My students wanted to learn drawing, so I looked for available resources to aid me in teaching them how to draw. Here are my favorite drawing, sketching and art resources. I did not purchase these all at once, but acquired them over 26+ years of teaching.
By sharing our top seven drawing resources and our top seven drawing tools, I hope to spare you some of the trial and error we experienced. These are our favorite resources and they come highly recommended from our art room to yours!
The Fundamentals of Beginning Drawing (DVD) with Barry Stebbing
Six lessons on three DVDs takes the beginner step-by-step through the fundamental principles of drawing through easy to understand instruction and creative illustrations providing a firm foundation for an artist.
This is an excellent teaching tool which assists a non-artist like me in teaching art to aspiring art students. Barry Stebbing teaches by having the student outline in light pencils, then moves them to medium shaded pencils when filling in and correcting proportions, and then moves the student to darker pencils and the final product.
This is an excellent resource for teaching drawing to beginners whether children or adults. This series is a real confidence booster for any artist and lays an excellent foundation for us to springboard into applying the learned principles to the creative drawings we have within us which are longing to be expressed on paper.
Recommended supplies: #2 pencil, colored pencils, eraser, typing paper or sketch book.
Drawing Textbook by Bruce McIntyre (1998). One of the best drawing books available. It is simple, yet it builds precept upon precept. This lays the proper drawing/shading foundation for anyone learning to draw.
Younger students can do one or two pictures. Older students can do one or two lessons; each lesson contains five to six drawings. Each drawing comes with complete explanations. This is a great resource for teaching children how to draw!
I personally never learned how to draw as a child, therefore I could only illustrate with stick figures. After watching each of my children learn how to draw using this book, I attempted to learn how to draw utilizing this resource. I’m thankful to say, I have moved beyond stick figures. Yes, I learned how to draw as an adult. Hooray!
Recommended supplies: pencil, eraser, typing paper or sketch book.
*Try to find a used copy as this is one of the best drawing books available. It’s worth the treasure hunt!
The Wonders of Nature Sketchbook: Learn about Nature and How to Draw It! By Colleen Monroe
Our children really enjoyed this book! It is easy to use and very inspiring! Our children used this to help them create nature books. Great product to teach drawing for beginners. Awesome resource for teaching children how to draw wildlife. This book is available from Christianbook.com
Drawing for the Absolute Beginner by Mark & Mary Willenbrink
We used this book as a supplement for our younger artists after learning the basics and doing the nature sketchbook. This is a great book for teaching beginners how to draw, shade, blend, and use various drawing tools.
Drawing Realistic Portraits from Photographs (DVD) – Ethrian gives fifteen step-by-step lessons to help draw expressive, detailed likenesses from photographs. Learn how to do faces and hair realistically!
This amazing video is great for aspiring artists who want to do people. Ethrian makes the complicated seem attainable. Even I, who recently moved past stick people to shapes of objects, learned how to draw eyes, noses, mouths, ears, and hair. Watching Ethrian explain how to make hair life-like is worth the video in and of itself! But he teaches so much more!
This video is highly recommended for aspiring artist or for those who want to move to the next level in their artwork. This is more advanced; pre-requisite – mastering basic drawing skills.
The video recommends you have the following materials: 0.5mm mechanical pencil, 2B soft 0.5mm lead, blenders, kneadable eraser, ellipse template, soft paint brush.
Made in 2010, this video is only available from timberdoodle.com
Lee Hammond Art Books
Lee Hammond does everything with excellence. We used these books as supplements or references for students who had been drawing for a while, but wanted to move into new areas of interest. Each book provides step-by-step instructions in how to add three-dimensional highlight and shadows to shapes, people, animals, etc. and delves deeper in pencil shading and blending.
As a forensic artist, her attention to detail is amazingly precise; yet, not complicated. We only have a few of her books in our library, but I wanted to illustrate the fact that if you or your student have a specific area of interest, then there are resources available to assist you in taking your art to the next level. Any drawing book by Lee Hammond will not disappoint!
Here are a few of her books: Draw Horses, Draw Real Animals, Drawing Realistic Pets, Draw Animals in Nature, Lifelike Drawing, Draw Real People, Draw Real Hands, Draw Sports Figures, Draw Fashion Models, Lifelike Portraits from Photographs, Realistic Clothing, etc.
If your art student would prefer to do cartooning, then Vic Lockman has two excellent books:
Cartooning for Young Children – in Christian Perspective – Book 1 & 2
Cute cartoon illustrations which are sweet and appropriate for very young children. Easy to trace or draw. Easy to learn how to illustrate stories.
