For many artists, mastering the human figure is one of their greatest challenges. Fortunately, there's a vast array of educational how-to-draw books that teach realistic anatomy, perspective, and even how to approach rendering the human body in motion.
With so many educational books available, it can be hard to know which one to choose. That's why we've compiled a list of the best books on how to draw people. Among them is a top seller on Amazon: Figure Drawing for All It's Worth by Andrew Loomis. It features a clean, realist style from the early 1900s that has inspired numerous artists, including comics icon Alex Ross. In addition, we've included something for those that struggle with portraying movement: Classic Human Anatomy in Motion: The Artist's Guide to the Dynamics of Figure Drawing. Written and illustrated by artist Valerie L. Winslow, this guide delves into different aspects of the human body and how it all works together when active.
Scroll down to check out our full list of the five best books on how to draw the human figure.
Want to learn how to draw the human figure? Check out our list of the best drawing books!
Figure Drawing for All It's Worth by Andrew Loomis
Artist and author Andrew Loomis (1892-1959) was a prominent illustrator and advertising designer in the early 20th century. A master of the human figure, his book emphasizes a timeless, expressive style. Art Sketch says, “Holding this book is like holding a time capsule, beautifully preserved in spirit for the next crop of future artists in the generations to come.”
Classic Human Anatomy in Motion: The Artist's Guide to the Dynamics of Figure Drawing by Valerie L. Winslow
Valerie L. Winslow‘s instructional book focuses on the dynamics of the human form. Inside are hundreds of life drawing studies accompanied by words from Winslow, as well as charts and diagrams that illustrate the anatomy and its structural components. It is the ideal guide for anyone wanting to learn how to draw people in a classic style.
Drawing the Head and Figure: A How-To Handbook That Makes Drawing Easy by Jack Hamm
Drawing the Head and Figure by best-selling author Jack Hamm provides easy-to-follow instructions that will quickly help you get a handle on drawing portraiture as well as the human body. It features numerous illustrations in a vintage American style.
The Figurative Artist's Handbook: A Contemporary Guide to Figure Drawing, Painting, and Composition by Robert Zeller
The Figurative Artist's Handbook includes an array of fine-art drawings and paintings by artist Robert Zeller as well as nearly 100 examples from masters across different eras, like Michelangelo, Peter Paul Rubens, Gustav Klimt, Edward Hopper, and Andrew Loomis.
Anatomy and Perspective: The Fundamentals of Figure Drawing (Dover Art Instruction) by Charles Oliver
This instructional book by artist Charles Oliver addresses human anatomy and the rules of perspective, as well as the elementary principles of drawing and utilizing light and shadow. In addition, this book features a section on how to render clothing and drapery.