Comic Talk, Tips and Tricks

Do you use how-to books?
Pulse at 9:05AM, Dec. 16, 2007
posts: 92
joined: 10-22-2007
I have bought two how-to books so far.

how to draw cutting edge comics -chris hart

making comics-scott mccloud

do you buy/use how-to books?
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:56PM
Frostflowers at 9:43AM, Dec. 16, 2007
posts: 689
joined: 10-8-2006
I've got Scott McCloud's Making Comics too - and I like it. He lays out the hows and whys of comic pages, dramatic use of panels and all those things I need a little help wrapping my mind around. It's useful, since it points out things to me that I didn't really think about before.

I've got a couple of things like anatomy-for-artists books, but other than that I rely on photo-references when I need it.

As for those How To Draw Manga books? Not so much. :/ I want to have a solid base of knowledge in perspective, anatomy and colour theory, and then I'll build my own style from there - the How To Draw Manga books tend to show you how to copy the drawings in that particular book, which doesn't strike me as being very useful, if you don't actually sit down and think about HOW the figure/perspective/background/whatever works.
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last edited on July 14, 2011 12:31PM
angry_black_guy at 11:49AM, Dec. 16, 2007
posts: 317
joined: 5-1-2007
I don't consider McCloud's “Making Comics” a “how to” book as opposed to an “understand and witness” book. He never tells you to follow a particular route; he just gives you advice on what looks good and tips on making your own material in the same way while still giving room for innovation.

I also recommend the complete idiots guide to graphic novels which goes in depth with the more technical “behind the scenes” such as self publishing, networking with other companies, script writing, and gathering ideas together.

As far as traditional how-to books, I don't recommend them at all because they encourage you copy a particular style. They're great for reference material (such as drawing vehicles or monsters) but if you focus on copying things like “Drawing Manga The Cool Way Lolz” then your work will never evolve.

last edited on July 14, 2011 10:52AM
kingofsnake at 11:51AM, Dec. 16, 2007
posts: 1,374
joined: 9-27-2006
I have a short stack of drawing books that I flip through every once in a while when I'm attempting an unfamiliar angle or a different style than my own. It really depends on what I'm working on.

What I need to do is pony up for some classes in realistic drawing, I'm more or less satisfied with my cartoons and character design. Perspective and anatomy can still kill me though
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:16PM
Kinuchio at 1:28PM, Dec. 16, 2007
posts: 36
joined: 7-19-2006
I use everything to help my artwork. If I don't get how to draw it, I'll look for any reference possible.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:16PM
cetriya at 7:07PM, Dec. 16, 2007
posts: 178
joined: 5-17-2007
I have a few that I dont need anymore.

how ever these are realy good:

those 4 are and absolute must buy/read. plus they are cheap. as for the ‘draw yaoi’ one. I hate yaoi, and it was recommened by someone else who hates yaoi. I bought the book and found out that it has no yaoi but it was mistranslated from ‘Bishounen’ (most likely for marketing). Best anatomy book for me.

As for anything else, learn 2D design/graphic design, perspective, and color theory.
And of course, just practice.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:39AM
CharleyHorse at 8:56PM, Dec. 16, 2007
posts: 627
joined: 12-7-2006
I half a fairly large library of ‘How To’ books on sequential art work, many of them are western style comic book references, but some are cartoon strip references. My feeling on such things is that if you are serious about your avocation then you should want to make the effort over time to learn as much as possible about the technical aspects.

Over time means just that. Take your time and pick and choose what you purchase and always try to read the commentary that readers have placed on the Internet. Most sequential art related books have received criticism, both positive and negative.

I want to point out that Christopher Hart is frequently dismissed as a money grubber and a second rater. He may very well be the first, or simply in love with promoting his name, but he does darn well know his techniques and is a pretty fair instructor. I particularly like his work on noir work, on moody, heavily shadowed illustrations. Cartooning gold that text.

I also have all of Burne Hogarth's texts and, again, his work on light and shadows and cloth drapery is magnificent.

Finally, I want to point out that although I have read and studied everything I've purchased, I haven't – absolutely have not! – mastered any of the material. But I continue trying. That's the whole point. You keep studying and gradually get better and more knowledgeable over time.

