Comic Book Making Gifts
December 10, 2012 11:29 AM   Subscribe

Please help me find a comic book-making related gift for my partner!

My partner is interested in drawing comic books and I'd like to get him some materials/books to get him started. I was thinking of some nice Prismacolor colored pencils and a sketchbook, but I'm not sure if that's right. I also wanted to get some sort of instructional book--not exactly for beginners, as he knows how to draw, but more advanced stuff--shading techniques, story-boarding, etc.

What do y'all think is best? I'm not exactly rich, so the more bang for my buck, the better!

Thanks in advance for your help!
posted by dysh to Media & Arts (12 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
The Prismacolor 72 pencil set just went on sale for $39.99 at Amazon. That's a great price. I grabbed them myself. You definitely can't go wrong with good set of colored pencils. I don't draw comic style art, but my brother does and I got him this book for his birthday and he really likes it.
posted by katyggls at 11:46 AM on December 10, 2012

Oh, also, I forgot to mention, are markers better than colored pencils for making comic books? If so, what brand?
posted by dysh at 12:20 PM on December 10, 2012

I backed this Kickstarter project a while back for a combination sketchbook and how-to guide to drawing comics by giants from the industry. The Kickstarter funding period has been over for some time now, but you can watch the video on the project page to get an idea of the project. Then if you want to, you could preorder a book from their website. Looks like they're charging $24.99 USD.

The Kickstarter updates say the books'll be shipping soon, and I expect preorders from the site will arrive shortly afterwards, so it might take a few months to actually obtain this. But I think it looks pretty awesome.
posted by Vorteks at 12:50 PM on December 10, 2012

A comic book can be made in any medium. He can do pen and ink on paper; or watercolors; or colored pencils; or markers; or entirely computer-based; or some combinaiton of the above. He should work with whatever type of markers or colored pencils or pens or charcoal he most prefers to work with.

Books about making comic-art are usually style-based: you can get books about manga, or about superheroes, or about artsy indy styles. Consider a copy of Understanding Comics if he doesn't already have one.
posted by aimedwander at 12:52 PM on December 10, 2012

What kind of comics does he draw? Are there any examples of his work online that we could see? Do you know what materials he likes to use, or what size he generally works at?

Generally, with comics, it's best to just stick to techniques and media that you're already comfortable with. PARTICULARLY when you're just starting out. Comics are a huge amount of work, and if you're too far outside your comfort zone it's easy to get discouraged before you make much headway.

Broadly speaking, some bristol board, a decent mechanical pencil with non-photo blue lead, and a set of pens (something like this) will get most people started.
posted by Narrative Priorities at 12:59 PM on December 10, 2012

Maybe he'd be interested in a Wacom or other digital drawing tablet?
posted by oulipian at 1:35 PM on December 10, 2012

Thanks so much for the responses so far!

To answer some questions:

I don't have any examples of his work because he generally just draws/doodles for fun, and has only really made a few comics for birthday cards and such. He already has a digital drawing tablet, but has expressed interest in drawing on paper as well.

He doesn't have anything in the way of physical drawing supplies--he usually just draws with a cheapy pen and some notebook paper, so I'd like to upgrade. The trouble is, I don't know exactly what he'd prefer--markers or colored pencils. I think that he does want to do color, so just some pencils and pens are not quite what I'm looking for.

I think I just want to get him some things to experiment with, but good colored pencils and markers are so prohibitively expensive that I feel like I can only choose one in order to get a good range of color.

Lastly, he doesn't want to do this professionally, just for fun, but I know that working with quality supplies is much more enjoyable than not.
posted by dysh at 2:02 PM on December 10, 2012

If you go toddle around a decent-sized art supply store, they will likely have a whole comic book/anime/manga section with all kinds of paper pads and sketchbooks, pencils and pens. Alternately, the staff can help direct you.

I bought myself one of these pads recently because I liked their smooth, smooth paper. I have one of the cheaper vellum pads here, too. I don't draw comics, but I like smooth paper and clean black lines, so, kind of the same deal.

Here's a nice rundown on pens. I personally like the Lumicolor and Pilot Fineliner, but I suppose that's personal. They're not outrageously expensive, so you can get a couple different ones and then he can see what he likes best.

I also love love love Copic markers, but they don't come so well on the "not exactly rich" front. Their Ciao line is slightly cheaper and I actually find them easier to hold with my little hands. Honestly, though, my mom bought me three last year as stocking stuffers (fuchsia, green and black) and they just feel so great in your hand that I doodled and sketched more with them than I had in a long time. (If Santa were real, this and this would be under my tree.)

For how-to, I recommend Lynda Barry's Picture This and What It Is, though they are more about inspiration than technique!
posted by looli at 2:54 PM on December 10, 2012

Seconding a copy of Understanding Comics if he doesn't have one, and also recommending the follow-ups Making Comics and Reinventing Comics. Will Eisner's Comics and Sequential Art usually gets recommended by comics pros as an excellent starting point and inspirational tool too.
posted by peteyjlawson at 2:56 PM on December 10, 2012

I am also a giant fan of Copics. One option might be a selection of Ciao size grays (so for instance, warm gray 0, 1, 2, 4, 6, 8) along with a set of fine line pens (for example, Microns with different nib sizes) and a pad of smooth Bristol. (I don't like a lot of specifically marker paper, because it is too thin.)
posted by Glinn at 4:27 PM on December 10, 2012

(I should add that I do illustration rather than comics, but primarily using Copics and fine line pens.)
posted by Glinn at 4:30 PM on December 10, 2012

I went with katyggls's suggestion for both the colored pencils and the book, and also grabbed a sketchbook meant for drawing comics. He loved it! Thanks all for your help!
posted by dysh at 2:28 PM on January 3, 2013

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