So you'd like to...

Start Creating Your Own Comic Book

A guide by Alex Bodnar (South Central LA, CA USA)

Products sampled from this guide:
If you've come to a point in your life where you want your artwork to have purpose and you want comics to be that vehicle then you may find some gems here. I started drawing (for its own sake) when I was 9 years old. Since then I've created many many pin-ups. Some of these one-shots were of girls but most were copies of my favorite superheroes from my favorite artists. I've come to a particular point in my life where I wanted something more. Living in Los Angeles affords me many opportunities to come into contact with a number of great art instructors who are masters in their respective fields. One of those "ah-ha" moments came when I took a comic book workshop from Kazu Kibuishi (creator of the Flight anthologies and The Amulet). During his workshop he said that he wanted his customers holding an action and adventure movie in their hands. What a great metaphor. I later discovered that we both shared very similar passions, those being illustration and movies. The creative flexibility of making a comic can be just as daunting as it is enriching. YOU become the screenwriter, director, casting director, art director, storyboard artist, actor (well, your characters are), special effects artist, graphic artist, EVERYTHING, but at a fraction of the cost to create a film! So let's get to the foundations. Think of your favorite films and comics. Did they ALL have special effects or a lot of eye-candy? Probably not. THEE most important element that dictates EVERYTHING (in my personal opinion) is your story. Your story will determine the mood of your comic or film (composition) all the way down to your character's design! If you haven't read Diary of a Wimpy Kid put it in your shopping cart now. That series is brilliant (story-wise) and it's done with stick figures (this is coming from a guy who LOVES Alex Ross' artwork)! Your story is something that will bring audiences back! I've picked up many books that look awesome but "told" me nothing and very few actually "taught" me anything. Apart from the "Inspiring Books on Comics (or Related Fields)" section of this page, I recommend buying ALL of these books. Your characters' style and look will be up to you. Besides, you probably already have books with great looking pictures and characters. The books below are the fundamentals that should be on every comic artists' library. All of these books created those "Ah-ha" moments in me! If you're low on cash though, your first book should be Blake Snyder's "Save the Cat!" This book is the ONLY one that gave a beginner like me a structure to START working with! Save the Cat! also inspired me to share these "Best-of" gems in the first place! Just remember that your main idea (your personal message) will be different from your plot! Most films have simple plots but no heart (main idea). We tend to RETURN to films that have a lot of heart! This was a gem from Alan Moore's book. BTW: I've taken a WONDERFUL course on character anatomy from Rad Sechrist and he gave me ANOTHER Ah-Ha moment. 99% of ALL cartoon/comic characters are based on these 3 character designs: 1) some variation of the "Ball and Bean" (Think Mickey Mouse), 2) some kind of "super-male", 3) and some kind of female. If you can draw ALL three of these well enough, then you're covered! Jeff Smith's Bone has them all!


Story
Save The Cat! The Last Book on Screenwriting You'll Ever Need
Save the Cat! Goes to the Movies: The Screenwriter's Guide to Every Story Ever Told
Save the Cat!® Strikes Back: More Trouble for Screenwriters to Get into ... and Out of
Alan Moore's Writing For Comics Volume 1
Making Comics: Storytelling Secrets of Comics, Manga and Graphic Novels
The 90-Day Novel: Unlock the story within

Theme/Moral/Message for Your Story
8,789 Words of Wisdom

Composition
Framed Ink: Drawing and Composition for Visual Storytellers
Dream Worlds: Production Design for Animation
Composition of Outdoor Painting
Vanishing Point: Perspective for Comics from the Ground Up
Extreme Perspective! For Artists: Learn the Secrets of Curvilinear, Cylindrical, Fisheye, Isometric, and Other Amazing Systems that Will Make Your Drawings Pop Off the Page
Picture This: How Pictures Work
The Thousandth Thumbnail

Create APPEALING Characters
Creating Characters with Personality: For Film, TV, Animation, Video Games, and Graphic Novels
Drawn to Life: 20 Golden Years of Disney Master Classes: Volume 1: The Walt Stanchfield Lectures
Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art
What Every BODY is Saying: An Ex-FBI Agent's Guide to Speed-Reading People

Necessary Info on Anatomy
Die Gestalt Des Menschen (German Edition)
Force: Dynamic Life Drawing for Animators
Force: Character Design from Life Drawing
Figure Drawing: Design and Invention
Figure Drawing for All It's Worth
Drawing the Head and Hands
Women's Strength Training Anatomy
Strength Training Anatomy, 3rd Edition
Dance Anatomy (Sports Anatomy)

