Drawing books has never been easier! Follow this simple, step-by-step tutorial to take your book drawing game to the next level.
Whether you’re a pro artist or a complete beginner, this guide will teach you the method of drawing a perfect book every time.
As books tend to be rectangular prism shapes, they can be a little tricky to get right. Straight lines and angles are key when it comes to drawing books, so make sure you have a ruler to hand!
To keep things simple, the tutorial is broken down into manageable steps. Pencil at the ready— let’s dive in.
What You Will Learn In This Guide
This book drawing guide is suitable for everyone, experts and beginners alike, thanks to the easy-to-follow steps.
Here’s what you’ll learn in this guide:
A Quick Preview of All Steps
Firstly, here’s a quick rundown of each and every step in this tutorial. Don’t panic! Although it may look daunting right now, we have broken the process down into small, easy-to-manage steps. It’s just a good idea to evaluate the bigger picture and all the steps involved before diving straight in headfirst.
How to Draw a Book Step-by-Step
Step 1 – Draw the first Diagonal Line
Begin by drawing a diagonal line. This first line will represent the spine of the book and will determine the overall scale and proportions of your book drawing.
It helps to have a unit of measurement in mind before you begin. Alternatively, you could use the Grid Technique to help you achieve your desired scale.
As a book drawing involves a lot of straight lines, it’s easy enough to measure and scale using just a ruler.
Decide on the desired scale of your book drawing, and then make your first diagonal line.
The diagonal position of this line is essential for adding depth to the book drawing later.
Step 2 – Draw a Horizontal Line
Next, draw a horizontal line, and make sure it runs perpendicular to the diagonal line you drew in Step 1.
It’s important that both the horizontal and diagonal lines intersect to form a right angle— this mimics the shape of a truly rectangular book, which is what we’re trying to achieve.
Step 3 – Draw the Second Diagonal Line
It’s now time to draw the second diagonal line. This line will run parallel to the previous diagonal line, as shown in the sketch.
The diagonal lines will help to form the outer edge of your book drawing.
Step 4 – Complete the Rectangle
Close the rectangle by drawing a second horizontal line parallel to the first.
This rectangle (or diamond, depending on which way you look at it) forms the basic outline of the front of your book drawing.
What you’re left with is a sort of “construction frame” for the book.
During this stage, be sure to only make very light pencil lines as you’ll be removing some of them later.
Step 5 – Add the First Angle
Next, you’ll need to begin adding depth to your book drawing by creating angles.
Take one corner of your rectangle and sketch a small line downwards; the more pages you want your book drawing to have, the longer you should make this line.
Step 6 – Add the Second Angle
Take another corner of your rectangle and once again, draw a straight line downwards, ensuring that this line is the same length as the previous line.
Step 7 – Add the Third Angle
Draw the third and final angle, ensuring that it is the same length as the previous 2 lines.
You should now have a rectangle with 3 small vertical lines running downward from three of the corners.
By the end of this step, you should be left with a sketch that looks a little like a table, as shown in the illustration.
Step 8 – Add Volume to the Book
It’s now time to add volume to your book drawing by connecting the angles you marked out earlier.
Using a ruler, connect the two leftmost vertical lines by drawing a horizontal line, as shown in the image.
This horizontal line determines how ‘large’ your book looks, in terms of page volume.
Step 9 – Add More Volume to the Book
Repeat the previous step by drawing a horizontal line to connect the two remaining small vertical lines.
The three-dimensional outline of your book should now be visible and you should have a sense of how realistic your book drawing is going to look when it’s complete.
Step 10 – Draw the Book Cover
Next, draw a C-shaped line to turn the small line into a semicircle.
This small curved line helps to create the illusion of a cover on your book drawing.
This is the part of the book where the pages meet the spine.
Step 11 – Add Volume to the Book Cover
To add three-dimensional depth to your book drawing, you’ll need to draw a second C-shaped lined next to the one you just drew. Make sure this line is identical to the first.
The amount of space you leave between the two C-shaped lines will determine how thick your book cover will be, so keep this in mind when deciding on line placement.
Step 12 – Draw the Tailband
The tailband, often called binding, is the part of a book where some colored thread is glued or sewn to the pages of the book.
To portray this, start with a basic outline of the tailband. Draw a second small vertical line, identical to the side of the book. Use the diagram to get an idea of placement.
Step 13 – Add Detail to the Tailband
Now that you have a basic outline of your tailband, it’s time to add detail.
Draw a vertical wavy line along the tailband. This wavy line mimics stitching in the tailband, adding realism to your book drawing.
Step 14 – Remove the Tailband Outline
Next, use an eraser to remove the outline of the tailband.
These were just guide-lines so are no longer necessary. This should leave you with just the wavy line.
Step 15 – Define the Back Cover
To define the cover of your book drawing, you’ll need to add a second line, parallel to the one you drew earlier. This line should be drawn above the previous line.
In this step, you’re essentially just removing a few leaves of the book to create a cover.
Step 16 – Define the Front Cover
Repeat the same process for the front cover.
Remember to draw this horizontal line below the original one. So that once again, page volume is being removed from the book to create a three-dimensional book cover.
Step 17 – Define the Side of the Front Cover
Next, draw a diagonal line along the side of the front cover, right next to the existing one.
Step 18 – Define the Side of the Back Cover
Much like the previous step, draw a second diagonal line— but this time, above the existing back cover.
Your book drawing should now have a complete, three-dimensional cover.
Step 19 – Draw a Curved Line
At the top right corner of your book drawing, draw a curved line. Each end on this curved line should match up to one corner, creating a concave effect.
Step 20- Remove Right-Angle
Remove the harsh edge of the top-right corner of the book using an eraser.
Using a curved line instead of a straight one increases depth perception, as the cover should now appear to overlap the pages.
Step 21 – Remove Guide Lines
Neaten up the corner of your book drawing by removing all guide lines with an eraser.
Step 22 – Define the Corner
To create an overlapping effect, define the corner of your book drawing. You can do this by extending the diagonal lines, and curving them to meet the pages.
Step 23 – Add Sheet Definition
Draw multiple horizontal lines along the bottom section of your book volume. This will highlight pages, giving the illusion of a natural book.
Don’t attempt to draw every single page of the book— instead, just suggest it with a few varying lines.
Consider personalizing your book drawing by adding features such as dog-eared corners or a little wear and tear.
Step 24 – Add Sheet Definition to the Side of the Pages
Repeat the previous step, but along the side of the pages instead.
Try to keep the amount of page definition on each side of the book drawing as equal as possible.
Step 25 – Shade-in the Book Cover
Finish off your book drawing by shading the front cover. This should be done using light, wide pencil strokes.
When shading, always start light, and gradually apply pressure to darken specific areas.
Step 26 – Add More Shading
As the book is on an angle, light is going to hit it differently in different areas. To add a touch of realism to your book drawing, shade along the side of the pages, making them significantly darker than the front.
This shading helps to create the illusion of light bouncing off the front of the book.
Now that you’ve completed your closed book drawing, you can customize it any way you like. Consider adding a title to your book, or maybe even an eye-catching illustration on the front cover.
To create a stack of books, try using this guide to draw each book at a slightly different angle.
Additional decorative features such as bookmarks or ribbons look great, too!
Although there are a lot of steps to follow when it comes to drawing books, we hope that you found our tutorial simple and easy to follow. If you enjoyed this guide, then you might also want to have a look at our other drawing tutorials as well.