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Framed Ink: Drawing and Composition for Visual Storytellers Paperback – August 31, 2010

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Framed Ink: Drawing and Composition for Visual Storytellers + Color and Light: A Guide for the Realist Painter + How to Draw: drawing and sketching objects and environments from your imagination
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Design Studio Press (August 31, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1933492953
  • ISBN-13: 978-1933492957
  • Product Dimensions: 11 x 8.6 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (90 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #9,705 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


“With Framed Ink, Marcos Mateu distills his twenty-plus year career in feature animation into a clear, practical manual on the language of images.  Marcos has a special eye for composition, lighting, and continuity that creates a tangible sense of mood and drama in all of his work.”

-       Jeffrey Katzenberg, Co-founder and CEO DreamWorks Animation SKG

“There are some people who draw in a way that looks like they load their pens with pure liquified fun. Concept artist Marcos Mateu has a wonderful character of line and a jaunty, casual style that makes it look like the lines danced out and created the image of their own accord. His loose, relaxed application of color, which careens between brilliant lights and rich, atmospheric darks, just adds to the visual treat. Mateu’s drawings have just the right touch of exaggeration to give them extra visual appeal; lines are given an extra spring, forms bent out just a bit, and figures swirled into motion in a way that gives everything a sense of verve and life.” - Charley Parker

About the Author

Spanish born Marcos Mateu-Mestre is a visual concept, traditional animation layout, and graphic novel artist whose film credits include titles such as ‘Balto’, ‘The Prince of Egypt’, ‘Asterix and the Vikings’ and ‘Surf’s Up’ amongst others.
With an extensive experience of twenty years in feature animation, working mainly for Dreamworks  and Sony Pictures, he has also been teaching drawing, illustration and visual storytelling techniques for twelve years.
His works as a film maker have mostly included both the design and cinematic aspects of film, taking care of frame composition, lighting and visual continuity of many key sequences in some major productions.

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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See all 90 customer reviews
This book is all about the fine art of composition.
Tamir Elchayani
Fantastic book with apt descriptions and perfect examples for understanding and practicing solid, clear composition as it relates to storytelling.
This book is excellent for teaching you, my students, your students, or anybody, how to think on a visual "shot" level.
Mark D. Burgh

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

53 of 55 people found the following review helpful By Parka TOP 50 REVIEWER on October 2, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Length: 0:39 Mins
There are probably no other books around that covers composition with emphasis on storytelling as well as Framed Ink. This is a whole book devoted to the subject, as compared to other books (on storyboards) that usually have only one or two chapters.

Although the illustrated examples are mainly movie composition, the techniques can be applied to animation, movies and even graphic novels. Every technique comes with a concise breakdown. You get to understand how and why shots are framed in a certain way, or how to create compositions to create a certain mood. There are also tips on lighting and continuity.

Over 200 beautifully illustrated examples are included. And they are really good examples. Just by looking at the examples alone, without even reading the commentary, you already get a good idea of what's happening.

Marcos Mateu-Mestre has distilled his 20 years of experience and knowledge into an accessible package you shouldn't miss out on.

This is the essential how-to book for storytellers, or for anyone who needs to put images on screen or on paper.

Highly recommended.


You can check out more of his work on his website.


(There are more pictures of the book on my blog. Just visit my Amazon profile for the link.)
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35 of 39 people found the following review helpful By PL on August 26, 2010
Format: Paperback
Just so we're all clear, I am a 20+ year vet working as a designer in the film industry. The author, Marcos Mateu and I are colleagues, and we work together at DreamWorks Animation. Does that mean I'm biased? Absolutely! Because I can tell you that Marcos is one of the best designers working in the film industry today, and this book gives anyone who's lucky (smart) enough to buy it, a glimpse at how he does it.

As for the book, it's one of the best, if not THE best books of it's kind out there. I've been waiting my entire career for a book like that goes into detail about how to tell stories with that doesn't just talk about how to draw, but how to think about that explains how to create really powerful images, packed with emotion and that actually delivers the goods. And this book delivers!!! Yes, there have been other books on the subject, most of them with lots of abstract theories, and maybe even some good technical information. But they don't have what this one has...Marcos' drawings. Hundreds of them. And they're all to die for!

OK now for the down side: there's a bit of a wait to get the book. From what I understand, due to a printing glitch, there's been some delays getting the books to market. It was available at ComicCon, and Amazon had one shipment, which they sold out of instantly. But fear not, there are more on the way!!!

In other words, do yourself a favor and don't do what the unfortunate reviewer above did and just pass over this book because it's not available TODAY. Buy it now...because it's going to sell! Then you'll have to pay big bucks for it on eBay.
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27 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Corey D Holcomb-Hockin on September 16, 2010
Format: Paperback
Book is mostly about composition in story boards for movies. Last section deals about comics but is fairly short. The majority of the story board information can apply to comics too.

Content is very good. It deals with setting up composition in an abstract way before adding detail. Information is shown in a easy to understand way. Abstract versions of different shots are shown next to more detailed drawings. Text is easy to understand.

Its the only book on have that connects storytelling and composition. I have some books about fine art composition that deal with some of the same things but most of the information in the books is new to me. It also answered questions I had about applying perspective in ways that fit the composition.

I'd recommend the book.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Tamir Elchayani on December 19, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The book "framed ink" is not a "How-To-Draw" book, rather than a "How-To-See" book. Those of you who search for maticulous step-by-step instructional book for comics and illustrations are recommended to search elsewhere (Burne Hogarth's books would be great for that, in my opinion). This book is all about the fine art of composition. Whether you're an aspiring animator, an experienced comic book artist or whatever - this book, brought by one of the most highly acclaimed artists in film industry (check the preface from Jeffery Katzenberg)is a masterclass in constructing a frame for any illustrative need (storyboard, animation sequence, graphic novel etc.).

You can draw the most beautiful, eye-dazzling imagery and still have no "life" or sense of belivability in your paintings and sequences. Once you get a hold of Mr. Mestre's concepts regarding proper division of a frame, direction and meaning within your composition, you are bound to improve your painting-narrating skills almost immediately.

I will most definitely acquire Marcos Mateau-Mestre's future books, once they're out. If you want to improve your paintings, make them more powerful and meaningful, this book would be a great start.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Arthur Elliott on February 6, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Five stars, all the way. As far as a comicbook art books: this is the cream of the crop.

He spends NO time on how you draw and all the time on how you SHOW what you draw. How setting characters up to seem more powerful and central. How to imply character relationship with spacial relationships. How to imply distance and movement. How to hint at many but draw few. How to dynamically frame action. This book really gets into the nitty gritty behind setting up the panel/page to give you the best coverage and easiest read.

His explanation of the 180 degree rule is phenomenal. He lays out some scenes then diagrams the camera moves. If you don't know the 180 degree rule he lays it out perfectly. If you do know the rule he illustrates why it works so well.

The section in the back is specifically for Graphic Novels but EVERYTHING is relevant. In fact the Graphic Novel section might be the least informative part of this book for comics.

I can't recommend this book enough. The amount of behind the panel information he gets you to think through will change the way you think about drawing your comic.
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