I need to be a better illustrator!
March 5, 2010 8:24 AM   Subscribe

Help me become a better (comic book style) artist so I can illustrate my own scripts. I need to become better at sketching, primarily. The human figure mainly, but also backgrounds and layouts. I don't have $$ for an extensive course, so I'm looking primarily for books and online tutorials. (I also need to find artists to illustrate scripts I don't have time to do myself, if anyone's interested.) Thanks.
posted by Shane to Media & Arts (10 answers total) 28 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: This is my favorite book about how to draw the human figure. It's cheap too. The style in the book is realism, but you can translate it to comic style easily buy having the bodies in your script in motion and using comic book inking for outlining.

Speaking of inking, I found this but have never personally used it.

To me, comic book drawings in the sketch phase are pretty realistic. I think it's the inking that really gives the "comic book style".
posted by WeekendJen at 8:41 AM on March 5, 2010

Best answer: I loved the earlier editions of How to Draw And Sell Comics, but that was more about learning the particular materials and techniques of comics production.

Atlas of Human Anatomy for the Artist is my go-to reference for anatomy.

Burne Hogarth books like Dynamic Figure Drawing are incredibly influential.
posted by He Is Only The Imposter at 8:52 AM on March 5, 2010

Best answer: One of the absolute best cartooning "tutorial" style books I've found is Cartooning: Philosophy and Practice by Ivan Brunetti. It's basically his syllabus and course assignments for a cartooning class he teaches. The thing I love about it is that it really has very little to do with how "good" of an comic artist you are. He breaks cartooning down to its bare roots, and really challenges the way you look at sequential art. Because it's his class materials there are assignments and exercises you can complete at your own pace. You have to buy Comic Art Annual #9 to get it, but it's definitely worth it.
posted by a.steele at 8:58 AM on March 5, 2010 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks, WeekendJen (and He)...

"Realistic style" is fine. Comic book art isn't necessarily "comic-y", although the small panel sizes and the emphasis on storytelling often necessitate a certain simplified style that is particular to "sequential art".
posted by Shane at 9:02 AM on March 5, 2010

Best answer: Not sure what your style is, but as a kid, I loved How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way. It's a good basic reference, and a more universally useful book than the title suggests.
posted by Tooty McTootsalot at 9:05 AM on March 5, 2010

Best answer: Scott McCloud's Understanding Comics and any and all of Will Eisner's instructional books, most especially Comics and Sequential Art. It doesn't matter if your rendering's rudimentary if the pictures tell your story clearly, and these are great for learning comic storytelling.
posted by jtron at 10:21 AM on March 5, 2010

Best answer: Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain is a great classic learn-to-sketch book. It covers the exercises that you would do if you took Drawing 101 in an art department. (A similar book is Keys to Drawing by Bert Dodson. The explanations in Right Side of the Brain are a little more on the '70s "you can do it" new-agey side, and the explanations in Keys are a little more old school, less pep-talky, if I recall correctly, but both are solid books.) If you've never taken a course of that type, I would recommend starting with these and then transitioning over to comics, to get a grounding in the foundational skills.
posted by LobsterMitten at 10:34 AM on March 5, 2010

Best answer: When I was more seriously into sketching, I found several places nearby that held model/life sketching nights. You bring your kit and $5 or $10 for the session. Usually they have nude models on one night and clothed models on the other, so you can choose if you have a preference.

All the resources everyone has offered are awesome, but obviously the best way to get better at drawing is to draw a lot! Drawing from life will teach you so much more than drawing from pictures/TV/books/etc.
posted by ErikaB at 11:49 AM on March 5, 2010

Best answer: We just had a thread recommending art anatomy books.
posted by Zed at 1:59 PM on March 5, 2010

Best answer: I work in a comic shop, and our most popular how-to books are the DC Guides to...

A new one that seems right up your alley is Drawing Words & Writing Pictures by Jessica Abel & Matt Madden. Some local folks have actually gotten together a little group to go through the book together. Here's a bit of the jacket synopsis for ya:

"Master the foundations of visual storytelling in just 15 lessons: follow this one-of-a-kind, comprehensive program to become fluent in the alchemical language of comics."

It has lessons on everything, not just sketching, though, so it might not be right for you. Check out the website for more descriptive information.
posted by Fui Non Sum at 3:36 PM on March 5, 2010

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