Sketching Practice: How To Draw Book Review

April 5, 2015 Experiments

As a self gift a few months ago, I bought myself two books that I had been eyeing on Amazon for a while.  They are from a new series by Scott Robertson entitled How To Draw and How To Render, and I must say that these are the best books for Industrial Design Sketching that I have bought yet.


Over the last couple years during grad school, I purchased a number (over 10 now!) of drawing books that show product sketching and rendering techniques.  Some were better than others, but I can’t really say that any of them helped me get better at drawing. However, after stepping through each section of the How to Draw and How to Render books, I can definitely say that my drawing and rendering skills have improved.

To start, the books are laid out very well. The beginning of How to Draw focuses on explaining and demonstrating the principles of drawing in perspective, with step-by-step instructions and illustrations showing how to create the grids and draw precisely using them.  They even have a section on drawing materials, including actual recommendations on brands of good pens and markers to use. The rest of the book focuses on the finer points and provides solid introduction into environment and vehicle sketching.

How to Render does a great job in the initial sections of showing detailed instructions for casting shadows and explaining the different sources of light and reflection that will really make your drawings appear more realistic.  The last half of the book provides tons of photograph reference for different lighting and material situations, and provides solid tips on how to achieve them in a drawing.  I’ll be honest and admit that I have not yet made it all of the way through this book. Some of the topics are pretty complex, but I’m certain that as I improve, I’ll be able to apply the techniques presented.

The key feature that these books provide, however, is the attached video content.  The books come with a website link and password to upwards of 30-40 videos for each! Each video is nearly as good as a personalized drawing tutorial, as you can stop, start, re-wind, fast-forward to your hearts content to get as much information as you can out of them.  They important concepts at the beginning of each book each have their own video, and then they give you a bunch of videos showing drawing sessions of 2 hours or so compressed down so they are watchable.  All of the videos are narrated by Scott or his partner, Thomas Bertling, and they do a great job of describing each step and why they are doing it.

So, in closing, I’d like to say that I highly recommend anyone these books to anyone looking to improve their ID drawing skills.  With the included video links, they are by far the best investment I’ve made to improve my sketching skills.  Below are some examples of sketches I did while going through the books:

Basic sketching demos on perspective drawing:

  • Drawing stuff on a box… classic.

Here are some sci-fi type drawings of landscapes and vehicles:

  • Space landscape

Some more traditional vehicle drawings:

  • Car sketch

And finally some product drawings:

  • Mouse

Thanks for reading!

This article has 2 comments


      Hi Harpreet! How to Draw has a section on supplies with specific brand/model recommendations for pens, markers, etc. From these recommendations, I found a set of pens that I like including:

      Fine – Pilot Hi-Tec C Pen:
      Medium – Jimnie Zebra Pen:
      Thick – Tombow N-25 Marker:
      Color – Prismacolor Markers:

      I also have a Wacom tablet, but haven’t had a chance to do any sketching with it since getting the Scott Robertson books. I definitely plan on doing more with this, however, and will write a post when I do! Thanks for your interest!

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