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Hello! My name is Liz Staley and I’m a long-time user of Clip Studio Paint (I started using the program back when it was known as Manga Studio 4!). I was a beta-tester on the Manga Studio 5 program and for Clip Studio Paint, and I have written three books and several video courses about the program. Many of you probably know my name from those books, in fact!
Thanks to the internet, we now have access to so many more resources for learning than we did even just twenty years ago! Not only can we order just about any book that’s ever been in print, but the amount of information available for free out there is staggering! I hope this collection of some of my favorite “How To Draw” resources gives you some new techniques to explore! I will be listing both paid and free resources.
In this article we will cover the following topics:
Pose/Photo Reference Resources
Let’s get right to it!
How To Draw: Books
This section will feature books that I’ve found helpful in my years of learning art. Links to where to purchase each of these books will be listed. Please support the authors who put their heart, knowledge, and time into creating these books by purchasing their work!
Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain: 4th Edition
This book is a bit “old school” but it’s still my go-to recommendation whenever someone asks me for tips on how they can learn art or when someone tells me they have a youngster at home who wants to improve their drawing. This book will teach you to “see” like an artist using a collection of exercises such as drawing negative space, drawing an object upside-down, and more. I did about half the exercises in this book back when I was in high school and it noticeably improved my artwork! So if you’re struggling with being able to draw what you see, give this one a try. It’s a classic!
Color Theory: An Essential Guide To Color
When I got this book in the mail a few years ago I was surprised at how skinny it was. However, it’s packed with great information for those of us who still struggle with color theory despite how many color wheels we’ve filled in! This book is a short, to-the-point, easy to understand read that doesn’t feel overwhelming like some color theory books do. It’s a great reference to add to your collection!
How to Draw Manga: Illustrating Battles
The How To Draw Manga series gets a bad rap sometimes, and while some of them aren’t worth your money, this one absolutely IS. Especially if you’re going to be drawing anything where you need to have someone/something hitting or kicking someone/something else. This book is more than a collection of really useful reference poses, it actually teaches you the theory of how to draw dynamic battle illustrations that are full of punch! (Pun intended!) If you want to learn how to draw some awesome battle scenes, pick this one up and read it - don’t just look at the pictures!
Vanishing Point: Perspective for Comics from the Ground Up
My absolute favorite book for learning how to draw in perspective! I learned tips from this book that I had never heard before despite spending years reading about how to draw perspective! Vanishing Point includes lots of exercises that will help you level up your backgrounds with amazing perspective, and I’d recommend it for both comic artists and general illustrators or concept artists who are struggling with this tricky aspect of art.
If you’re interested in animation, this is one of three books I’d recommend on the subject as it’s the most affordable of the options. (The other two are “The Animator’s Survival Kit” and “Illusion of Life” if you were curious to look them up!) This one is also the most accessible and least intimidating of the animation books I’d recommend because the other two are pretty large tomes! Cartoon Animation will teach an aspiring animator all the basic techniques they need to animate dynamic motion. All you need to do is adapt these concepts to your animation software of choice! May I recommend Clip Studio Paint for your hand-drawn animation projects?
In this section I will share some tutorials from my favorite artists on YouTube. Be sure to give their videos a like if you watch and learn something!
Understanding Color by Blender Guru
This 23-minute video from YouTuber “Blender Guru” was posted back in February of 2014 but is still one of the best videos about how to use color in your art that I have ever seen. I definitely recommend sitting down and giving it your full attention. Blender Guru explains how to make color palettes that work together and how to create drama with color, among other amazing topics.
How to Draw Foreshortening With the Coil Technique by Sycra
If you’ve been struggling with drawing foreshortened figures and have never seen this video, prepare to have your mind blown. This was uploaded in 2013 but is still one of the best techniques for figuring out foreshortening I have ever seen - and it WORKS.
COMIC BOOK PANELS: What Size Should They Be? By Mark Crilley
If you’re interested in manga art and visual storytelling, I can’t recommend Mark Crilley’s YouTube channel enough. I just selected this video from his library because it was interesting, but really any of his videos are great and full of tons of information. Need help drawing chibis? Drawing perspective? Want to learn photo-realism? Need help figuring out your comic story? Mark Crilley has you covered with over 300 “How to Draw” videos as of my writing this article!
How To Draw Hands Comic Book Style by Walter Ostlie
This technically is how NOT to draw hands, as Walter Ostlie gives us five tips on what not to do when drawing hands. It’s a great collection of tips on how to draw hands and what you should think about when drawing hands.
How to INSTANTLY Improve your Lineart by Dicentra Asterisk
In this YouTube tutorial, artist Dicentra Asterisk gives us exercises on how to improve our inking as well as explaining how and when to add line weight to your inking. This tutorial is easy to follow and I love the way Dicentra explains inking! It’s an easy watch too and is fairly short but will help you pack more punch into your line art!
Pose/Photo Reference Sources
It’s so nice to be able to search for a reference on the internet instead of having to look through magazines or books to find what you’re looking for! Let’s end this article with some of my favorite pose and photo reference sources that you can use for your art.
At this point, probably every artist on the planet knows about Senshistock, but just in case you haven’t heard of them, here they are! Senshistock is one of the best resources for pose photos on the internet. They have tons and tons of photos on their DeviantArt account, with everything from pinups to group poses of all sorts of genres. If you’re looking for inspiration, I recommend browsing their gallery!
Senshistock also has a website where you can draw a random pose image with a timer - great for improving your gesture drawing! http://senshistock.com/sketch/
PoseMuse is one of my favorite Tumblr blogs. Every pose is amazing and has guidelines so you can see the contours of the figure more easily, which makes it easier to understand the way the body works! They have a large collection of poses, including male, female, anthro, anime, and collections of poses.
Animal Photo Reference Search
This search engine allows you to search for tons of different animal reference photos by using a 3D model of an animal skull to find photos that match the current skull position. This resource works fairly well, but it’s not perfect. Especially if you’re looking for a really extreme angle. But it does work well enough to find some great reference of different animals!
Obviously, this list doesn’t even scratch the surface of the amazing how-to-draw resources out there on the internet and through books! But hopefully, it gives you some new resources to check out and use in your art. What’s your favorite art learning resource? Let me know in the comments!