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Action! Cartooning Paperback – March 1, 2004
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This basic book of character creation and posing is one of the five books you should have at the beginning of your artistic journey. Loomis, Hamm, Emberley (yes, the simplicity of his work should not be dismissed.) and McCloud are the other authors.
I'd be considered a beginner/intermediate artist, and these benefited me greatly. Definitely work through this book before Fantasy! Cartooning. You can think of that book as an expansion pack rather than a sequel. Fantasy! Cartooning is merely tips on tweaking your style and filled with a bunch of example drawings. If you're on a budget, you can completely skip that book. (Though I still like it and keep it handy for reference.)
Now Action! Cartooning on the other hand is a goldmine of resources for beginners. He goes over everything from breaking down gestures and cartoon anatomy for beginners. Gives the basics on drawing Emotions and gives a nice resource of eye/nose/mouth styles to study. It's written to be easy to understand and filled with humor. He makes it fun!
This is a great crash course on Cartooning basics. It greatly helped improve my art and drawing from my imagination. Definitely pick this book up! Now I recommend doing some figure study before cartooning though. You really need a basic understand of human anatomy before starting cartooning. Trust me. Get some books for that as well. I picked up How to Draw the Human Figure and basically drew an assload of nude people for awhile before cartooning, and still do. It helps a TON.
Unfortunately, as a novice artist? This was only helpful in helping me draw the exact figures they have in the book. I can now walk through and recreate almost anything in the book but taking it to the next step? That's just not there for me.
I don't blame the book for this. It really is a great tool for getting to the next step in cartooning, but I guess I just needed something a little more basic.