15 Best Digital Art Books For Beginners

Table of Contents

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Best Digital Art Books For Beginners

Written by Juha

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Have you ever wanted to learn how to create some amazing digital art? Learn from the best of the best with these amazing guides geared specifically for beginners.

This list includes Best Digital Art Books available online today. It includes books both for beginners and for more advanced artists out there.

These guides will walk you through everything step by step, so you too can become an art pro.

Beginner’s Guide to Digital Painting in Procreate: How to Create Art on an iPad

A comprehensive guide to Procreate, one of the most popular software among digital artists.

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Beginner's Guide to Digital Painting in...
1,326 Reviews
Beginner's Guide to Digital Painting in...
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 200 Pages - 04/28/2020 (Publication...

Pros

  • Teaches both fundamental drawing skills and how to use the software
  • Includes work by a variety of artists
  • Offers step by step tutorials

Cons

  • The software may update and change between now and when the book was published

Why You’ll Love It

3DTotal is a well-known name in the art world, and they’ve wrangled together some of the best artists to create this comprehensive guide. Learning to draw is one thing, but learning to use the software needed for digital art is another. This guide will teach you how to do both alongside offering some valuable advice for your art journey.

Digital Painting Techniques: Practical Techniques of Digital Art Masters

A collection of tutorials and techniques to help you master the art of painting in the modern age.

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Digital Painting Techniques: Practical...
273 Reviews
Digital Painting Techniques: Practical...
  • Focal Press
  • 3dtotal.Com (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 286 Pages - 09/16/2009 (Publication...

Pros

  • Specifically geared towards digital painting
  • Compatible with any software
  • Sources knowledge

Cons

  • Focuses on only one art style

Why You’ll Love It

Digital painting is a breathtaking niche of digital art. It may seem impossible to master, but this easy to follow guide will help you create digital paintings of your own.

It’s a worthwhile read for artists wanting to add a touch of realism to their work, or those looking to make their work less digital and more hand-drawn. If you’re a true beginner to art, you might want to pick up a guide on some basic fundamentals so you can have a head start for some of the more advanced techniques in this guide.

Beginner’s Guide to Digital Painting in Photoshop, 2nd Edition

Another hit guide by 3DTotal publishing focusing specifically on digital painting in photoshop, perfect for game developers.

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Beginner's Guide to Digital Painting in...
84 Reviews
Beginner's Guide to Digital Painting in...
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 288 Pages - 02/25/2020 (Publication...

Pros

  • Focuses on the photoshop program
  • In-depth tutorials from beginning to finish of the piece
  • Great tips for game developers and people in the movie industry

Cons

  • Explains digital art techniques through photoshop tools only

Why You’ll Love It

3DTotal focuses on digital painting in photoshop for this beginner’s guide, which is fantastic for people who want to illustrate more along the lines of game or concept art. They provide quality examples, as well as tutorials that will walk you through the beginning to the end.

The Ultimate Concept Art Career Guide

The perfect guide for those considering a career in digital art, with fantastic industry insight.

The Ultimate Concept Art Career Guide
198 Reviews
The Ultimate Concept Art Career Guide
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 200 Pages - 01/02/2018 (Publication...

Pros

  • Written by industry professionals
  • Explains how to create a portfolio
  • Addresses the highs and lows of an art career

Cons

  • Talks less about art techniques

Why You’ll Love It

If you’re even barely considering a career in art, this book is a must have. It gives a realistic look at the industry, especially for digital artists. It paints an honest light of the digital art industry, including the ups and the downs.

But it also gives valuable advice on how to give yourself the best shot possible as a digital artist, especially for more specific industries like CGI in film or game development. For those who would simply like to make a few dollars from their art, there’s advice for you too.

Sketching from the Imagination: Characters

Strengthen your foundation for character design with this guide on sketching.

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Sketching from the Imagination:...
596 Reviews
Sketching from the Imagination:...
  • 3dtotal Publishing
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 320 Pages - 02/28/2017 (Publication...

Pros

  • Master the fundamentals of anatomy and character design
  • Great for both digital and traditional artists
  • Includes a variety of art styles

Cons

  • Not as much instruction for finishing and perfecting pieces

Why You’ll Love It

Character design is a huge part of digital art, and this guide is a wonderful introduction to it. It’s also useful for perfecting your anatomy and perspective skills.

Sketching from the Imagination: Creatures & Monsters

Create ghoulish monsters, demons, and other terrifying creatures with this guide.

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Sketching from the Imagination:...
457 Reviews
Sketching from the Imagination:...
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 320 Pages - 06/25/2019 (Publication...

