Collection of Books and Guides about Drawing and Painting

There are a few newcomers on the forum already who are not only new to Krita but to (digital) drawing and painting in general. For me it is a lot of fun looking at their works and telling them about one trick or the other or giving them advice, helping them improve or get over something that I’ve struggled with myself when I was a beginner.

Since this site is meant to be about improving ourself as artists I wondered if we should have a kind of wiki page or something where we put links to books, tutorials, guides etc. recommended by the Krita community grouped by Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced. That we collect in this thread maybe?

We even have a decent amount of professionals here, and I’m sure they know some really good resources. And this topic was totally not opened because I’m looking for stuff that helps me improve myself :wink:.

Books I can recommend:

  • How to Draw: Drawing and Sketching Objects and Environments, by Scott Robertson
  • How to Render, also by Scott Robertson
  • Force: Animal Drawing: Animal locomotion and design concepts for animators, by Mike Mattesi

All three are definitely intermediate or even advanced material, I’d say.

There is an entire series about Force, I only have the animal drawing book (what a surprise, I know) but I heard that it’s actually the weakest of the series.


A few of my favorites… These are mostly traditional art books, but almost everything related to art fundamentals can be applied to any medium, digital or traditional.

  • James Gurney - Color and Light: A Guide for the Realist Painter
  • James Gurney - Imaginative Realism: How to Paint What Doesn’t Exist
  • Andrew Loomis - (anything by him, but especially Drawing the Head and Hands and Figure Drawing for All It’s Worth)
  • Steve Huston - Figure Drawing for Artists: Making Every Mark Count
  • Richard Schmid - Alla Prima II
  • Uldis Zarins & Sandis Kondrats - Anatomy for Sculptors: Understanding the Human Figure
  • Nathan Fowkes - How to Paint Landscapes Quickly and Beautifully in Watercolor and Gouache
  • Peter Han - Dynamic Bible

Oh, I heard a lot of good things about James Gurney’s books. Didn’t read them myself though. Totaly going to put them on my personal todo list now. I don’t know most of the others but most of it sounds like it’s for intermediate or advanced artists, right? Although figure drawing is something beginners should totally look into.

Hm… I have two of them. The one about doing paintings from imagination and the one about colour. The main impression I got from them was that here’s a very capable, experienced, talented person who after so many years of practice still is afraid to trust himself.

He trusts his skills enough to let these books get published though x3. I don’t even trust my skills enough to publish most of my stuff online. But it’s interesting, anything specific that gave you that impression? Are the books still good?

The books are excellent, and very informative. The reason for my impression is that he puts so much stress on preparation, preliminnary creating things like clay scale models, pre-mixing all colors. This might, of course, be a reaction against the other side of the problem, something we see a lot with people asking for help with Krita, that is, not preparing your work at all.

But to me, it felt like insecurity.

That is a unique take on this book. It might be also that some artists get very personal and over engineer the process :slight_smile:

@boud, @raghukamath, and @Takiro, it definitely isn’t insecurity! The work process described in Imaginative Realism is very traditional — it’s very similar to how great realist masters of the past worked and they definitely were not insecure. The preparatory work is very important. Even modern upper echelon fine art painters, like Casey Baugh for example, make quite a few preliminary works before committing to a final piece, and he is one of the “bravest” traditional painters I’ve seen. First he makes a charcoal piece, then he makes 2 or 3 smaller oil studies of the same scene, and THEN he paints the final artwork. By that time he has practiced all the elements and the final work is a masterpiece.

The problem I see with many of today’s artists compared to old masters is lack of patience, and being satisfied with instant results.

@Takiro, yes, the books I listed are mostly intermediate to advanced level, but do explore Andrew Loomis’ books a least. Fun With a Pencil is a beginner level book.

(Casey Baugh painting the final version of the artwork)

@adhimoksha I definitely don’t mean to demean the effort of these artists. It might be their way of working. If you follow Gurney on youtube you can see he makes on the spot plein air paintings too.

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There are digital artists who work similar to this. For example they create 3d models in blender first, explore different compositions and poses and then use the 3d scenes as references for their digital paintings.

I’m one of the lazy artists and only do a few sketches before diving into it.

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Well, I have a manga style, mainly because of a really good book on how to draw in the manga/anime style: Manga for the Beginner by Christopher Hart. It has loads of tips on how to draw eyes, face, body, even some stuff about perspective (which I’ll admit I skimmed over).