A short list of the books in my library I use for art, writing and illustration.

For some reason, Amazon links don't show well on the Bookmark cards, and so I used other sites. Yet all of these books can be purchased on Amazon or local bookstores shared.

As of writing this, I’m taking a break from the digital space by taking a 40-Day Social Media fast. While I’m on the internet for specific reasons only now, I’ve decided to step away from YouTube to read more of my books.

The truth is, the internet is information overloaded. It’s overkill. That’s why I don’t believe we can ever replace physical books with E-books or the internet. 

I'm going to share the books I use for sketching, studying, and painting. This is my collection and is not a comprehensive list of the best sources out there. If you want to avoid trying to find what sources are best, this list can help you.


Draw Real People

Draw Real People! by Lee Hammond: 9780891346579 | PenguinRandomHouse.com: Books
Having trouble drawing a nose that looks like a nose? In this step-by-step guide, Lee Hammond will teach you how to draw realistic-looking portraits of your favorite people—more easily than you ever…

The Draw Real People! Book by Lee Hammond shows you step-by-step how to do portrait drawings. It is easy to delve into and a good starting point for foundational drawing. 

I enjoy it because it is an easy way to start learning how to draw in realism, even if you don't intend to be a realism artist. It shows examples of transformation work that I love to see because it shows amazing growth. She has other books in her series, but for me, this is the most helpful one and the one I reference the most.

Fashion Sketchbook

Fashion Sketchbook
Learn how to draw fashion images that communicate design ideas and details. With more than 3,000 color illustrations and updated instructions, the book shows yo…

Given to me by my mom years ago, I currently have the Second Edition, but there is now a 8th edition available. Created by Bina Abling, this book shows how to draw the fashion figure and the details of clothing. 

You don’t need to be into fashion to get the most out of this book. We all need clothes to wear, so rendering believable clothing is a must. Something I struggled with was folds and wrinkles in clothing. This book tackles those issues and then some.

Anatomy Lessons From The Great Masters

Anatomy Lessons From the Great Masters
This classic book, whose foremost author was one of the…

This details in great length how to capture the human body. This includes major muscles, skeleton, and other parts of anatomy. The examples are from masters such as Michelangelo, Jacopo Pontormo, and many others.

I wouldn't start with this book if you're a beginner. But if you are more intermediate or advanced, this is definitely a great book to work from.

Painting and Mixed Media

Everyday Watercolor

Everyday Watercolor by Jenna Rainey: 9780399579721 | PenguinRandomHouse.com: Books
A contemporary paint-every-day watercolor guide that explores foundational strokes and patterns and then builds new skills upon the foundations over the course of 30 days to create finished pieces.…

I love Everyday Watercolor! It breaks down watercolor painting in a 30-day process. By the end of the month, you have a piece of artwork. It has a beautiful collection of simple and refreshing paintings to experiment with. I find myself not only doing what's in the book but testing the steps out in my own personal work.

Get Started with Gouache

Get Started with Gouache — Emma Block Illustration
<p>Emma Block is a freelance illustrator living in London.</p>

Another great painting guide, though I haven't finished this one completely.  It breaks down the materials and techniques to use to paint in this opaque, watercolor medium. It also shares color theory and how to mix your paints, etc.

Drawing Lab

Drawing Lab For Mixed-Media Artists - 52 Creative Exercises To Make Drawing Fun
DetailsInnovative projects and techniques designed to help adult students discover a more spontaneous, playful approach to drawing. Offers a year’s worth of assignments, projects, ideas and techniques that will introduce more creativity and nonsense into both art and life. Drawing Lab For Mixed-Media Artists shows readers a fun way to learn and gain expertise in drawing through experimentation and play. There is no right or wrong result, yet, the reader gains new skills and confidence, allowing them to take their work to a new level. Paperback by Carla Sonheim. Measures 8-1/2 x 8-1/2″. 144 pages.

Don’t know what medium you like? This is the book for you. From scribble drawings and clay creations to game and machine drawings. It's a fun and interesting book for indecisive creators like me. You can also use it to take a break and have fun experimenting.

Storytelling and Lettering

Scott McLeod’s Comic Series

Understanding Comics: the Invisible Art by Scott McCloud
Praised throughout the cartoon industry by such luminaries as Art Spiegelman, Matt Groening, and Will Eisner, Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics is a seminal examination of comics art: its rich history, surprising technical components, and major cultural significance. Explore the secret world between the panels, thro
Making Comics: Storytelling Secrets of Comics, Manga and Graphic Novel
“Magnificent! The best how-to manual ever published.” — Kevin Kelly, Cool ToolsThe renowned author of Understanding Comics offers brilliant instruction on how to actually create this widely beloved art form.Scott McCloud tore down the wall between high and low culture in 1993 with Understanding Comics, a massive comic

I own two of the three of Scott McLeod's comics series, and I have found immense value in both. The Understanding Comics book explains the history and meaning behind comics. The Making Comics book teaches the elements of each part of comics and how to make one. This is a versatile way of storytelling, and the way he breaks down each step and its importance is special. It's a comic in itself.

Creative Lettering And Beyond

Creative Lettering and Beyond
Creative Lettering and Beyond guides artists and lettering enthusiasts in the art of hand lettering and typography through engaging, easy-to-follow step-by-step projects, prompts, and exercises.

This is a calligraphy book, but it does touch on some other lettering styles. I love it because I've always enjoyed calligraphy and the beauty of it. I find it helpful if you ever intend to do anything like greeting cards or mass-market products.


Designing Fonts: An Introduction to Professional Type Design /anglais - CAMPE CHRIS/RAUSCH U: 9780500241554 - AbeBooks
Designing Fonts: An Introduction to Professional Type Design /anglais by CAMPE CHRIS/RAUSCH U - ISBN 10: 0500241554 - ISBN 13: 9780500241554 - THAMES HUDSON - 2020 - Hardcover

This is a book that I decided to get because I want to strengthen my graphic design skills. More timely, I’m making my own font for my upcoming stories. I would rather not use premade fonts for stories that I've worked so hard on from scratch. It is very detailed and gives you step-by-step instructions on what font making is. It also shows the types of fonts that you can do and how to code them.

Other Lists

This is my incomplete list of books I own and use for reference. What if you need more specific lists to browse through? Here are a handful of lists I've found that I want to add to my shelves:

You may notice some overlap in these lists. That means you should consider getting that book. Many endorsements are a good sign that it's worth it.

So what books do you keep for reference on your shelves? If I am missing out on something, please let me know in the comments.