Recommended Reading

Here’s a list for further reading and study for each Level.

In other words, look for the books under the level you’re at. Try not to skip ahead and buy books from higher levels.

I mean, you can do whatever you want, I’m just saying, you might get frustrated reading higher level books.

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Level 0


Drawing With Children: A Creative Method for Adult Beginners, Too By Mona Brookes
If you need another good book for starting to draw, this is a great book.  It’s the only other book that I’ve ever seen that is written for complete beginners similar to mine.

There’s a lot of great information in it and it compliments my book very well.

I wrote a full review of this book. CLICK  HERE if you want to read it.

 


Zentangle Basics, Expanded Workbook Edition: A Creative Art Form Where All You Need is Paper, Pencil & Pen By Suzanne McNeill CZT

If you want to continue to practice the exercises from Lesson 2, but take it up to eleven, this is the book for you.  These books really let you go wild with pattern drawing, to the point where you can be drawing beautiful work that may rival any illuminated manuscript.

It’s a fun and addicting hobby to get into, and best of all, it’s pretty easy.  This book and many or their type, give you step-by-step instructions on how to draw amazing types of pattern designs.

I write much more about these books in the DRAW CHI section of this site. CLICK HERE to read more.

 


Drawing Shape by Shape: Create Cartoon Characters with Circles, Squares & Triangles By Chris Hart

Once you finish my book, where should you go if you still want to continue practicing your flat cartoon shapes?  This book is the answer.

I didn’t even know this book existed until I was walking around in my local arts and crafts store. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw it. It’s perfect.

This book gives you easy formulas to follow so you can make fun cartoon characters.  This should help you build confidence as you practice your cartooning.

 


Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain: The Definitive, 4th Edition By Betty Edwards

This one is a classic.  The brain science if off but I think you’ll get the gist of what is being said.

The book is also for beginners. However the goal is to learn to draw what you observe, not necessarily draw from your imagination.

This is a good thing. You’ll eventually want to get your observational drawing skills up if you want to become better at drawing from your imagination.

 


The Creative License: Giving Yourself Permission to Be the Artist You Truly Are By Danny Gregory

If you’re looking for a bit of inspiration and really want to get pumped up to draw, I highly recommend this book.

After reading it, it made me want to draw in my sketchbook all day long.  This book makes a great case for sketching and doodling anything anywhere.

You’ll never leave home without your sketchbook once you read it.  It’s  a great read if you want to get reminded what’s so darn fun about drawing.


Drawing Is Magic: Discovering Yourself in a Sketchbook By John Hendrix

Similar to the book right above, this book is all about carrying a sketchbook around and just having fun.

This one, actually has special pages with suggested sketch “assignments.”

If you’re ever stuck for something to draw, you can’t go wrong with this one.

 

Level 1


Creating Characters with Personality: For Film, TV, Animation, Video Games, and Graphic Novels By Tom Bancroft

This is a great book for designing characters.  It assumes you know how to draw somewhat and takes you through the basics of drawing cartoons like a pro.

This is by far one of the best “How to draw cartoon” books out there.  Tom Bancroft was a Disney Feature animator. He knows what he’s talking about.

It also helps that he’s got guest artists putting in their two cents in between chapters.  I can’t recommend the book highly enough.


Character Mentor: Learn by Example to Use Expressions, Poses, and Staging to Bring Your Characters to Life By Tom Bancroft

This is the next step book on cartoon character creation by Tom Bancroft. This is NOT a “How to draw cartoons” book. It’s something more.

Just like the first book, he has celebrity artists give their two cents. However, what sets this book apart, is all the advice on acting, subtext, drama, clothes, expression, twinning…etc.  High level professional stuff that you usually only get when working in an animation studio.

This is a MUST for any artists, even if you’re not planning to draw cartoons.

 


Cartoon Animation by Preston Blair

This is a great book on cartooning.  Preston Blair was a Disney, Warner Brother and MGM animator who worked on thing like Bugs Bunny shorts. But most notably Tex Avery Droopy cartoons, with the sultry Red Riding Hood girl (in fact, he designed her and animated her).

His cartoon style is absolutely classic.  You also learn some animation fundamentals that come in really handy, even if you don’t want to become an animator.

Understanding squash and stretch and other animation techniques helps out with cartooning quite a bit.

His examples of cartoon archetypes are fantastic as well.  Great book.

 


Drawn to Life: 20 Golden Years of Disney Master Classes Volume 1: Volume 1: The Walt Stanchfield Lectures

It’s unbelievable that this book exists.

For years animators have been secretly passing along photocopies of photocopies of notes from Walt Stanchfield lectures.  You really couldn’t be in the industry without them.

They’re a gold mine of the most amazing drawing advice you can ever want. And now they’re published in a few volumes.  I’ve only included the first one here on the list but you can buy them all and they’d be worth it.

You gotta have this one.

 


Cartooning the Head and Figure By Jack Hamm

This book has a special place in my heart.  My parents gave me a copy when I was in Junior High and it was open most of the time when I was drawing cartoons.

It gave me so many ideas and approaches for drawing cartoons of all sorts as well as helped me experiment with ink tools.

The list of noses, eyes, ears, mouths, hair, beard, and head shapes alone make this book worth buying.  It’s a very different book from the ones above.

This one has more older styles of cartoons, with a focus on illustration.  Great stuff.

This is the book I let my daughter look through when she draws cartoons (along with mine, of course).

 

You Can Draw in 30 Days: The Fun, Easy Way to Learn to Draw in One Month or Less by Mark Kistler

If you need more practice with your forms, “Commander” Mark Kistler’s book is the way to go.

I call him “Commander” because he used to have a TV show on PBS called Imagination Station and I learned a ton about drawing 3D forms from this guy.

He made drawing solid easy.

I wouldn’t get this to learn to draw realistic people, but the basics forms he teaches are top notch.

 



Perspective! for Comic Book Artists: How to Achieve a Professional Look in your Artwork By David Chelsea

Everything you even wanted to know about perspective, written in an information comic style.

Yes, this is a comic book about perspective.

I can’t recommend this enough. It explains everything about perspective that I think is necessary to know. Including the “hanging characters on the Horizon Line,” rule that I think is so important.

This is one of the few books on perspective that bothers to bring the subject up. Not once, but twice.

This it the perspective book I wish I’d had when I first started out.  It would have saved me so much pain.

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