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Making Comics: Storytelling Secrets of Comics, Manga and Graphic Novels Paperback – September 5, 2006

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Frequently Bought Together

Making Comics: Storytelling Secrets of Comics, Manga and Graphic Novels + Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art + Reinventing Comics: How Imagination and Technology Are Revolutionizing an Art Form
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; 8.6.2006 edition (September 5, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060780940
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060780944
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 0.6 x 10.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (104 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #13,228 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews Review

Scott McCloud's Understanding Comics was published in 1993, just as "Comics Aren't Just for Kids Anymore!" articles were starting to appear and graphic novels were making their way into the mainstream, and it quickly gave the newly respectable medium the theoretical and practical manifesto it needed. With his clear-eyed and approachable analysis--done using the same comics tools he was describing--McCloud quickly gave "sequential art" a language to understand itself. McCloud made the simplest of drawing decisions seem deep with artistic potential.

Thirteen years later, following the Internet evangelizing of Reinventing Comics, McCloud has returned with Making Comics.

Designed as a craftsperson's overview of the drawing and storytelling decisions and possibilities available to comics artists, covering everything from facial expressions and page layout to the choice of tools and story construction, Making Comics, like its predecessors, is also an eye-opening trip behind the scenes of art-making, fascinating for anyone reading comics as well as those making them. Get a sense of the range of his lessons by clicking through to the opening pages of his book, including his (illustrated, of course) table of contents (warning: large file, recommended for high-bandwidth users):

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Every medium should be lucky enough to have a taxonomist as brilliant as McCloud. The follow-up to his pioneering Understanding Comics (and its flawed sequel Reinventing Comics) isn't really about how to draw comics: it's about how to make drawings become a story and how cartooning choices communicate meaning to readers. ("There are no rules," he says, "and here they are.") McCloud's cartoon analogue, now a little gray at the temples, walks us through a series of dazzlingly clear, witty explanations (in comics form) of character design, storytelling, words and their physical manifestation on the page, body language and other ideas cartoonists have to grapple with, with illustrative examples drawn from the history of the medium. If parts of his chapter on "Tools, Techniques and Technology" don't look like they'll age well, most of the rest of the book will be timelessly useful to aspiring cartoonists. McCloud likes to boil down complicated topics to a few neatly balanced principles; his claim that all facial expressions come from degrees and combinations of six universal basic emotions is weirdly reductive and unnerving, but it's also pretty convincing. And even the little ideas that he tosses off—like classifying cartoonists into four types—will be sparking productive arguments for years to come. (Sept.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

More About the Author

Scott McCloud has been writing, drawing, and examining comics since 1984. Winner of the Eisner and Harvey awards, his works have been translated into more than sixteen languages. Frank Miller (Sin City, 300) called him "just about the smartest guy in comics." He lives with his family in southern California. His online comics and inventions can be found at

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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McCloud creates a visually aesthetic analysis of comic books and tells you how to better your own.
Thomas Gimlin
Similarly, we feel like it is actually McCloud talking to us, even if it's really just a picture of him (and making is nothing like what he really looks like).
I would highly recommend this book for anyone who would like to learn about the guidelines and principles of creating great comics.
Emily Hurst

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

79 of 81 people found the following review helpful By CHRISTIAN on September 8, 2006
Format: Paperback
"Making Comics" is true to its title -- it's very well suited for folks eager to learn the craft of "making comics." I teach a Sequential Art class at California State University, Fullerton and I have made it a required reading book, because it so solidly articulates the elements of comic art from the perspective of the artist. McCloud has been teaching comics at workshops and guest speaking engagements across the country. His having been in the teacher's seat manifestly helps make his points all the more applicable and meaningful. For instance, McCloud uses examples from comics from around the world (Asian mangas, Eurocomics or BD, Western superheroes and alternative comics) that will resonate with modern audiences who perceive comics as more than the "mainstream" superhero comics. "Making Comics" casts the same clarity and passion that made "Understanding Comics" so compelling, and it is not as speculative as "Reinventing Comics." Readers of "Understanding Comics" may find that "Making Comics" covers a lot of the same ground, and that is inevitable (so if you are more into analyzing comics rather than making your own, "Understanding Comics" is for you). In a nutshell, Making Comics is a solid starting point for budding and eager comic artists!
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65 of 66 people found the following review helpful By "extreme_dig_cm" on December 12, 2006
Format: Paperback
Want 3 of the best-ever books on the general topic of comics? Here they are! (each generally sold separately)

1.*Understanding Comics- A *landmark* & bestselling examination of the medium. A comicbook on comics! While I try not to use the "genius" label *too* liberally, with Understanding Comics it really seems to fit(!). 5 Stars!

2.*Reinventing Comics- Maybe his best *looking* book (in my opinion), it's basically split into 2 sections: The 12 Revolutions in comics; and then basic Internet/Computer/Web Comics. It's the least popular & practical in the Trilogy, yet I still really like it! 4-1/2 Stars.

3.*Making Comics- It's like Understanding Comics refined, as well as a "hands-on" introduction to the medium. It's the thickest book of the three, dealing with the most critical questions involved in the comics creating process. Since making comics basically means writing with pictures, McCloud begins with this. How many panels do we need? What should they contain? What's the clearest way to communicate our ideas? He first helps us with these things, and then moves to our real center of interest: characters! How to create and illustrate interesting characters is a central theme throughout. Once we establish our pictures & characters, words can be added to complete our ideas. He explains various ways to do this, basically refining his ideas in Understanding Comics. Perspective is only barely touched upon here; most books similarly briefly mention it. He explains that it's a difficult yet necessary part of the picturemaking process, and that it can actually be quite fun(!). He also touches on eastern/western differences in comics, explaining how & why Japanese methods are still gaining in influence.
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50 of 55 people found the following review helpful By mrliteral VINE VOICE on November 24, 2006
Format: Paperback
When it comes to artwork, I am at the stick figure level. My talents for making visual art, whether painter, comic book artist or whatever, are, at best minimal. At first glance, therefore, it might seem that I am not the right audience for a book like Scott McCloud's Making Comics. I am, however, a long-time comic book fan. The advantage to Making Comics for a drawing layman like myself is the same as watching a "making of" documentary of a movie (or listening to a DVD commentary). You gain a better understanding of what you are looking at.

Unlike a painting, comic strip writing is a sequential art, a depiction of a series of pictures that, typically with text, tell a story. McCloud gets into the narrative aspects of comics writing immediately with a chapter on writing with pictures in which he discusses how the sequence of pictures (or panels) typically relate to each other. For example, panels can go from moment-to-moment, depicting a single action as a series of moments (like showing a baseball player swinging a bat. A different panel transition is action-to-action, showing a subject doing a series of actions (panel one shows the player hitting the ball, two shows him running, three shows his sliding, etc.). Besides these choices of moment, there are also choices of frame (essentially, point of view), choice of image, choice of word and choice of flow.

McCloud also goes into how to draw people, how to blend word and picture, how to build worlds, and, in the only chapter that is really specific to actual artists, what the tools of the trade are. There is a lot in this book, and it's all told with McCloud's easy going narrative where a depiction of himself guides us through all the ideas.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Amy C. Kaestner on January 4, 2007
Format: Paperback
Scott McCloud has distilled the content from his previous two works (Understanding and Reinventing Comics) into one very accessible graphic novel. If a person is more interested in comic language, I suggest reading "Understanding Comics". It provides a framework for analyzing the comics form and is more intellectually stimulating. "Making Comics" has wide appeal and is perfect for younger folks with interest in using the medium to produce comics. Most of all it's a fun read.
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