Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Foundations in Comic Book Art by John Paul Lowe

book cover
Foundations in Comic Book Art
by John Paul Lowe

ISBN-13: 9780770436964
Paperback: 160 pages
Publisher: Watson-Guptill
Released: August 12, 2014

Source: Review copy from the publisher.

Book Description, Modified from Back Cover:
Artists seeking a way to break into the exciting world of sequential art first need to master the tools, techniques, and habits used by their favorite pencillers, inkers, and digital artists for creating dynamic, exciting comic artwork.

In Foundations for Comic Book Art, the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) enlists one of its top instructors, John Paul Lowe, to provide aspiring comic book makers with a thorough primer for creative comics. This book features must-know concepts like contour drawing, mastering perspective, using photo-references, and adding digital patterns. Examples from the works of SCAD faculty, alumni, and students are paired with Lowe’s easy-to-follow, step-by-step lessons and exercises for readers, demonstrating the vital processes all would-be sequential artists have to know.

My Review:
Foundations in Comic Book Art contains concise, easy-to-follow information on the principles of drawing for those interested in sequential art.

Throughout the book, he gave interesting exercises for the reader to do to improve their drawing. The author talked about the basic materials needed to start. He explained freehand drawing, contour lines, perspectives, and figure drawing. He explained some information specific to laying out sequential art and the materials needed to thumbnail, pencil, and ink the images. There were detailed sections on using pen nibs and brushes to ink and basic and advanced inking techniques. There was also a section on using Photoshop to create grids and to add patterns to scanned-in artwork. The illustrations did an excellent job of showing what the author explained in the text.

So it's a very informative and useful book. This book is probably best for a beginner artist interested in drawing comics and the artist who doesn't know the technical processes involved in drawing comics. However, this book didn't go into what it's really like to be involved in comics as an artist or how to best tell a story using the art (since the art carries half the storytelling load in comics). It's also pretty light on using digital tools to make comics. But it does well at what it set out to do.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.

Monday, August 18, 2014

The Great New Orleans Kidnapping Case by Michael A. Ross

This is another review done as a member of Amazon Vine, so I'm posting a description of the book with a direct link to my review on Amazon.

book cover
The Great New Orleans Kidnapping Case
by Michael A. Ross

ISBN-13: 9780199778805
Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Released: October 14, 2014

Book Description, Modified from Back Cover:
In June 1870, the residents of the city of New Orleans were already on edge when two African American women kidnapped seventeen-month-old Mollie Digby from in front of her New Orleans home. It was the height of Radical Reconstruction, and the old racial order had been turned upside down: black men now voted, held office, sat on juries, and served as policemen.

In The Great New Orleans Kidnapping Case, Michael Ross offers the first full account of this event that electrified the South at one of the most critical moments in the history of American race relations. Tracing the crime from the moment it was committed through the highly publicized investigation and sensationalized trial that followed, Ross paints a vivid picture of the Reconstruction-era South and the complexities and possibilities that faced the newly integrated society.

My Review: Link to my review on Amazon.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Words for Pictures by Brian Michael Bendis

book cover
Words for Pictures
by Brian Michael Bendis

ISBN-13: 978-0770434359
Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: Watson-Guptill
Released: July 22, 2014

Source: Review copy from the publisher through Blogging for Books.

Book Description, Modified from Book Cover:
Best-selling Marvel Comics writer Brian Michael Bendis reveals the comic book writing secrets behind his work on The Avengers, Ultimate Spider-Man, All-New X-Men, and more.

Bendis guides aspiring creators through each step of the comics-making process—from idea to script to finished sequential art—for comics like Ultimate Spider-Man. Along the way, tips and insights from other working writers, artists, and editors provide a rare, extensive look behind the creative curtain of the comics industry. With script samples, a glossary of must-know business terms for writers, and interactive comics-writing exercises, Words for Pictures provides the complete toolbox needed to jump start the next comics-writing success story.

My Review:
Words for Pictures is a book about breaking into and working for the commercial comic industry. The author described what it's like to work professionally as a writer who must work with an editor, artist, letterer, etc. The book was filled with interviews with various editors, artists, and writers who described how to best work together and about business aspects that you should know. The book was also packed with comic art by the various people who were interviewed. If your goal is to write for Marvel or Dark Horse Comics, and you want to know what to do to get the job, what will happen after you do, and how to keep getting jobs, then this book will certainly help you a lot.

On the other hand, I had expected a little more information about handling the challenges of writing for a graphic novel or serial-comic format (compared to writing text-only stories that contain a complete story within one "book"). I also would have been interested in more information about producing web comics, independent comics, and graphic novels. He did talk some about these topics, but he mainly focused on working for comic book publishers. This is fine, but perhaps a more accurate subtitle would be "the business of writing comics."

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.