal noses.

Guide Review - Drawing Book: Drawing from Line to Life

'Drawing from Line to Life' is both comprehensive and thorough in its coverage of realist drawing techniques. As well as detailed technical instruction, you'll find demonstrations of working from photographs and planning drawings, information on presenting the final artwork and professionalism. You'll pick up useful ideas such as how to draw with a white background, without resorting to the dreaded 'halo effect'. Useful tips and quotes on art and drawing add a lighter note, and then of course, there's Mike Sibley's superb drawings, which speak for themselves. The printing is of the highest standard, with individual techniques clearly illustrated, while several demonstrations allow the reader to follow projects from start to finish.

I find Mike Sibley's style very readable. In the step-by-step demonstrations, such as the portrait drawing of Charlotte, he talks the reader through each step, discussing problems and decisions that are made along the way. It is a wonderful insight into the working artist's mind, and gives the reader a kind of 'model' to follow when setting out on your own major piece.

'Drawing from Line to Life' had a fairly small initial print run so you might want to get your orders in pretty soon, especially if you're thinking about next Christmas and need to order from overseas. You can also still request a signed copy, which adds a lovely personal touch.

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