71 of 72 people found the following review helpful
on December 12, 2006
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. Common materials & equipment professionals use, as well as common philosophical approaches are included. It's basically Understanding Comics made even more practical & clear- with many added hints, tips, and tricks along the way. It competes with that 1st title for most popular in the Trilogy, and it's highly recommended to anyone who wants to make comics! ! I like it! 5 Stars.
In conclusion: The 1st is genius; the 2nd is fascinating; the 3rd is highly refined- get this great McCloud comics trilogy today!
80 of 82 people found the following review helpful
on September 8, 2006
"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!
53 of 58 people found the following review helpful
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.
Part of the magic of comics is the way the reader's mind fills in the gaps, an idea that McCloud first introduced in Understanding Comics. With a couple dots and a line, we can see a face. When we see two panels, one showing a player swinging at a ball, the next with him making contact, we "see" the motion even if it's not really there. 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).
In short, this is a brilliant book. I am not a huge fan of Reinventing Comics, but Understanding Comics is a classic and this book follows right in its footsteps. If you enjoy comic books (or comic strips), this book is a must-read, even if you can't draw.
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on January 4, 2007
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.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on April 21, 2007
This is by far the best book I have read when it comes to defining and breaking down the elements of the visual story. As the author states, there are some things that a well chosen image can say better than any words could hope to, and vice-versa. He does a fantastic job of describing in detail when and how to choose the appropriate image, word, or combination of both. The book is second to none when it comes to teaching the storyteller how to create the most compelling readership experience possible.
AND ~ this book is not just for Comics, but for ANYONE interested in telling a story with images. Whether those images are drawn, painted, photographed, or digital art. Definitely a MUST READ for anyone interested in creating a "VISUAL STORY".
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on January 13, 2007
Si hacer comics fuera una religion, Scott seria el profeta.
Este, junto a sus otro 2 libros, es uno de los indispensables en la biblioteca del artista del comic. No importa el nivel en el que te encuentres, tanto para novatos y expertos, la lectura de making comics te lleva mas alla de lo que tipicamente un libro de "como hace comics" enseña.
Este no es un tutorial de como dibujar de cierta manera o de hacer guiones, sino una guia de como aplicar tu estilo y recursos de la mejor manera... y seguir descubriendo tu propio arte.
If "comics" were a religion, Scott would be the prophet.
This, with his other 2 books, is one of indispensable in the comic artist's library. It does not matter the level in which you are, for novices and experts, the reading of Making Comics takes you beyond which typically a "how to" book teaches.
This it is not a tutorial to draw certain style or to write scripts, but a guide to apply your style and resources at your best... and keep discovering your own art.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on April 3, 2007
This book has two audiences.
Many people will have come to this book through Scott's earlier "Understanding Comics," and read it to further their understandings of comic book history and the evolution of the comic-book language. I do not come from that direction and can not offer a review on those grounds.
Where I come from is as a long-time scribbler trying to learn how to tell a story in comic-book format. I learned of this book through mention in the blogs of practicing story-board artists, and as I understand it, it is one of a very small number of books to deal in detail with that part of comic book are that is larger than a single panel (Will Eisner's book is one of, perhaps the one, standout.)
There are a lot of "how to draw comics/manga" books out there. The vast majority of them deal with what is inside the panel. (The vast majority of them, particularly the Americanized Manga ones, tend to be less "Here's how to draw" than "Here's something I drew. Now just draw like that!")
(Ben Edlund drew a marvellous satire of this in a filler strip titled "How to draw The Tick."; "First draw a sphere. Now draw a horizontal line bisecting the sphere. Now draw The Tick, holding a bisected sphere.")
Scott is dealing with the interaction between the panels. How you break a story into parts, how you organize, how to develop moods and settings, how to pace. I could only wish for more. Perhaps the format is a bit at fault. The illustrations are lovely but too often serve more as a supporting visual for what is basically talking-head commentary. And the commentary, the meat of what he is saying, is crammed into balloons and margins and perhaps ends up being less complete than it could be.
In many cases, though, the integration of text and picture is useful and elegant.
There are odd surprises in what he chooses to cover with what depth. The treatment of various panel arrangements that work (and don't work) is surprisingly brief (perhaps there wasn't much more to say?) But there is an absolutely wonderful section on drawing facial emotion that is almost long and detailed enough to be a book on its own.
Perhaps my greatest quibble with this book is Scott can not quite step away from a larger perspective of the evolution and purpose of sequential art. He ends too many thoughts with "But who knows what the future will bring?" How about a few more didactic pronouncements on good storytelling methods, and save the musings on Art with the leading capitalization for his other books.
Scott, wisely, spends very little time on tools and perspective, and essentially no time at all on basic anatomy and drawing. However, the pages on drawing backgrounds and character design -- among others -- are great little refresher courses. But you need to know how to draw before you go into this book. You need to look elsewhere for human anatomy -- even elsewhere to find out how to lay out that perspective grid Scott shows off to good effect in several drawings. In fact, that old standby "How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way" makes a pretty good companion piece to this book as it give a good basic orientation to comic book page terminology, simple linear perspective, comic-book anatomy, pencilling and inking.
All in all, not the best book there could be on figuring out how to go from a script to fifteen pages of little boxes -- but one of the best books you can find that goes into any detail on the subject.
And, of course, it is a delight to read. Marvelously illustrated, cleverly scripted -- and one of those books that will send you scurrying to your own drawing pad, eager to try out some of the things he suggests.
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on October 3, 2006
The previous reviewer accuses Scott McCloud of lacking the authority to write a guide to making comics. But McCloud's book is based on clear demonstration, not on authority.
McCloud does a remarkable job of showing--not just telling--the reader about how details of characters' expressions and body language reflect their mental states, how different "camera angles" and types of panels control the flow of the narrative, how the way an environment is presented affects our relationship to it, and more.
Reading the book, I encountered insight after insight about things that I had noticed intuitively about comics but never really been conscious of.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on June 19, 2008
When my grandparents got me this book, I didn't think it could help me. I was looking for a "How to Draw" not a "How to Write". This book proved me so wrong. I couldn't believe how much fun it was to read, and it helped me a lot too. Almost everything I thought I knew was proved wrong and after reading it I felt like I understood comics so much better. As well as making me better at writing comic books, it made me a better writer altogether. I strongly recommend this book for anyone who is interested in comics or in just plain writing or art.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on August 14, 2007
If you've ever wondered about the finer points of crafting a comic this is the book for you. This is not a how to draw book and if thats what you are looking for than this isn't for you. It IS a very intelligent and thought provoking insight into the story telling aspects of the creation of comics. This is a MUST HAVE for anyone serious about comics.