Drawing books first appeared in Italy in the early years of the 17th century and quickly spread throughout Europe. Their innovative aspect was the use of prints as a means to compile various models that allowed pupils and students to learn to draw without the direct presence and control of a master. The human body has become the main subject of study, and to achieve the maximum degree of correctness, a method was developed that divided it into several different elements. This allowed students to move from particular to general, from simple to complex and from outline to volume.
Books for drawing began with parts of the face — the eyes, mouth, and nose — then passed on to the arms, legs, and feet, and ended with the study of complete figures. This new educational tool completely revolutionized the system of teaching drawing and became an important and influential resource capable of conveying the method and specific prototypes, as well as the special style of some artists.