Inspiring Books on Comics (or Related Fields)
The Art of Animal Character Design
The Art of Tangled
Reinventing Comics: How Imagination and Technology Are Revolutionizing an Art Form
Acting for Animators, Revised Edition: A Complete Guide to Performance Animation
Bone: The Complete Cartoon Epic in One Volume
Scott Pilgrim Bundle Volumes 1-6
Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Book 1
Amulet #3: The Cloud Searchers
Copper
The Complete Calvin and Hobbes
The Dragon Players (The Knights of the Lunch Table #2)
Blankets
Richard Stark's Parker: The Martini Edition
Watchmen
Batman: The Dark Knight Returns
The Complete Maus, 25th Anniversary Edition
The Contract with God Trilogy: Life on Dropsie Avenue (A Contract With God, A Life Force, Dropsie Avenue)
Anya's Ghost
Hellboy Library Edition, Volume 2: The Chained Coffin, The Right Hand of Doom, and Others
Habibi
Miss Don't Touch Me: Complete Set
Isaac the Pirate Set Vols.1-2

Products mentioned include:
Story
1.  Save The Cat! The Last Book on Screenwriting You'll Ever Need  by Blake Snyder
$11.57 Used & New from: $7.51
4.5 out of 5 stars   (690) | 2 customer discussions
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2.  Save the Cat! Goes to the Movies: The Screenwriter's Guide to Every Story Ever Told  by Blake Snyder
$17.46 Used & New from: $10.55
4.7 out of 5 stars   (96)
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3.  Save the Cat!® Strikes Back: More Trouble for Screenwriters to Get into ... and Out of  by Blake Snyder
$15.51 Used & New from: $10.00
4.7 out of 5 stars   (75)
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4.  Alan Moore's Writing For Comics Volume 1  by Alan Moore
$5.95 Used & New from: $3.64
3.9 out of 5 stars   (42) | 1 customer discussion
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5.  Making Comics: Storytelling Secrets of Comics, Manga and Graphic Novels  by Scott McCloud
$13.62 Used & New from: $9.62
4.8 out of 5 stars   (101)
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6.  The 90-Day Novel: Unlock the story within  by Alan Watt
$14.80 Used & New from: $6.58
4.6 out of 5 stars   (109)
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Theme/Moral/Message for Your Story
7.  8,789 Words of Wisdom  by Barbara Ann Kipfer
$8.39 Used & New from: $0.01
4.4 out of 5 stars   (44)
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Composition
8.  Framed Ink: Drawing and Composition for Visual Storytellers  by Marco Mateu-Mestre
$17.70 Used & New from: $14.84
4.8 out of 5 stars   (97)
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9.  Dream Worlds: Production Design for Animation  by Hans Bacher
$26.59 Used & New from: $21.68
4.6 out of 5 stars   (56)
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10.  Composition of Outdoor Painting  by Edgar Payne
Used & New from: $43.49
4.5 out of 5 stars   (54)
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11.  Vanishing Point: Perspective for Comics from the Ground Up  by Jason Cheeseman-Meyer
$15.74 Used & New from: $7.70
4.5 out of 5 stars   (69)
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12.  Extreme Perspective! For Artists: Learn the Secrets of Curvilinear, Cylindrical, Fisheye, Isometric, and Other Amazing Systems that Will Make Your Drawings Pop Off the Page  by David Chelsea
$15.14 Used & New from: $7.21
4.3 out of 5 stars   (13)
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13.  Picture This: How Pictures Work  by Molly Bang
$8.34 Used & New from: $4.33
4.4 out of 5 stars   (79)
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14.  The Thousandth Thumbnail  by Joko Budiono
Used & New from: $24.99
5.0 out of 5 stars   (8)
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Create APPEALING Characters
15.  Creating Characters with Personality: For Film, TV, Animation, Video Games, and Graphic Novels  by Tom Bancroft
$13.66 Used & New from: $4.89
4.6 out of 5 stars   (96)
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16.  Drawn to Life: 20 Golden Years of Disney Master Classes: Volume 1: The Walt Stanchfield Lectures  by Walt Stanchfield
$20.40 Used & New from: $18.91
4.8 out of 5 stars   (84)
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17.  Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art  by Scott McCloud
$12.98 Used & New from: $4.91
4.7 out of 5 stars   (248) | 1 customer discussion
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18.  What Every BODY is Saying: An Ex-FBI Agent's Guide to Speed-Reading People  by Marvin Karlins
$13.62 Used & New from: $6.96
4.5 out of 5 stars   (626)
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Necessary Info on Anatomy
19.  Die Gestalt Des Menschen (German Edition)  by Gottfried Bammes
Used & New from: $149.99
5.0 out of 5 stars   (10)
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20.  Force: Dynamic Life Drawing for Animators  by Michael D. Mattesi
$26.96 Used & New from: $21.88
4.7 out of 5 stars   (60)
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21.  Force: Character Design from Life Drawing  by Mike Mattesi
$27.81 Used & New from: $15.40
4.6 out of 5 stars   (10)
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22.  Figure Drawing: Design and Invention  by Michael Hampton
$24.72
