How to Draw Bookshelves

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Bookshelves make an excellent still life study drawing. Learn how to draw bookshelves with this free video tutorial presented by a professional artist.

Part of the Video Series: Lessons in Drawing
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Video Transcript

Hi, I'm Dori DeCamillis from Red Dog Gallery. We're going to learn how to draw bookshelves. So, I've drawn a square. It's going to be the basic outline of our bookshelf. I'm going to draw the little lip of the top of it here. And, the top of it is going to be, we're going to see it from a slight angle, looking down on it. We'll give it a little arch right here, make it more interesting. We'll give the front some volume, that I'm going to make my shelves. The front of the shelves just come across as a band. They don't necessarily have to be equidistant. You could have smaller room between the shelves, or larger. I'm going to erase that line. Now, I'm going to have, the back of it needs to line up with this corner here. And, this line here needs to line up with this line up here, it needs to be parallel. This one is horizontal. So, as I draw more of these, there's going to be slightly more of these lower shelves showing, because I'm looking down on them, and I'm not looking as down on them as this, as I am on those. So, I'm going to make this, those just slightly wider there. That, a little darker. Now, I can put some shadows, if my light is coming from the left side of my page, the part that I'm drawing right now is going to be completely in shadow. We're going to make that darker. And, I'm going to draw a lighter shadow coming onto the back of the bookshelf, and onto the shelf. It is casting, it's not casting the shadow, it's just in shadow. This side of the bookshelf is also going to be in shadow. Okay. And then, if I want to draw books, there's a few ways I can do it. I can draw a block of books coming across like this. This is just the front of them. I'm going to erase the line behind it, so they don't look see-through. I'm going to draw lines to separate the books, and a little bit of the tops. And, you're going to see just a little bit. We don't want a whole lot of this, but we're going to have a little bit of the tops, and the back of this book coming back at the same angle as this. I can draw books on their side. We can draw those stacked. Again, you're going to see a little bit of the top, and a little bit of sides. And, I can draw books standing up. You can put a bookend over here if you want, to stand it up. And, just be careful, if you do a diagonal book, that you're getting your angle straight. You don't want too much of the side of it showing. I'll put a few little shadows that the books are casting. This side of the books are going to be in shadow. And then, of course, there's going to be a cast shadow underneath the bookshelf. And, that is how you draw a bookshelf.

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