Pros

  • Step by step guides with pictures
  • Includes specific monsters and archetypes
  • Includes practical drawing advice as well

Cons

  • Focuses on one niche only, you may need another book for fundamentals

Why You’ll Love It

This guide is so great it’s horrifying. Fans of the horror and creepy art genres will cling to this guide’s every word. Learn how to draw common creatures and monsters, as well as learn how to create your own. Those who struggle with drawing animals and other non-human figures can strengthen their skills in this book.

The Art of Loish: A Look Behind the Scenes by Lois van Baarle

One of the greatest digital artists spills her secrets in this guide. I personally own this and found great value from it.

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The Art of Loish: A Look Behind the...
657 Reviews
The Art of Loish: A Look Behind the...
  • Perseus Books Group
  • Hardcover Book
  • van Baarle, Lois (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 152 Pages - 04/05/2016 (Publication...

Pros

  • Learn about Loish’s favorite pieces and her inspirations
  • Details on how Loish achieves her specific art style
  • Great for both beginner and advanced artists

Cons

  • Fewer tutorials and more experience and knowledge

Why You’ll Love It

If you haven’t seen Loish’s work before, it’s surreal. Loish is known for her breathtaking art with a definitive style, and she explains her inspirations in this book. It doesn’t have as much practical advice and how-to guides, but if you’re a fan of Loish’s work, you’ll appreciate this book nonetheless.

Loish goes into detail on her brainstorming process and creative spark, which is an essential part of the drawing process. Many reviewers have noted that Loish helped them develop their own unique style as well.

Beginner’s Guide to ZBrush

A survival guide for digital artists looking to explore the 3D frontier.

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Beginner's Guide to ZBrush
283 Reviews
Beginner's Guide to ZBrush
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 288 Pages - 12/26/2017 (Publication...

Pros

  • The definitive guide on ZBrush
  • Helpful for both 2D and 3D artists
  • Emphasis on CGI and game development

Cons

  • Great guide for 3D digital art, but not much on 2D art

Why You’ll Love It

3D artists require a specialized subset of knowledge in order to create their work. This guide is an excellent reference tool for just that. It’s great knowledge to have on hand for any digital artist, regardless if they work in 3D or not.

This guide is specifically for the application ZBrush, but you’ll find that many of the tools referenced are the same for any sculpting/drawing software. It features art created in the software by some incredibly talented people, so you can get an idea of what other artists are up to in the digital art world.

Sketching from the Imagination: Anime & Manga

An all-inclusive guide with extra tips for the aspiring mangaka. Yet again, one of my greatest possessions. I like the way artists share their imaginative process and how they start a drawing. I can recommend this book wholeheartedly.

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Sketching from the Imagination: Anime &...
209 Reviews
Sketching from the Imagination: Anime &...
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 320 Pages - 10/20/2020 (Publication...

Pros

  • Includes both basic and advanced techniques
  • Explains the anime and manga style in depth
  • Easy to follow

Cons

  • Doesn’t cover all elements of anime and manga, ie effects and emotes

Why You’ll Love It

3DTotal knew what they were doing in this book, because in addition to giving the specifics of the manga art style, they also go to lengths to explain drawing fundamentals.

Beginner’s Guide to Sketching: Robots, Vehicles & Sci-fi Concepts

Learn how to render realistic environments and aliens too.

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Beginner's Guide to Sketching: Robots,...
147 Reviews
Beginner's Guide to Sketching: Robots,...
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 216 Pages - 02/26/2019 (Publication...

Pros

  • Good for backgrounds, objects, and other elements
  • Everyone can take something away, including Gundam or horror fans
  • Covers everything that beginner’s guides miss

Cons

  • Focuses on a variety of different topics with no specific niche or approach

Why You’ll Love It

This guide is a conglomerate of several different niches within digital art. Despite that, it’s a useful guide for everyone. Learning how to sketch vehicles and other types of machinery is an invaluable skill. It’s also great if you’re looking to give a sci-fi sort of ambience to your digital art.

Pen and Ink Drawing: A Simple Guide by Alphonso Dunn

Take a note from traditional art and incorporate these techniques into your digital work.

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Pen and Ink Drawing: A Simple Guide
2,623 Reviews
Pen and Ink Drawing: A Simple Guide
  • Pen and Ink Drawing A Simple Guide
  • Dunn, Alphonso (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 166 Pages - 12/11/2015 (Publication...

Pros

  • It inlcudes techniques like cross-hatching and shading
  • Make your digital art have a hand-drawn feel
  • Improve both traditional and digital skills

Cons

  • You’ll have to figure out how to apply these techniques digitally on your own

Why You’ll Love It

Drawing in pen or ink is a basic, yet challenging skill that every artist must-have. That’s true even for digital artists. Despite drawing in software, digital artists still rely on computerized versions of the same tools that traditional artists work with.