4.8 out of 5 stars   (129) | 2 customer discussions
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23.  Figure Drawing for All It's Worth [Facsimile]  by Andrew Loomis
$26.99 Used & New from: $22.02
4.8 out of 5 stars   (129) | 2 customer discussions
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24.  Drawing the Head and Hands  by Andrew Loomis
$28.07 Used & New from: $21.99
4.3 out of 5 stars   (75)
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25.  Women's Strength Training Anatomy  by Frederic Delavier
$14.30 Used & New from: $0.01
4.2 out of 5 stars   (98)
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26.  Strength Training Anatomy, 3rd Edition  by Frederic Delavier
$13.37 Used & New from: $7.94
4.8 out of 5 stars   (392) | 1 customer discussion
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27.  Dance Anatomy (Sports Anatomy)  by Jacqui Greene Haas
$18.60 Used & New from: $13.99
4.8 out of 5 stars   (47) | 1 customer discussion
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Inspiring Books on Comics (or Related Fields)
28.  The Art of Animal Character Design  by David Colman
Used & New from: $119.93
4.1 out of 5 stars   (16)
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29.  The Art of Tangled  by Jeff Kurtti
$27.13 Used & New from: $19.27
5.0 out of 5 stars   (99) | 3 customer discussions
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30.  Reinventing Comics: How Imagination and Technology Are Revolutionizing an Art Form  by Scott McCloud
$18.04 Used & New from: $6.16
3.9 out of 5 stars   (42)
Add to cart  Add to wishlist
31.  Acting for Animators, Revised Edition: A Complete Guide to Performance Animation  by Ed Hooks
Used & New from: $3.00
4.9 out of 5 stars   (16)
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32.  Bone: The Complete Cartoon Epic in One Volume  by Jeff Smith
$29.03 Used & New from: $14.92
4.6 out of 5 stars   (259) | 5 customer discussions
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33.  Scott Pilgrim Bundle Volumes 1-6  by Bryan Lee O'Malley
Used & New from: $21.99
4.8 out of 5 stars   (273) | 2 customer discussions
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34.  Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Book 1  by Jeff Kinney
$7.88 Used & New from: $0.01
4.6 out of 5 stars   (1,169) | 12 customer discussions
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35.  Amulet #3: The Cloud Searchers  by Kazu Kibuishi
$10.27 Used & New from: $5.18
4.7 out of 5 stars   (92)
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36.  Copper  by Kazu Kibuishi
$9.98 Used & New from: $0.60
4.7 out of 5 stars   (22)
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37.  The Complete Calvin and Hobbes [Box set]  by Bill Watterson
Used & New from: $97.09
4.8 out of 5 stars   (960) | 22 customer discussions
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38.  The Dragon Players (The Knights of the Lunch Table #2)  by Frank Cammuso
$8.88 Used & New from: $0.01
4.7 out of 5 stars   (17)
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39.  Blankets  by Craig Thompson
$20.36 Used & New from: $7.15
4.6 out of 5 stars   (279) | 1 customer discussion
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40.  Richard Stark's Parker: The Martini Edition  by Darwyn Cooke
$47.31 Used & New from: $32.94
4.7 out of 5 stars   (14) | 1 customer discussion
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41.  Watchmen  by Alan Moore
Used & New from: $1.93
4.6 out of 5 stars   (1,341) | 35 customer discussions
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42.  Batman: The Dark Knight Returns  by Frank Miller
$13.30 Used & New from: $7.48
4.5 out of 5 stars   (789) | 8 customer discussions
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43.  The Complete Maus, 25th Anniversary Edition  by Art Spiegelman
$19.77 Used & New from: $15.76
4.6 out of 5 stars   (351) | 2 customer discussions
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44.  The Contract with God Trilogy: Life on Dropsie Avenue (A Contract With God, A Life Force, Dropsie Avenue)  by Will Eisner
$24.15 Used & New from: $13.75
4.8 out of 5 stars   (30)
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45.  Anya's Ghost  by Vera Brosgol
$11.88 Used & New from: $4.00
4.4 out of 5 stars   (105)
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46.  Hellboy Library Edition, Volume 2: The Chained Coffin, The Right Hand of Doom, and Others  by Mike Mignola
$31.48 Used & New from: $27.20
4.8 out of 5 stars   (21) | 1 customer discussion
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47.  Habibi  by Craig Thompson
$22.95 Used & New from: $14.46
4.3 out of 5 stars   (162) | 2 customer discussions
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48.  Miss Don't Touch Me: Complete Set  by Hubert
Used & New from: $99.98
4.0 out of 5 stars   (2)
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49.  Isaac the Pirate Set Vols.1-2  by Christophe Blain
$23.17 Used & New from: $17.95
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Author

Alex Bodnar (South Central LA, CA USA)
Qualifications: Art Teacher and Illustrator
Last updated: 3/26/12
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