Have some budding artists on your hands? While free drawing is a fabulous form of self-expression, some kids really blossom when they can follow directions to learn new drawing skills. For step-by-step guidance to draw everything from superheroes, race cars, and funny faces to cute llamas, sloths, and unicorns, here are some of our favorite drawing books for kids of all ages.
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1. My First I Can Draw Sea Animals by Little Press
The titles in this series of drawing books for little kids are great to introduce kids to follow step-by-step instructions. Each 8-step picture is straightforward but satisfying.
2. The How To Draw Book for Kids: A Simple, Step-by-Step Guide to Drawing Cute and Silly Things by Jacy Corral
A lot of drawing books for kids call themselves “simple,” but this one actually is. Build kids’ confidence drawing a variety of items, from rocket ships to cupcakes. The directions use black vs. gray lines to show kids exactly what’s new in each step.
3. Ed Emberley’s Great Thumbprint Drawing Book by Ed Emberley
Ed Emberley offers tons of drawing books for kids, but we’re partial to this simple and sweet option. Even very young kids can add a few strategic scribbles to turn a thumbprint into a cute animal or figure.
4. How to Draw All the Things for Kids by Alli Koch
This is the drawing book for kids who want to learn to draw “all the things,” not just animals and characters. The uncluttered pages let kids focus on each step, and the designs progress from very simple to more complex. Also, check out How to Draw Modern Flowers for Kids by the same author.
5. How to Draw 101 Things That Go by Nat Lambert
The “How to Draw 101” series covers lots of categories and is a reliable and affordable choice for drawing books for kids. In this one, kids can work step-by-step to draw a wide variety of vehicles, from Viking ships to present-day planes and cars.
Learning to break down figures into shapes is such a helpful skill—and we’re sure you can imagine a few students who would love the trendy and cute choices in this easy-to-follow guide. In addition to the drawing instructions, there are lots of ideas for how to add fun extra touches, backgrounds and scene details. (The other titles in the “Drawing With Simple Shapes” series, like How to Draw a Mermaid and Other Cute Creatures and How to Draw a Bunny and Other Cute Creatures, will appeal to kids, too.)
7. How to Draw Scary Monsters and Other Mythical Creatures by Fiona Gowen
This is the perfect drawing book for kids to share around Halloween! For kids who enjoy this more cartoonish style of drawing, this author has lots of other “How to Draw” books as well, from Dinosaurs to Birds, and more.
8. The Big Book of Faces by Erik DePrince
This is an awesome resource for kids ready to move beyond drawing all people the exact same way! From variations in hairstyle to face shape to expression, these examples give kids lots of new techniques for their drawing toolbox. Great for working on conveying characters’ emotions when kids are illustrating their own writing, too.
9. How to Draw People by Barbara Soloff Levy
Let’s call this one “How to Not Draw Stick Figures Anymore!” Help kids begin to understand shapes and proportions needed to draw figures doing all types of activities, from roller-skating to playing musical instruments.
10. How to Draw Deluxe Edition (Pokémon) by Maria S. Barbo and Tracey West
A drawing book for kids that lets kids practice following both visual and written directions for each step? Yes, please! Here are detailed directions to help kids draw over 70 of their favorite Pokémon characters.
11. Math Art and Drawing Games for Kids: 40+ Fun Art Projects to Build Amazing Math Skills by Karyn Tripp
You’ll want to add this unique title to your books about math for kids and your drawing books! Directions teach kids how to draw works of art with a protractor, multiplication grids on graph paper, a ruler, and other math tools. There are cool multimedia projects, too.
12. Baloney and Friends by Greg Pizzoli and other graphic novels
One of our fave spots to find drawing instructions for kids are the character-drawing instructions at the back of graphic novels. Kids can enjoy this graphic novel and then learn how to draw pals Baloney, Peanut, Bizz, and Krabbit. Other favorite tutorials include those in the Jack books by Mac Barnett, and Dog Man books by Dav Pilkey.
13. The Art of Doodle Words: Turn Your Everyday Doodles Into Cute Hand Lettering by Sarah Alberto
Kids love fun lettering just as much as drawing. This book shows kids how to create lettering in various styles and how to turn words and phrases into artistic doodles.
14. Zentangle for Kids by Jane Marbaix
Zentangle is a meditative drawing style that’s all about filling in outlines with intricate patterns. This introductory book is a great complement to classroom mindfulness studies or for sharing with a student who needs a stress-busting outlet.
15. Let’s Make Comics: An Activity Book to Create, Write, and Draw Your Own Cartoons by Jess Smart Smiley
Break down how to create an entertaining comic with step-by-step explanations, tips, and fun prompts. It is a consumable book but still has lots of ideas teachers could replicate for whole-class use.
16. The Drawing Lesson: A Graphic Novel that Teaches You How to Draw by Mark Crilley
Learning to draw is an empowering thing, and this graphic novel captures that perfectly. A boy connects with his neighbor over drawing, and her guidance launches a lifelong passion. It’s a touching story with lots of practical drawing tips.
17. Stan Lee’s How to Draw Comics by Stan Lee
Older kids serious about honing their drawing skills to create comics will want the chance to learn from this iconic manual. Filled with information on the history of comics, foundations of drawing forms, and techniques and tips to fix common pitfalls, this is a classic resource.