Top positive review
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Wanna' Make Comics? Start Here...
on June 12, 2008
I brought an advance copy of this book into a college illustration class I teach. The class was quite impressed. In fact, two students went onto Amazon online and bought it instantly. Usually I discourage shopping during class, but Drawing Words and Writing Pictures is an answered prayer for the aspiring comics artist.
This is an ideal text for a 15-week class in comics. It also has guidance for starting an informal collective class. It includes suggestions for the stereotypical solitary artist, who the authors are gracious enough to refer to as ronin. There is a wealth of info on the narrative process, page design, lettering, pens, and even Photoshop scanning advice.
The authors' individual web pages present a lot this DIY info, so search out their sites, see if their philosophies appeal to you. The book contains multiple perspectives from two remarkable artists. Matt Madden is into "formalist" styles, working within Houdini-like constraints. Jessica Abel's La Perdida is one of the great masterpieces of the long-form graphic novel.
From George Herriman to Robert Crumb, Charles Burns, to Kaz and John Porcillino, the book is crammed with a diversity of styles. Wide-ranging and inclusive, no matter what one's preferred comics style, from manga to superhero to alternative, you will find something to like here.
Instructors will find the bibliography alone is worth the price of admission, I teach a seven-week college comics course each fall. My plan is to email the students over the summer, tell them to get this book and get started on the exercises. The ronins will get a head start and their classmates will lose face.
Scott McCloud's Making Comics is also a valuable college course text for serious students, who have some background in reading comics and thinking critically about the artform. Drawing Words and Writing Pictures, however, has practical exercises for students at any level. Highly recommended.