So last week I wrote about irrational confidence and how it helps artistsand you all seemed to enjoy it. One of the things that really stood out to me was how many of you went out and bought "Force: Dynamic Life Drawing for Animators" by Mike Mattesi.
As a person that spends a lot of time trying to get better at drawing, I have read a billion and a half art instruction books. Not all of them are good, and some of them I feel even steer you in the wrong direction. So I'd like to try and distill the information that I've accumulated over the years for you here—which books actually worked for me. I'll provide links as well. What a swell guy, huh?
**EDIT: THIS IS COPIED FROM MY TUMBLR BLOG SO THE LINKS DON'T WORK. TO USE THE LINKS, GO HERE: ryanstegman.tumblr.com/post/62…
1) I'll start with the best figure drawing book, bar none: "FIGURE DRAWING FOR ALL IT'S WORTH" by Andrew Loomis
This book teaches you how to draw figures with fluidity. It starts out with information on how to "construct" your figure. It gets into anatomy later. It covers it all. Must have.
2) "VILPPU DRAWING MANUAL" by Glenn Vilppu
This book is another must-have. Mr. Vilppu has spent decades teaching animators how to draw with fluidity, and he has tons of neat little explanations for how he thinks about the figure that really help.
While you're at vilppustudo.com, check out his DVDs too. The manual is great, but the DVDs actually show you how to apply the lessons. I really recommend the Drawing Manual Lecture DVDs.
He has a ton of DVDs on anatomy, but I prefer the more abstract ones mentioned in the previous paragraph. I made the mistake of watching his anatomy DVDs before watching the Drawing Manual Lecture DVDs, and that's like trying to do calculus when all you know is simple addition/subtraction.
3) "PERSPECTIVE FOR COMIC BOOK ARTISTS" by David Chelsea
This is a one-stop shop for learning and understanding perspective. This is a comic book that teaches you perspective. I spent about 2 weeks really practicing the ideas that he puts forth in this book and I feel I haven't really ever had to look back. He makes it uncomplicated, where a lot of books on perspective bludgeon you with so much info that you can barely breathe.
4)"DRAWING THE HEAD AND HANDS" by Andrew Loomis
Andrew Loomis aka the G.O.A.T. teaches you how to draw the head and hands. If you don't want this then I don't know what to tell you.
5) "FRAMED INK: DRAWING AND COMPOSITION FOR STORYTELLERS" by Marcos Mateu-Mestre
A great book on, well, drawing and composition. Plus, the author has an uncanny ability to spot black and he has some interesting explanations for the choices he makes. Very, very worthwhile.
6) "CARTOON ANIMATION" by Preston Blair
I had this book as a kid and it really drove home the points of line-of-action and construction to me at a very early age. I actually didn't remember this book until about a year ago when I saw some of it online and realized how much of it I had absorbed and how much it stuck with me. Great, great stuff.
7) "THE ILLUSION OF LIFE" by Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston
A lot of this book teaches about the history of Disney animation which is interesting enough in its own right, but it also teaches you the principles of animation which can be used in any type of drawing. And it has all kinds of great examples…Just get this book. It's beautiful. Even non-artists should own it.
8) "FORCE: DYNAMIC LIFE DRAWING FOR ANIMATORS" by Mike Mattesi
I already mentioned this last week, obviously. But you guys need to read this. Want to really convey motion and energy and weight in your drawings? Want to make your art BREATHE? Then read this.
9) "FAMOUS ARTISTS COURSE" by various artists, including Norman freaking Rockwell and many other greats
This one I've provided the best link I could find. It's hard to find this thing in print. I found it as PDFs online by scouring. I'd recommend you do the same because I think it's out of print. The lessons in it are invaluable. The chapters on figure construction and composition especially. Good luck finding it!
10) "BRIDGMAN'S COMPLETE GUIDE TO DRAWING FROM LIFE" by George Bridgman
A great book on figure drawing with simple concepts as well as complex concepts. I mention this one cautiously…I feel that I jumped into it too early and didn't get it. It's only upon re-visiting that I feel that I "get" it. So maybe read the other books mentioned before jumping head-first into this one.
11) "UNDERSTANDING COMICS" by Scott McCloud
An awesome study of how comics work and what the visuals mean. It helps you to think about comics in a new way, a more academic way. You begin to understand that there is much more going on than what you see on the surface. It should help you to become a better storyteller.
12) "COMICS AND SEQUENTIAL ART" by Will Eisner
You don't want to be taught how to tell a story by one of the greatest visual storytellers of all-time do you? I mean, who would want that? But in the off-chance that you DO want that, get this book.
Alright folks, sorry about your wallets! Good luck!