Oh yeah, finally, there's almost nothing you have to pay for that you can't get the equivalent of from on line tutorial sites. There are hundreds of such places and the information is mostly the same and mostly just as good as what you can get out of text books. The only things I haven't found on line for free yet are deep instructions on light and shadow and clothing theory.

last edited on July 14, 2011 11:40AM
kyupol at 6:16AM, Dec. 17, 2007
posts: 3,718
joined: 1-12-2006
I never used how-to books.

If you wanna learn how to draw you can invest a few hundred bucks on some art classes. I've taken 1 year of art foundations in a community college (strongly suggest DONT because a community college has alot of people in them therefore you have to exert extra effort if you wanna learn) as well as a few courses on figure drawing in other smaller schools (highly recommended because they have smaller class sizes and the teacher can give you more attention).

Private classes can cost lots of $$$ (between $20-$50 an hour) and I dont think its really worth it. Take small-sized classes with about 5 people in them its almost as good as a private class.

Art classes though will only give you foundations.

Its up to you to progress.

Instead of buying ‘how-to’ books, your best bet is to try copying from comics online or print. If your skill level is not good enough to copy, try TRACING it. Because when you trace, at least you can get an idea how that thing was drawn and where to place those shadings and such.

Also, the internet is a good place to look for tutorials.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:25PM
CharleyHorse at 8:40AM, Dec. 17, 2007
posts: 627
joined: 12-7-2006
That's a darn good point about the copying. The trick - for people maybe not aware - is to begin drawing the foundation of the figure or item in the round before sculpting it down or adding to it to make it look like the original artist's work.

In other words if there is a super heroic figure turned partly away so that the body is in three-quarters profile, first use the old cylinders, ball, and cone approach to create a three dimensional manikin in a similar pose so that you begin with a three dimensional feel to it, and then go to town and make that sucker look just like the artist's rendition looked.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:40AM
Hexe at 11:14AM, Dec. 19, 2007
posts: 41
joined: 1-15-2007

I don't and i never will use how-to books.

I think that every person has a personal style that fits them the most and they should find it and use it.

last edited on July 14, 2011 12:48PM
CharleyHorse at 3:53PM, Dec. 19, 2007
posts: 627
joined: 12-7-2006
Well, the personal style will come forth regardless of how much studying a person does from different sources. How to books allows an artist to pick and choose from a among a ton of techniques and ideas. In this case the reader is his or her own instructor. But then everyone has a different take on these sorts of things.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:40AM
JustNoPoint at 6:47AM, Dec. 20, 2007
posts: 1,375
joined: 3-16-2007
I have an abundance of how to books. Ranging from Manga, to superhero, to real life. I also have some sketchbooks from certain artists.

I never used the how to books to try and draw or imitate exactly what those books give me. It's reference material so I can see how different artists use different building blocks and styles to form their characters and to create their poses.

Even the really badly drawn how to draw manga books can have some interesting pose, or tell me a trick with comic flow that was different from another.

My only gripe about the How To books is that almost every one of them have to waste half the book on the exact same basics before they finally get into their unique additions.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:12PM
mlai at 4:48PM, Dec. 23, 2007
posts: 3,035
joined: 12-28-2006
I only have a few, cuz nowadays you can learn anything on the internet. There are tons of tutorials out there all over artists' forums. And the rest you pick up via reading manga and comics; because you can only endure so much work-learning. Play-learning via reading comics is better for the soul. ;D

I have:

Dynamic Anatomy, by Hogarthe
Drawing The Head & Figure, by Hamm
How To Draw Comics The Marvel Way

I also have artbooks of Capcom Design Works and a Jpnese animation studio. Kinda learned “current anime style” from perusing these.

