Learning how to draw is a very intense and personal experience. Some people are born with a natural ability to draw, and then there's the rest of us who have to struggle for years before it begins to feel natural. I do think anyone can learn to draw realistically, with enough persistence and patience. However, not everyone can learn to draw with fluidity and style.
By the way, the worst type of teacher to have is one born with natural abilities. Since they've never had to struggle through the process, they can rarely articulate how to problem solve. I take that back, the worst kind of teacher is one who loves everything you do. It's like one of those moms who goes frenetically wild with approval when their child makes a mud pie. The kid knows its just a mud pie, and feels a little embarrassed for himself, the ecstatic mom, and any accidental audience.
I haven't recommended a lot of books, because I think that experience and classes can help you advance much more than books. Keep drawing,and when you hit a plateau in your learning curve, don't give up!
|Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain by Betty Edwards. This book is a genuine classic. Years ago, before I went back to college to get my degree in illustration, I started doing the exercises in this book. I worked through the book in a couple of weeks, and in the process I gained quite a bit of confidence about my ability to learn to draw better. This book is perfect if you have a hidden desire to draw realistically, but you're intimidated by the thought of taking a drawing class, with (gulp!) critiques.|
Order Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain
|This is the workbook for the Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain book, above. It includes exercises and places to do your drawings. This workbook also contains some nice tools like a clear sheet of acetate so that students can trace what they're seeing. I used this book when introducing realistic drawing to my 13 year old.|
|Cartooning the Head and Figure by Jack Hamm. This might seem like a kind of goofy book, but it's very valuable. Sometimes the best way to learn about something is to see it at its most extreme. This book is a wonderful encyclopedia of facial expressions and gestures. There are pages and pages of faces, hands, and figures (all cartoon style, of course!) that will help you to see and understand how to draw the human figure realistically. This book was very helpful when I was really struggling to try to learn to draw "out of my head" (note: not to be confused with "out of my mind"!) without photographic or other reference. I was able to develop my own visual shorthand that comes in handy in preliminary sketches. Bottom line: why get this book? Because it's fun, darn it! Order Cartooning the Head and Figure|