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How to Draw Noir Comics: The Art and Technique of Visual Storytelling Paperback – October 30, 2007

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Shawn Martinbrough illustrates many DC and Marvel comics, including
Superman, Detective Comics, Batman, and X-Men. Other clients include LucasArts, Playboy, and many others. In 2004, he was named one of "Washington, D.C.'s Best" by The
Washingtonian
. He lives in Washington, D.C.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Watson-Guptill; 1st edition (October 30, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0823024067
  • ISBN-13: 978-0823024063
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.4 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #151,381 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

38 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Parka TOP 50 REVIEWER on January 27, 2009
Format: Paperback
Length: 0:17 Mins
Everything in the book is explained simply and clearly with lots of personal examples. He tries to address the many approaches to creating noir comics and does them well. For example when explaining the tools he used, he would talk on the type of ink to buy (fade and erase-proof), how to maintain them and choosing the right tools for the job.

The main bulk of the book deals with comic creation specific to noir style. He explains the ways to create mood, lighting and texture to aid the story. And also touches the comic creation part like paneling, pacing, creating drama, choosing backgrounds, using references and more. All the examples included are well caption to emphasis the techniques reviewed.

At the end of the book is a 16-page noir style graphic novel to show readers the finished product.

This book is a great introduction to noir comics and serves as a great reference.

You can view more of Shawn Martinbrough's work at Verge Entertainment, which is a company he founded with his partners.

(More pictures are available on my blog. Just visit my Amazon profile for the link.)
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Ian F. Ellis on March 25, 2009
Format: Paperback
I have recently read Shawn Martinbrough's new book "How to draw noir comics," and this is my review:

If ever a comic book could have special features and directors commentary this is what it would look like. Shawn Martinbrough has seamlessly interwoven the process of experiencing and learning about art in his masterful book. While there are many books about learning how to draw most of them fall into two spectrums "the kids style" and "the professional artist." These two types of books are a reflections of the broader view of comic book art that trivializes the artist without paying any respect to the frantic deadlines, and vast range or material any given artist is asked to produce. Shawn's book shatters that stigma in a way that could potentially revolutionize the industry. Should Shawn's example be followed by artist like Tim Sale or Jim Lee a new generation of artist will surely be inspired to draw their "bowls of fruit" and put in their 2,000 bad drawing before giving up and never reaching that first masterpiece. Shawn's book is the middle ground between "kids book" and "professional artist" that defines his medium, and inspires the reader to try harder. In short, this book is a fan boys dream, and an aspiring artist must read.

If you liked Shawn Martinbrough's book I also highly recommend picking up Dave Sim's latest publication "Glamourpuss." Glamourpuss follows the history of noir comics from Milt Caniff to Bruce Tim while simultaneously taking a satirical look at the life of a lofty young super model called "Glamourpuss."

Best wishes to all
-Ian Ellis
FaceComics.blogspot.com
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By J. DOUGAN on March 3, 2008
Format: Paperback
I'm a comics writer, not an artist, so I almost started this review by saying that I bought the book just to look at the pictures. And who could blame me? Shawn Martinbrough is one of the most original and distinctive stylists in modern mainstream comics. In a sea of imitators and variations on a house style, his artwork is instantly recognizable. His run on DETECTIVE COMICS with writer Greg Rucka (who writes the introduction to this book) is a landmark to me, in that it was one of the things that brought me back to reading comics after a long absence.

But Martinbrough's strengths lie far beyond his style - he has a true mastery of the *craft* of sequential storytelling, which is what makes this book such a valuable read, for aspiring artists and students of the medium in general. Reading about his process has given me much food for thought in how to evaluate and critique the work of other artists, as well as in how to better compose my scripts for artists to create the maximum impact in the collaboration. In short, HOW TO DRAW NOIR COMICS is a fine read for anyone interested in creating comics, whether one's work is done at the drawing board or at the keyboard.

Oh, and you get to look at the cool pictures, too.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful By echobanzai on November 28, 2007
Format: Paperback
hey, i have been a fan of martinbrough's since his days on Creeper, then his LEGENDARY run on BATMAN! way back, he did some inking on some MILESTONE comic books, and you could see, how much he IMPROVED the pencils, by adding his amazing inks to the art. and now, they finally got it right! Martinbrough, whose dark and moody inks have always intrigued, has made a 'HOW TO DRAW' book, and this is THE book to own! I love drawing in black and white, pen and ink, and now, i have the perfect reference book to work from. i HIGHLY recommend this book to everyone, who wishes not only to be a better comic book artist, but to be a better ILLUSTRATOR as well. tons of great art, tons of great ideas, this book is just hands down, a WINNER. buy it!
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Philip on December 28, 2007
Format: Paperback
So here is the thing, comics are a very hard medium, its also subjective and seriously its HARD. What I like about this book. Its not some hand holding trite sketchbook full of cliches and half-thought out pablum being fed to the reader. What it does is it gives you theory and ideas on how to improve your art , how to look at your art and get the look you want. It makes you think on how to incorporate the skill of going noir. If you want a book to teach you to draw like great artist like Frank Miller and Mike Mignola--this isn't your thing. It you want a book to help you look at your art in a different way and make you a thinking artist, and bring something real to the table then, this is the shiznit!!!!
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