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20 Design Books: Learn Sketching and Typography

Whether you’re a professional designer, recreational type-nerd or drawing geek. Typography and Sketching are one of design’s most delightful frontiers, an odd medley of timeless traditions and timely evolution in the face of technological progress.

When it comes to typography and sketching books, a lot of emphasis is put on the cover, naturally. But there are thousands upon thousands of books out there with insides just as beautiful as the outside.
So it was a tough job but we've scoured the whole web to bring you 20 best books on typography and sketching. Which is your favorite?


Graphic: Inside the Sketchbooks of the World's Great Graphic Designers

In this thick 352-page paperback, 110 artists and designers are featured. It features notes, sketches, and complete illustrations. The editions are priced differently, but should contain the same content. On Amazon UK, Thames & Hudson's edition is much cheaper. (Price: $38)

Sketching The Basics

Sketching The Basics can be seen as the prequel to Sketching as it is more targeted at the novice designer. Sketching The Basics explains the essential techniques and effects more in detail, taking the reader by the hand and providing a step-by-step guide through all the various aspects of drawing that novice designers come up against. (Price: £21)

Sketchbooks: The Hidden Art of Designers, Illustrators and Creatives

Sketchbooks provides a revealing glimpse into the inner workings and private inspiration of creatives from the world of advertising, design, graphic design, fashion design, art, street art, and illustration. The material is complemented by interviews where artists explain how they use their sketchbooks and how these relate to finished works. (Price: $14.99)

Freehand: Sketching Tips and Tricks Drawn from Art

Freehand is a book of sketching tips and techniques that invite you to experiment with them. There are more than a hundred ideas and techniques featured by different artists. There are doodles, collages, intricate pieces, realistic ones, illustrations and many more. (Price: $11.98)

Sketch Your World

This book is focused on outdoor sketching, location sketching or even urban sketching as it's becoming popularly known.
There are 176 pages with 12 chapters. Each chapter has several topics with each around two pages. It covers topics such as how to hone observation skills, sketch moving subjects, and convey a sense of atmosphere. This book is essentially a bundle of tips really, with some techniques mentioned but not really technical. So it's an easy breezy read. (Price: $19.07)

Mastering Sketching: A Complete Course in 40 Lessons

Mastering Sketching offers 40 carefully planned lessons complete with projects devised to help artists put theory into practice. This is not a techniques book on how to sketch, despite what the book title suggest. The 40 lessons are actually sketching tips based on subjects that can be drawn, such as portraits, landscapes, and drawing topics such as composition, art materials, artistic styles. (Price: $15.14)

Artist's Journal Workshop: Creating Your Life in Words and Pictures

Since this book is about journalism, the examples are mostly about illustrating what you see. It can be drawing people, places, animals or food. It's very inspiring to check out all the artists' work, even the seemingly mundane stuff look interesting when illustrated. It features 27 international artists who share pages and advice from their own art journals. This is the perfect opportunity for you to begin realizing your artistic potential - one page at a time (Price: $19.08)

Sketching from the Imagination

In Sketching from the Imagination, 50 talented traditional and digital artists have been chosen to share their sketchbook works, from doodled concept sketches to fully rendered drawings.
The sketches compiled are all drawn from imagination. There are scenes of fantasy, character and creature designs, some location art, sometimes whimsical drawings, loose sketches, detailed sketches, and other amazing line drawings. (Price: $18.96)

Drawn In

There are 44 artists featured in this book. Each comes with a profile, an interview and pages from their sketchbooks. Artists use these journals to document their daily lives, produce their initial ideas for bigger projects, and practice their skills. Using a variety of media from paint to pencil to collage, these pages can become works of art themselves. (Price: $18.06)

The Art of Urban Sketching

The Art of Urban Sketching is both a comprehensive guide and a showcase of location drawings by artists around the world who draw the cities where they live and travel. This beautiful, 320-page volume explains urban sketching within the context of a long historical tradition and how it is being practiced today.
There are the cartoon stuff, superhero comics style, amazing pencil and pen hatching, shading, use of black, drawing on toned paper and more. (Price: $18.98)


Thinking with Type

What type of font to use? How big? How should those letters, words, and paragraphs be aligned, spaced, ordered, shaped, and otherwise manipulated? Thinking with type provides clear and concise guidance for anyone learning or brushing up on their typographic skills. (Price: $19.76)

Just My Type

Just My Type is a nonfiction book by Simon Garfield, a British journalist and non-fiction author. The book touches on typography in our daily lives, specifically why people dislike Comic Sans, Papyrus, and Trajan Capitals; the overwhelming European popularity of Helvetica; and how a font can make a person seem such a way, such as masculine, feminine, American, British, German, or Jewish. (Price: $11.12)

The Anatomy of Type

The Anatomy of Type explores one hundred traditional and modern typefaces in loving detail, with a full spread devoted to each entry. The full character set from each typeface is shown, and the best letters for identification are enlarged and annotated, revealing key features, anatomical details, and the finer, often-overlooked elements of type design. (Price: $20.05)

Type Matters!

What does all the confusing terminology about ink traps, letter spacing, and visual centering mean, and what are the rules for good typography? Type Matters! is a book of tips for everyday use, for all users of typography, from students and professionals to anyone who does any layout design on a computer. (Price: $22.25)

Creative Lettering

16 artists are featured in this book, including calligraphers, painters, collagists, card makers, fiber artists, and graphic designers. They show their personal perspectives on lettering, their favorite tools, how they use them. (Price: $14.46)

Type: A Visual History of Typefaces and Graphic Styles

This book offers a novel overview of typeface design, exploring the most beautiful and remarkable examples of font catalogs from the history of publishing, with a special emphasis on the period from the mid-19th century to the mid-20th century, when color catalogs were at their height. (Price: $134.97)

An Essay on Typography

An Essay on Typography was first published in 1931, instantly recognized as a classic, and has long been unavailable. It's a must-have book for anyone interested in the art of letter forms and the presentation of graphic information. This manifesto, however, is not only about letters — their form, fit, and function.
While the book has been out of print and fairly hard to find for a number of years, you can get your hands on a used copy with some sifting around the web or your local (design-savvy) bookstore. (Price: $41.97)

Scripts: Elegant Lettering from Design's Golden Age

This is a great typography book culled from advertising, street signage, type-specimen books, wedding invitations, restaurant menus and personal letters from the 19th to the mid-20th century. Ranging from the classic to the quirky, the 350 stunning images are unified by a common thread - All the typefaces featured are derived from handwriting or symbolic of the handwritten form, and the letters in each touch each other. (Price: $22.68)

Draw Your Own Alphabets

Draw Your Own Alphabets is a fun, hands-on workbook that teaches how to create funky hand-lettered fonts sure to jump off the page, poster, or screen. Presenting thirty complete alphabets, custom-drawn in a variety of styles by various young designers and illustrators. (Price: $15.87)

The Elements of Typographic Style

TypeFoundry‘s Jonathan Hoefler and Tobias Frere-Jones have called it “the finest book ever written about typography.” It combine the practical, theoretical, and historical, this edition is completely updated, with a thorough revision and updating of the longest chapter, “Prowling the Specimen Books,” and many other small but important updates based on things that are continually changing in the field. (Price: $22.19)

Do you know of any other great sketching or typography books which we might have missed? Please share it in the comment.

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  6. Wow! It's so amazing! I think I will find a buy some of them to learn sketch.
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  7. Alot of blogs I see these days don't really provide anything that I'm interested in, but I'm most definately interested in this one. Just thought that I would post and let you know. Nice! thank you so much! Thank you for sharing.


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