This guide is essential for any artist looking to master drawing, but can help digital artists add a hand-drawn touch to their work.

Art Fundamentals 2nd edition: Light, shape, color, perspective, depth, composition & anatomy

The artist’s bible for the most important attribute of a digital or traditional piece.

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Art Fundamentals 2nd edition: Light,...
96 Reviews
Art Fundamentals 2nd edition: Light,...
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 288 Pages - 05/12/2020 (Publication...

Pros

  • The essential guide for those looking to achieve as high a degree of realism as possible
  • Gives instruction on composition and how to make an attractive piece
  • Catered to digital artists

Cons

  • Less step by step guides and more general advice

Why You’ll Love It

This is an art school in a book. If you’re a true beginner, this guide will get you up to speed and take your digital art to a whole new level. If all the skills in the title sound intimidating, there’s no need to worry. 3DTotal offers some great explanations and step-by-step tutorials. It’s a good idea to have this book on hand for your basics, and pick up another for more specific skills or styles you’re looking to master.

Anatomy for 3D Artists: The Essential Guide for CG Professionals by Chris Legaspi

An informative and detailed guide on creating realistic as well as stylized 3D characters.

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Anatomy for 3D Artists: The Essential...
319 Reviews
Anatomy for 3D Artists: The Essential...
  • 3DTOTAL
  • Legaspi, Chris (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 288 Pages - 12/15/2015 (Publication...

Pros

  • Great for a variety of software
  • Includes projects you can follow along with
  • Focuses on sculpting and recreating the human form in 3D

Cons

  • Focuses on realistic human forms only

Why You’ll Love It

Chris Legaspi is a renowned 3D artist, and he offers all his expertise in this book. He approaches 3D anatomy and human models from the perspective of sculpting, which is a unique approach. If you’re a traditional artist converting to digital, this book will be easily digestible for you.

Figure Drawing for Concept Artists by Kan Muftic

Approach figure drawing from the eyes of a concept artist in this tailor-made guide.

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Figure Drawing for Concept Artists
84 Reviews
Figure Drawing for Concept Artists
  • Muftic, Kan (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 192 Pages - 05/23/2017 (Publication...

Pros

  • Master anatomy and perspective in this guide
  • Hone in on light and shadow on the human body
  • Develop your proficiency in sketching

Cons

  • Doesn’t address much on coloring

Why You’ll Love It

Figure drawing is a skill that helps hammer in anatomy and perspective skills. Not only that, but it helps the artist to quickly and accurately sketch human forms. This book approaches figure drawing from the perspective of a concept artist, so it includes tips for working with digital media.

The Artist’s Guide to the Anatomy of the Human Head: Defining Structure and Capturing Emotions

Muscle groups and detailed medical drawings will help you perfect emotions, anatomy, and more.

The Artist's Guide to the Anatomy of the...
75 Reviews
The Artist's Guide to the Anatomy of the...
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 216 Pages - 07/04/2017 (Publication...

Pros

  • Learn facial anatomy through the muscles
  • Practice specific emotions on a variety of facial compositions
  • Learn how to draw heads from different angles

Cons

  • Anime artists will have to account for their style on their own

Why You’ll Love It

This is quite a fascinating guide and unique approach to cranial and facial anatomy. You’ll explore the depiction of emotions through the underlying muscles of the face, as well as rendering unique profiles and features.

Even if you prefer a style like anime that simplifies the forms of the face, this book will transform the way you see anatomy. The skills you pick up on defining muscles and nuances of the body can be easily applied to the human form altogether.

A Comprehensive Guide for Beginner Artists

Learn from the best of the best, one page at a time. If you’re serious about learning how to create digital art, you need one of these guides. They’re amazing for laying down those fundamental skills, as well as referencing later on down the road. Which book did you pick up today? What would you recommend to a fellow artist? Let us know in the comments below!

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Table Of Contents

Hey! Don't Forget Your Guide!

When I was starting to draw digital art, everything was new to me. I didn’t know what to think about digital art or even how to draw. I kind of started from the beginning. I was scraping information through various sites, trying to get a complete picture, however, only ending up with a fractured picture of how to approach it all.

That was the reason why I collected 5 of the most important tips you should know as an aspiring digital artist. The guide also has a checklist for creating that professional line art. And to top it all, I’ve gathered 52 tips that every anime artist should know.

Downloading this guide will add you to my email list. Unsubscribe at any time.

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