Books that Teach Body Illustration Without Nudity


One of the things I have learned about drawing people is that it takes practice.  If you did not attend art school and you are not good at it, then simply start by finding a teachable image and copy it over and over again.  Then, when you are able to create it on your own with ease, try creating other poses.  

Here are some books that have helped me to improve illustrating different types of bodies, in different positions, and under different techniques.  One of the best things about these books is that as you flip through them, you will not be shocked by sudden nudity because if you are illustrating books for children, you are not drawing nude people. Plus, if you are a Christian who knows your Bible, then you know that the body is supposed to be holy—as in women’s modesty—rather than put on display.

The Big Book of Cartooning by Bruce Blitz

This book will help you to make cartoon characters with movement and expression.  It even has a few realistic face examples, but for the most part, you will learn a lot about creating exaggerated, animated characters and objects.  Even if you like to create realistic characters, there are tips you can use in this book.

Freehand Figure Drawing for Illustrators: Mastering the Art of Drawing from Memory by David H. Ross

This is a bare bones, serious, figure-drawing book (without getting personal) with many examples of the body in action.  This book also explains how to create movement in a figure that is merely standing.  This book does not have examples of children, but it was written by an animator of Marvel Comics so you will get great tips.  In order to get the most out of this book, you will need to understand how to make 3-D shapes.

How to Draw Cartoons by Brian Platt

If you haven’t moved beyond stick figures, try this book.  This is a super easy, step-by-step instructional book about how to add silly, little features to loosely-created, less-detailed, cartoony figures.

Creating Characters with Personality by Tom Bancroft

This book has all sorts of examples about the different aspects of creating a character and developing the body. The author demonstrates the difference between realistic characters and exaggerated characters to make the point that exaggerating the character is more interesting.  This book also helps you to think about the personality of the character that you are trying to portray.  This book makes figure-drawing fun and you can adapt your style—if it is more realistic—instead of feeling like you have to create cartoonish figures.

YouTube or Udemy

YouTube is obviously not a book, but it is completely free and has many artists who can help you to draw your characters better.  Just go to Google and search for ”YouTube children’s book illustrators.”  Or you can try Udemy online classes.  According to the ratings, The Secrets of Drawing by Matthew Fussell is supposed to be a good video and e-book course.

I have learned that illustrators have all different types of styles.  Just because a person can create a flawless rendition of a realistic body from head to toe, does not mean that everyone should do the same thing.  

Just look at these book illustrations:

What’s your illustration style? Figuratively speaking.


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