Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Natural Way to Draw” as Want to Read:
The Natural Way to Draw
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Natural Way to Draw

3.89  ·  Rating Details ·  25,005 Ratings  ·  45 Reviews
Great for the beginner and the expert, this book offers readers exercises to improve their work.
Paperback, 240 pages
Published February 1st 1990 by Mariner Books (first published 1941)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Natural Way to Draw, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Natural Way to Draw

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Aug 20, 2012 Sandy rated it really liked it
In light of recent reviews, I feel compelled to advocate it. I've taught university life drawing for over 16 years. If you follow the exercises and do as many as required, your drawings WILL improve immensely. While I agree it is in complete opposition to hard edged, refined type drawings--it is so only as a means. When you skip Nicolaides' experiential cohesive gestures, mass drawings and cross contours and straight through to exacting control, your drawings will remain stiff, disconnected and ...more
Ahmed Khaled
Sep 09, 2011 Ahmed Khaled rated it did not like it
I normally do not review art books, as there are others who do better than that beside me, but in this book, Nicolaides is the exact archetype of the nonsensical art educator: Teaching you to draw without any basis of actual observation.
To give you a good idea, Nicolaides asks you to do three main types of exercises, which become harder with time, they are: Gesture, Blind Contour, And his "Mass exercises"; Problem is: First of all, Gesture drawing is intended for artists to use to relieve the st
Dec 06, 2007 Ruth rated it it was amazing
Shelves: art
Simply the bible for life drawing.

Sep 22, 2011 Sandy rated it it was amazing
This is the best book on drawing that I own or have read. It teaches one to see. The blind contour drawing method was surprisingly helpful. If you check out one drawing book this year, this should be the one.

The instruction is beautifully written and the student drawings included are helpful and inspiring. People complain about the time suggestions ranging from 2 minutes to 8 hours. But really, do you think you are going to be the best you can be without spending the time?
Terri Lynn
I read this book back in 1978 and reread it over and over. Kimon Nicolaides was a fantastic teacher of art who believed that the way to learn to draw was to learn to observe details and then practice drawing constantly. He put it like this- "There is only one right way to draw and that is a perfectly natural way. It has nothing to do with artifice or technique. It has nothing to do with aesthetics or conception. It has only to do with the act of correct observation and by that I mean a physical ...more
Dec 18, 2014 M0rningstar rated it did not like it
The written parts of this books are long-winded and only marginally useful. The example images are poorly reproduced and fail to illuminate the textual content. This book's biggest selling point is the pedantic "working plans", which basically consist of "Monday: do gestures for eight hours; Tuesday: do gestures for eight hours; Wednesday: draw cubes for eight hours..." (you get the idea.)

One can achieve the same effect (or better) and save some money by just committing solidly to drawing for a
Aug 28, 2011 Alex rated it liked it
Shelves: visual-art
There are a dizzying number of methods for drawing practice in this book, which make the author seem awsome and his book very influencial.

However, I wonder whether so many methods are really so "natural", and moreover, whether they are really necessary to learn drawing. Some students may want to perfect in, say, proportion, form modeling, or edge, etc., each of which usually takes a long time; by busily shifting from methods to methods, however, they may not have enough time and concentration f
Erin Panjer
Jul 29, 2011 Erin Panjer rated it it was amazing
This book details how to go about thinking, understanding the world as an artist. Along with useful exercises, there is a wondrous amount of good advice, I see this book as a necessary stepping stone in the road of expression.
Nov 30, 2007 Erika rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Figure Drawing Students
Shelves: art
Nice pictues of how other artists have approached the human form. The author also includes many drawing excercises along with examples of student drawings.
Rob Dhillon
Jun 11, 2015 Rob Dhillon rated it it was amazing
I learned how to see ... to really see. This book helped in all sorts of ways to do quality surgery with excellent results.
Sep 16, 2012 Sarah is currently reading it
One of the greatest artists i know.. has recommended this book.. and i feel excited to start reading and practicing :)
Maram A. alsokry
Amazing highly recommended everyone !
Apr 13, 2010 Susan rated it really liked it
a must for artist
Jun 26, 2014 Michelle rated it it was amazing
Shelves: art-instruction
I have been drawing since I can remember, and I have been seriously studying art for the last five plus years. I have spent a lot of time focused on the crisp, controlled line and form, carefully trying to copy without seeing. I avoided books like this like the plague because I could never "wrap my brain around that abstract thinking gobbledygook."

But recently, I realized that I wasn't progressing. My drawings were lacking something important. That was when I was ready to break away from stereot
Nero Grimes
May 30, 2015 Nero Grimes rated it it was amazing
Brilliant, but not for beginners.