*Also, see the TED Talk – Why People Believe They Can’t Draw and How to Prove They Can by Graham Shaw listed towards the end of this article.
We use Verithin Pencils which are hard and can be sharpened to a point and Watercolor Pencils which are soft and can be used dry or with water. When used with water, the results are similar to painting.
These pencils are more expensive than wax pencils or crayons found at your local retailer. However, the wax is very difficult to work with and quite frustrating for an artist. I personally think it is worth the investment to buy quality art instruments.
Because we had quality pencils, we did not leave them lying around to be stepped on by children or eaten by a small child or pet. Instead, we chose to put the pencils in a plastic container (A plastic rectangle container from the food storage section of your local store works great!) and brought them out for table time. Toddlers were supervised and not allowed to eat or chew on them. Older children were responsible enough to use them unsupervised and were trained to properly care for them.
We also invested in some basic drawing pencils: HB, 2B, 4B, 6B; although we found from the Drawing Realistic Portraits from Photographs DVD that a mechanical pencil with 0.5mm or 0.9mm lead works great. We like the yellow Pentel pencils and they are reasonably priced at approximately four dollars each. For comparison: HB=0.5mm lead; 2B=0.9mm lead.
Pentel also as a retractable eraser which is refillable. It cost approximately four dollars and is very useful in drawing, especially when doing life-like hair. Kneaded erasers are very useful and cost approximately a dollar.
Blenders are great for blending sketches. Available from one to five dollars, depending on size and quantity.
Geometric Templates and Stencils
We purchased a few geometric templates from the local office supply store (circles of varying sizes, rectangles, alphabet letters, numbers, etc.) and a few children stencils (hot air balloons, animals, transportation, etc.) which gave our children the opportunity to explore varying styles.
At first, our really young artists relied heavily on tracing, then they traced and expanded their drawings via freestyle, then they did freestyle drawings. Of course, once we obtained some of the resources mentioned above, the kids grew tremendously in their drawing, sketching, blending, and painting abilities.
For many years, we used good old fashioned typing or printer paper as the surface is easy to draw upon when creating masterpieces of all sorts. Typing paper is great for coloring and sketching. We did purchase construction paper, varying scissors, glue sticks, etc. for cutting, pasting, etc. which is more craft oriented.
When our children grew in their ability to draw and sketch, then we purchased them their own sketch books. Sketch pads come in varying sizes. Be sure and get the spiral kind as they are much easier to use! They have top spirals and side spirals which can be chosen according to personal preference.
Feeling Artist Block? Go to YouTube and watch these videos:
Watch TED Talk – Why People Believe They Can’t Draw and How to Prove They Can by Graham Shaw
(Appropriate for all ages)
Summary: Graham believes drawing is belief based not talent based. Graham shows us how to draw cartoons. Graham demonstrates sequence drawing which opens the door to drawing many cartoons. Graham makes drawing cartoons easy to understand. And after watching this presentation, we definitely believe anyone can draw. We mean anyone! As we learn how to draw cartoon characters in mere minutes, it builds confidence in us. And it’s a lot of fun!
Watch TED Talk – Do Schools Kill Creativity? By Sir Ken Robinson
(Geared toward educators and parents)
Summary: Education is as important as literacy. Kids take a chance because they’re not afraid to be wrong. If we’re not prepared to be wrong, we’ll never create anything original. Unfortunately, we educate people out of their creativity. Education is based on the protracted process of university entrance. We need to re-think the fundamental principles in which we are educating our children. We need to nurture their imagination and we need to educate them as a whole being.
Watch TED Talk – Phil Hansen: Embrace the Shake
(Geared toward adults, but appropriate for teens)
Summary: We need to allow our limitations to drive our creativity. Learning to be creative in the confines of limitations and seeing creativity in the midst of limitations can be very freeing to us as creators. Hearing Phil’s story makes us feel as if we can overcome any obstacle – whether a physical ailment or mental block. His stories of thinking outside of the box release every artist to be free to create without judgement from the inner critic.
Live, love, laugh and create freely – we don’t have to have a masterpiece every time – sometimes it’s the journey, not the result.
In conclusion, I highly recommend these resources to you as they helped our family move forward in our creativity. When we have freedom to think outside-of-the-box paired with basic drawing foundational skills (with non-limiting parameters), we have the opportunity to grow as an artist. Add in some basic resources (pencils, paper, erasers, blenders, stencils, etc.) and we have the opportunity to grow artistically.
Yes, these resources will definitely teach you how to draw, sketch or use various art instruments. And they definitely help us teach aspiring artists how to draw.