FIGHT current chapter: Filling In The Gaps
FIGHT_2 current chapter: Light Years of Gold
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:06PM
Mister Kent at 10:26PM, Dec. 25, 2007
posts: 336
joined: 11-30-2007
I have a few Christopher Hart books and I think they've helped me out a lot - I have used his books on Superheroes and Cartoon Animals the most, as odd as that pairing sounds. I don't believe it's hindered the development of my own style–it helped me with anatomy and basics, and then I was able to really get strengthen my style.
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:04PM
jimmy_genocide at 12:03PM, Dec. 26, 2007
posts: 39
joined: 11-1-2007
back inthe day i used alot of how to books but i found many of them being repetative and so i stopped buying/using them. copying photos and imges is probably what i started doing after, now however i dont usually use any refference but i did start using some of the tips the “how to” books taught me back in the day but never actually used those tips before that.

now when it comes to something i dont feel safe enough to draw i usually go and search up on the anatomy of what it is im trying to draw. fow example in one of my comics there is alot of gun usage and even though my comic is fictionali like to have alot of fact to refference my fiction to make it more believable, with that said, when it came time to actually create the weapons that were being used i scowered the net looking for all the info i could find on guns, from diferent kinds, brands and even how they are made and how they work. i even asked a family friend who is a cop, to let me see and hold his gun, afterall that i felt i knew enough about guns to create a custom gun for my hero, i had to draw about 1000 prototypes in my cketchbook before it turned out right, but now guns fit into my comic and feel so much more real.

what im getting at is you can read all the “HOW TO” books you want, but that only tells you how one guy draws a certain thing, for me i can never draw something as amazing as i could if i know how it works and how it feels.

it would be like trying to make a comic scene of a car chase but never having driven a car.

last edited on July 14, 2011 1:09PM
teedomoonstrider at 4:42PM, Jan. 3, 2008
posts: 42
joined: 12-7-2007
In my opinion,

How To Draw books are nice… if you know how to draw. When I first started looking at it all it was just jibberish - lines, squares, junk. It was confusing and just not helpful, so they went to the shelf. Now that I'm practicing more often and actually trying to seriously learn, they are starting to make more sense. I've got some artists whom I can bug for ideas on what to work on, which honestly is ten times more useful than any book for me, but now that I've made that first step the books are starting to make sense, and re-reading them is actually educating me.

Of course it could be that I grabbed the wrong books… but that's what I've seen thus far.
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last edited on July 14, 2011 4:08PM
glenfx at 2:46AM, Jan. 4, 2008
posts: 64
joined: 5-25-2007
How To Draw books are nice… if you know how to draw

Absolutely RIGHT, you wont learn how to draw if you dont see how its actually done, a Video tutorial might help though, but in the end is something you could aproach by copying lots of other comics (Tod Mcfarlane and Madureira started like this)

Of course, even with any method you choose, it will take LOTS of time and practice to get good.

I recomend some books from “Ben Caldwell” and any other that talks about story telling rather than showing you the same how to draw a characters

now for the original question.. yes i still buy books about “how to draw” mostly because im a nerd for books and i find them inspirationals (of course i dont buy BAD books or books with bad art)

The latest i bought where from the Wizard magazine (found three out of the four they have) cool material
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:37PM
Evil_Snuffkin at 9:31AM, Jan. 5, 2008
posts: 934
joined: 1-6-2006
I have two how to draw manga books but only bother buying them if I'm finding a particular area difficult. Over all I find photographs and reference drawings more useful.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:24PM
Priceman at 9:45PM, Jan. 5, 2008
posts: 521
joined: 11-2-2006
Last I counted, I was at 25 books and growing. I mostly use them for reference now, but between them and online tutorials they make up all my art “training”. Can't stand Chris Hart books btw.

last edited on July 14, 2011 2:47PM
cool guy at 7:00AM, Jan. 9, 2008
posts: 2,177
joined: 11-22-2006
I have Scott mcCloud's Making Comics and I'm looking for the other 2 I don't have,I have How to Draw Graphic Novels by Victor M.Davila,And Fun With Manga from Walter Foster.
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last edited on July 14, 2011 11:44AM
horyo at 6:59PM, Jan. 10, 2008
posts: 4
joined: 1-9-2008
I use some reference books from the library to help me get a certain idea. Then I try to implement it in my style (<-Whatever that may be). I like tips and little tidbits (which is probably why I'm here) so grasp concepts a bit better.

I only own one book and it's one of those “How to Draw More Manga” books. I use it for body references, otherwise I'd go online.
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last edited on July 14, 2011 12:50PM

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