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8 Great Drawing Books for Tweens

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There are a lot of great books for kids who want to learn how to draw. There are also a lot of great drawing books for adults. But, tweens seem to be left behind. They aren’t kids, but they aren’t adults. Tweens need their own drawing books to guide them towards becoming better artists. Luckily, there are some hidden gems out there that are great choices for tweens who want to learn how to draw. 

  1. The Drawing Lesson: A Graphic Novel That Teaches You How to Draw by Mark Crilley
  2. Draw With Jazza – Creating Characters: Fun and Easy Guide to Drawing Cartoons and Comics by Josiah Brooks
  3. Wreck This Journal: Now in Color by Kerri Smith
  4. How to Draw Cool Stuff: A Drawing Guide for Teachers and Students by Catherine V Holmes
  5. Drawing Is Magic: Discovering Yourself in a Sketchbook by John Hendrix
  6. Draw 3-D: A step-by-step guide to perspective drawing  by Doug DuBosque
  7. Botanical Line Drawing: Cactus & Succulent Edition: 200 Step-by-Step Illustrations by Peggy Dean
  8. The 15-Minute Artist: The Quick and Easy Way to Draw Almost Anything by Catherine V Holmes

The drawing books on this list will not only help tweens develop the skills they need to improve their drawing, they’re also fun and creative. Let’s dive into the great drawing books that can specifically help young adults get in touch with their artistic sides. 

1. The Drawing Lesson: A Graphic Novel That Teaches You How to Draw by Mark Crilley

the drawing lesson book

Find The Drawing Lesson here on Amazon

“The Drawing Lesson” is a really cool book. Instead of giving tweens a bunch of drawing exercises to work through, Crilley’s book lets them dig into a story and learn to draw as they’re immersed in it.

Tweens will follow the story of David, an aspiring artist who is learning how to draw with guidance from his mentor, Becky. As they move through the story, Becky teaches David a number of skills including shading, negative space, composition, and more. As David learns new drawing skills, the reader does too. 

The layout and design of this book is really captivating, making you feel like you’re reading a typical graphic novel. The author, Mark Crilley, has a lot of knowledge in the graphic novel space and has published a number of them himself. He also has a lot of great books about Manga for tweens that want to keep exploring his work. 

2. Draw With Jazza – Creating Characters: Fun and Easy Guide to Drawing Cartoons and Comics by Josiah Brooks

draw with jazza creating characters book

Find Draw with Jazza Creating Characters here on Amazon

There are a lot of kids books that teach character drawing. But, what I love about Brooks’ book is that it doesn’t just teach character drawing. Instead, it ups the maturity level and teaches about the complexities of character development. 

Brooks focuses heavily on the entire design process, helping readers figure out how to brainstorm, research, and experiment with their work. Instead of a step-by-step guide that leads to a generic outcome, Brooks really teaches readers how to think and create for themselves. 

  • What’s the personality of the character?
  • What type of world does the character live in?
  • What type of book or piece of artwork will the character be a part of?
  • What style will the character have?
  • How big will the project be?

This book is an amazing bridge for kids who are looking to take their drawing skills to the next level by bringing a higher degree of meaning and complexity to their work. Brooks does an amazing job of introducing readers to the key elements of storytelling that are required to bring a character to life within its own unique world. 

Brooks is not only a great teacher, but he’s also a great artist. This book is so fun to look at. With every lesson, Brooks adds fun cartoons and visual aids that make everything easier for readers to interact with. If you have a young adult who is fascinated with building characters, writing comics, and turning their art into stories, this book is the book for you.

Brooks also has an awesome YouTube channel that your tween can follow to get even more drawing tips. He has well over 1,000 videos up there, so make sure that your tween doesn’t get lost in a rabbit hole. But, at least they’ll be learning some great art skills in the process!

3. Wreck This Journal: Now in Color by Kerri Smith

wreck this journal book

Find Wreck This Journal here on Amazon

The teenage years are full of A LOT of emotions and expectations. Suddenly, a kid who was creative and carefree turns into a teenager who is worried about every little step and mistake. Self-consciousness becomes a big player, seemingly overnight. 

What I love about Smith’s book is that it can help tweens transition from their kid years to their teenage years while maintaining a sense of carefree creativity. 

  • Mistakes? Let’s celebrate them.
  • Mess? Let’s make more of it!
  • Color? Let’s be bold, loud, and proud!

Smith gives readers a mission. A mission to destroy the book through their art. Break the spine, color a full page, poke holes everywhere, drip paint in a fun design. Go wild and forget about the rules. 

Even though this isn’t a traditional drawing book, it teaches really important skills for young artists. As life gets more serious and rigid as tweens age, this book gives them permission to let go of expectations and simply have fun with art. 

This is so valuable! 

So many artists lose their spark in their teenage years. With tests, classes, and extracurriculars, everything becomes so serious. This book helps tweens keep art in the “fun” category instead of the “serious” category, which can be a game changer between them continuing to pursue art into their teenage years and giving it up entirely.

4. How to Draw Cool Stuff: A Drawing Guide for Teachers and Students by Catherine V Holmes

how to draw cool stuff

Find How to Draw Cool Stuff here on Amazon

This is a step-by-step drawing book, but it’s more advanced than the ones you normally see for children. In fact, it’s actually designed both for students and teachers, which means that it explores advanced topics that teachers would need to know for their own curriculums. That said, it does a great job of catering to students as well. Lessons are broken down into very manageable steps and concepts are explained in a way that make sense for all age levels.