"Drawing depends on seeing. Seeing depends on knowing. Knowing comes form a constant effort to encompass reality with all of your senses, all that is you. You are never to be concerned with appearances to an extent which prevents reality of content. It is necessary to rid yourself of the tyranny of the object as it appears. The quality of absoluteness, the note of authority, that the artist depends upon a more complete understanding than the eyes alone can give.
Terrance Robinson
Nov 07, 2014 Terrance Robinson rated it it was amazing
I have read The Natural Way to Draw; it was a solid read for beginners as well as professionals that wise to review and use instructions of how to perfect various drawing techniques and skills. It is mostly black and white illustrations with straightforward explanations and procedures; the textbook is frequently used by many colleges and universities teaching drawing courses such as Beginning Drawing to Advance Life Drawing.
Clay Olmstead
Aug 11, 2015 Clay Olmstead rated it it was amazing
Shelves: art, technical
Possibly the best book ever written on learning to draw. It's simple: here is an exercise that will get you started; now draw for three hours, then come back for another exercise. When you're done, you have a firm foundation to go figure out how you want to draw. If that method of learning doesn't excite you, then you might want to learn knitting or something else instead.
Mar 18, 2013 Ellen rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone interested in drawing
I have bought this book twice. I can't remember where or why I first bought it but the second time was when I was teaching art. It is unlike any other book about drawing. When I let myself go and follow the instructions it's just plain fun and the result is great art.
Heather Gayton
Apr 29, 2013 Heather Gayton rated it it was amazing
I have had this book for years. I really is the best book you could use to learn to draw life. Despite being out of life drawing classes, I continue to turn to this book. It's a great resource to reference, it's not a sit-down read.
Apr 23, 2015 surfurbian rated it really liked it
This text was used as a loose framework for my college level drawing course. I say loose because we did use many of the exercises but we did not follow the exact progression, time requirements, or employ every exercise.

I found it an extremely effective method to teach observation and drawing. I have had the chance to be a part of other courses taught using other methods and find this one superior. I am now reading this text again after 30 years since my first reading. In light of my education an
Andrew Klem
Jan 13, 2014 Andrew Klem rated it it was amazing
This is the best book on drawing that has ever been written, and it's the only one I still own. Every time I see a copy at a used bookstore, I buy it and give it to a friend.
Sep 18, 2012 Cosmin is currently reading it
Shelves: drawing
Vai cat poate sa imi placa, dintre tot ce am citit si vazut abordarea asta mi se pare cea mai potrivita pentru mine
Jan 26, 2015 Sharon rated it it was amazing
I used this as a basic text for years of Drawing classes I taught at the Springfield Art Museum!
Abigail (42stitches)
Aug 17, 2008 Abigail (42stitches) rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arts-crafts
Great exercises for skill building or just practice. A book I ought to reread more often.
Jul 29, 2012 Pili rated it it was amazing
This is for me the best book of drawing.
Jul 01, 2014 Mii rated it it was amazing
This book was a great read!
Apr 19, 2012 Jamey added it
drawing books are useless
Jacob Russell
Feb 06, 2015 Jacob Russell rated it it was amazing
Not a stand alone book, but the essential compliment to books with a more traditional approach to figure drawing, with their concentration on anatomy, proportions, representation. I can't think of a better way to find one's way to a more personal drawing style, to escape the many imitative traps of representational methods.

With Rush, Peck and Robert Beverly Hale, Nicolaides makes my figure drawing library complete.
Luis Fernando
Jun 03, 2016 Luis Fernando rated it it was amazing
This book is very great ..... it is one that I liked most ..
Feb 04, 2016 Robert added it
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Drawing Dynamic Hands
  • Anatomy for the Artist
  • Drawing Lessons from the Great Masters: 100 Great Drawings Analyzed, Figure Drawing Fundamentals Defined
  • Drawing the Head and Figure
  • Zen of Seeing: Seeing/Drawing as Meditation
  • The Artist's Complete Guide to Facial Expression
  • Drawing on the Artist Within
  • Figure Drawing for All It's Worth (How to draw and paint)
  • The Artist's Complete Guide to Figure Drawing: A Contemporary Master Reveals the Secrets of Drawing the Human Form
  • The Practice and Science of Drawing
  • Anatomy for the Artist
  • Classical Drawing Atelier: A Contemporary Guide to Traditional Studio Practice
  • Atlas of Human Anatomy for the Artist
  • Drawing Realistic Textures in Pencil
  • Keys to Drawing
  • The Creative License: Giving Yourself Permission to Be The Artist You Truly Are
  • Bridgman's Complete Guide to Drawing From Life: Over 1,000 Illustrations
  • The Story of Painting

Share This Book

“Technique should be taught, not as an end in itself, but as something
related to individual expression, as a means toward an end. One cannot
separate technique from expression. There is only expression.”
“The first function of an art student is to observe, to study nature.” 3 likes
More quotes…