Let me share my process with you on how to draw an open book and how to draw a closed book today.
In this tutorial, I would love to share with you the basic principles of drawing as well, so that you can begin drawing anything you like in no time 🙂
A little bit of knowledge and a lot of practice will make you a pro 😉
* And if you like, you can also learn a few tips on how to practice drawing effectively from one of my previous articles.
How To Draw A Book
Essentials Of Drawing A Book
How To Draw A Closed Book
How To Draw An Open Book
We will cover these topics in this article. Each will have a description and a video demonstration – it’s definitely great to go through both 🙂
- Watch out for a pop up that will allow you to download a Free PDF file that combines all this information in a neat 13-page tutorial! 🙂
Let’s dive in 🙂
The Essentials Of Drawing A Book
If you think you can’t draw – think again!
I firmly believe that drawing is a skill that can be taught.
You don’t have to be born with a talent to become a truly amazing artist!
I think the concept of drawing applies similarly to the 80/20 Rule. Have you heard of it? In short, 20% of your efforts account for the 80% of the result. And so, I like to think as 20% of talent + 80% of dedication and practice is what makes a great artist!
Also, 20% of your effort, in this case, means 20% of the knowledge you acquire from learning. And the 80% stands for the practice – and that will bring you closer and closer to the mastery of art 🙂
So, here are my essential ideas of drawing that I think about when targeting any drawing:
- Break Down
Now, let’s begin with talking about the first step – LOOK.
When trying to draw a familiar object, we tend to try and draw it from our heads first. It makes up for a great practice! Unfortunately, not always for a great result…
Therefore, unless you are a professional artist who has been drawing for most of their life, I would suggest you get a reference! (Many professional artists use references constantly for their work despite their already acquired knowledge).
Using references will help you get the image you have in your mind just right, and for this reason, I recommend getting many!
However, please don’t just “google” the references and copy exactly from a picture you see pop up if you are planning to show the work as your own. I won’t get into all the legal stuff here, but the photograph belongs to the photographer, and if you copy it exactly and then present as your own you might get in trouble.
The answer to this problem is this: get stock images.
You can do it on free stock photography sites, although you will be limited to the options, or you can also check out DepositPhotos which is constantly being used by many professional artists all the time.
So, don’t assume you know what something looks like – but rather actually look at the object and then you will know what it looks like.
Also, all the books in the world will have similarities, just like all humans do, but you can’t just learn how to draw one human, and when asked to draw a custom portrait – just draw the same human you learned from and draw it out of your head, right?
Any object needs to be treated like this because everything in this world is unique. (Just think of the scratches, scars, broken pieces, colors, texture, etc.)
The second essential thing you need to target is – break it down.
Any complex subject can be broken down into simple geometric shapes – circles, squares, rectangles, triangles etc.
So, what makes up a book? Let’s take a look:
Usually, we have a simple rectangle that is the cover, back cover and the pages themselves. Also, there is the spine of the book, which is usually an elongated slim rectangle.
And that is all you need to worry about!
Of course, they all differ, some may have rounded edges and some books take on different shapes. But the basic principle stays the same – simply look and break it down.
The final idea in this concept is to understand – and this is the tricky one!
It’s only tricky because you need basic prior knowledge of perspective to understand how an object is treated in space. And I cover that a little bit in the video.
Otherwise, some basic understanding of an object – how would the spine extend when the book is open? What happens to a page when it’s folded or a heavyweight is put on it? And so forth, I cover a little bit of this in the third video but it’s all just common sense and easy to understand when you take some time to think.
Overall, a book is just a box and should be treated as such.
And since we are over the essentials, let’s get to the fun stuff – drawing a closed and an open book 🙂 .
How To Draw A Closed Book
- The video features a step-by-step breakdown of how to draw a closed book using 4 different reference images + a quick overview on how I shade the books using charcoal and 6B pencil brushes.
Since we went over the essentials, we now understand the principle – look, break down and understand.
Now, we will pick up any reference found online with an appropriate license and dig into work 🙂
We will begin by defining the basic shape of the book and trying to see where our vanishing point is.
In the first example from my video, we see that our vanishing point is a way off the page, and yet we will try to imagine it and work from that.
Also, sometimes I just like to see what angle does a particular line take and that is also always helpful 🙂
Then, we sketch out our shape, lower the opacity of the layer (or slightly erase with an eraser if working traditionally) and go over it with bold strokes because we have the base ready.
Tip#1: don’t try to draw every single page a book has – instead suggest it with slight varying lines.
Tip#2: try to look for some odd shapes within your book. Maybe the corners are round or follow a particular shape? This will make each book you draw a unique one! (see the video for better understanding on these 2 tips).
What if we had to draw a bunch of closed books on top of each other?
Well, the awesome thing is that you have all the knowledge necessary to do it right!
Simply, take the hints given to you by the angles of lines the book has and extend them. Try to visualize and understand what’s going on beneath what you can see – and you will get it right all the time!
How To Draw An Open Book
- The video features many different examples of open books drawings, as well as drawing separate leaf pages vs block pages while open + a different way of coloring a book using digital media tools.
As always, we begin by looking and breaking down what we see.
Because we also covered the “understanding” part of this tutorial – it should be easy!
It is enough for the artist to know that there IS the cover behind all of those pages – and so we begin drawing with that in mind.
Essentially, and open book, when viewed straight on, is just a rectangle with a line in the middle, and when we begin adding pages they have a wavelike shape to them.
The shape might get more or less exaggerated depending on the volume of pages and their positioning.
Tip #3: When drawing a bulk of pages that are flipping – treat them as a block of shape.
Tip #4: When adding a bookmark indicate that it is there by adding a dark line to the right and left of it (more explanation of these tips are in the video 3).
Good job for finishing this tutorial! 🙂
I hope that by reading this article you learned something new about drawing books and any other objects you might have in mind 🙂
I also hope that you got the FREE PDF file from the pop-up form, but if not – you can always get it HERE with many of my other freebies!
Now, it’s time to put what you learned to practice – so go ahead and draw some amazing books!
P.S. if you have any tutorials/article ideas that you would like to request or questions that you would like answered by me – don’t hesitate to shoot me an email: email@example.com
I would love to hear from you!