As you can tell from the cover, Holmes’ has a lot of artistic talent that she’s ready to pass on to others. Such a neat collection of drawings, right? When Holmes’ claims that she’ll teach you how to draw “cool stuff,” she isn’t kidding. Tweens will learn how to draw 3D lettering, hands, animals, and so much more. Scroll through the table of contents to see all of the great lessons she offers. 

Thinking specifically about tweens, Holmes has a really engaging style that will keep readers entertained. Her tutorials are challenging, but not so challenging that they’re inaccessible for tween artists. Overall, Holmes does an amazing job of teaching art skills to a wide range of ages.

“How to Draw Cool Stuff” is actually a series of books, so there are more than enough drawing tutorials to keep your tween busy for a while.

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5. Drawing Is Magic: Discovering Yourself in a Sketchbook by John Hendrix

drawing is magic book

Find Drawing is Magic here on Amazon

As we grow as artists, it can be hard to find a unique voice and style. Especially in those tween years when one’s entire identity seems so fluid and up in the air, finding an art identity seems like a big task. During my tween years, I could barely figure out what clothes I should wear, let alone figure out my artistic style.

Hendrix’s book is all about figuring out who you are as an artist. He wants artists to forget about building sketchbooks as perfect portfolios and, instead, treat them as playgrounds where creativity can flourish. Hendrix wants artists to use his book as a way to make mistakes, take chances, and really discover a unique voice and style. 

Similar to “Wreck This Journal,” Hendrix’s book is designed as a sketchbook for readers to use as their own creative playgrounds. But, this doesn’t mean that the pages are blank by any means. Hendrix has a really fun style and he has filled this sketchbook with great designs. If you need proof that his techniques for finding one’s artistic voice and style work, his book is it. 

This self-discovery work can be really important for young artists who are still trying to find themselves. Hendrix’s book is a really fun way to explore one’s artistic identity while also working on drawing skills. 

6. Draw 3-D: A step-by-step guide to perspective drawing by Doug DuBosque

draw 3-D book

Find Draw 3-D here on Amazon

Drawing in perspective and 3D can be challenging for artists of all ages, let alone young artists. It’s such a key skill to master though. It’s one of those things that seems to skyrocket one’s drawing abilities to the next level. 

Instead of making those hand tracings that would eventually turn into Thanksgiving turkeys, we’re drawing pictures of hands that look realistic and seem to pop off the page. That’s a big deal.

If your tween can advance their perspective and 3D drawing skills, their confidence in their drawing abilities will grow tremendously. Mine sure did. This confidence can be the difference between them sticking with drawing into their teenage years or deciding it’s too hard and moving on to other things. Luckily, DuBosque makes it fun.

DuBosque’s book on #D drawing and perspective is written for kids. That doesn’t mean he dumbs it down though. DuBosque explains all of the concepts that artists need to know, but does so in an accessible way. Reading through his explanations and lessons, it’s clear that DuBosque has a talent for explaining tricky concepts in a way that makes sense to kids. 

Following the lessons in this book, tweens will start off with drawing simple objects in perspective, but will soon move on to more fun objects like cars, buildings, and even words. I HIGHLY recommend this book as a great resource for tweens who want to take their drawing skills to the next level by learning 3D drawing and perspective. 

7. Botanical Line Drawing: Cactus & Succulent Edition: 200 Step-by-Step Illustrations by Peggy Dean

botanical line drawing book

Find Botanical Line Drawing here on Amazon

I’ve been a fan of Peggy Dean for a long time now. Her art is just so beautifully simple and relaxing to look at. Her teaching style is simple and relaxing as well. Peggy’s art is a really great lesson about the fact that everything doesn’t have to be super complicated. 

Just because your tween is progressing to more advanced skills doesn’t mean that they need to make everything super detailed and elaborate. Sometimes it’s just about doing something different and new. 

In addition to her books, Peggy has a great series of classes on Skillshare. I absolutely LOVE Skillshare and it can be a great way to keep your tween engaged with their art.

8. The 15-Minute Artist: The Quick and Easy Way to Draw Almost Anything by Catherine V Holmes

the 15-minute artist book

Find The 15-Minute Artist here on Amazon

Sometimes, it’s nice to have a quick win. Instead of struggling to master a huge drawing skill, there are times when we all want to sit down for a few minutes and draw something great. This can be especially true for tweens who may be impatient to see progress towards their drawing goals. 

You’ll notice that Catherine Holmes is making a second appearance on this list. I really like her work, especially as it relates to tweens. I just love how her teaching style and tone fits in with that audience. Like her “How to Draw Cool Stuff” series, Holmes gives you A LOT to work with in this book.

As the name of the book implies, Holmes has broken everything down into simple steps that are quick and easy to master. She gives readers step-by-step tutorials on how to draw a wide variety of objects, even a taco. 

What’s especially great about this book is that Holmes gives readers tips for speeding up their drawing in general. She gives some very actionable tips about how to look at the world around us in order to understand it and draw it more quickly. Really good stuff. 

If your tween needs the confidence boost that a quick art win can give them, this is the book you’ll want to choose. It’s also a great book for any tween with a short attention span that struggles to work on any given skill for a long period of time. 

It might seem like there aren’t a lot of drawing books out there that are geared towards the tween market. But, a little searching will bring up some gems that can be great at boosting a young adult’s confidence and improving their art skills. Whether they’re interested in traditional drawing, comics, character development, or realism, there are some great books that are accessible to this age level. Hopefully these 8 books can give you some fun ideas about how to help your tween progress on their art journey!

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