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Graphic Storytelling and Visual Narrative (Will Eisner Instructional Books) Paperback – August 17, 2008

4.7 out of 5 stars 28 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Indispensable techniques from the mind of the master cartoonist who developed them. --Jeff Smith, award-winning creator of Bone"

Will Eisner is the father of the medium a living legend who started it all. I am continually in awe. He makes me proud to be a cartoonist. --Judd Winick, award-winning creator of Pedro and Me and writer for Green Lantern"

About the Author

Will Eisner was born William Erwin Eisner on March 6, 1917 in Brooklyn, New York. By the time of his death on January 3, 2005, Will Eisner was recognized internationally as one of the giants in the field of sequential art, a term he coined. In a career that spanned nearly eight decades―from the dawn of the comic book to the advent of digital comics―Will Eisner was truly the 'Orson Welles of comics' and the 'father of the Graphic Novel'. He broke new ground in the development of visual narrative and the language of comics and was the creator of The Spirit, John Law, Lady Luck, Mr. Mystic, Uncle Sam, Blackhawk, Sheena and countless others. During World War II, Will Eisner used the comic format to develop training and equipment maintenance manuals for the US Army. After the war this continued as the Army's P.S. Magazine, which is still being produced today. Will Eisner taught Sequential Arts at the New York School of Visual Arts. The textbooks that he wrote based on his course are still bestsellers. In 1978, Will Eisner wrote A Contract with God, the first modern graphic novel. This was followed by almost 20 additional graphic novels over the following 25 years. The "Oscars" of the Comic Industry are called The Eisner Awards, and named after Will Eisner. The Eisners are presented annually before a packed ballroom at Comic-Con International in San Diego, America's largest comics convention. Wizard magazine named Eisner "the most influential comic artist of all time." Michael Chabon's Pulitzer-prize winning novel The Adventures of Kavalier and Clay is based in good part on Eisner. In 2002, Eisner received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Federation for Jewish Culture, only the second such honor in the organization's history, presented by Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Art Spiegelman.
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Product Details

  • Series: Will Eisner Instructional Books
  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company (August 17, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 039333127X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393331271
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 0.5 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #65,247 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By D. Robertson on January 25, 2003
Format: Paperback
As a veteran comic book illustrator (You can find my work here on Amazon.com; I am the CO-creator and artist of Transmetropolitan), I am often asked to recommend books to aspiring professionals in comic book illustration. In that case I always enthusiastically recommend any of Eisner's instructional books as essential reading for anyone serious about their craft and dreams of getting into the industry.
From the earliest work of his career, Will Eisner was an innovator in writing as well as illustration. Even in his twilight years the man is still a vigorous and creative artist producing work that pros as well as fans can't wait to get their hands on.
These books display his genius in an entertaining and easy to follow method, and if put to practice will inspire and reveal hidden keys to making your work truly professional grade. A great companion book to Eisner's "Comics & Sequential Art".
- Darick Roberston
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Format: Paperback
First off, Eisner does a great job of combining visual elements with his text in this book. The whole thing is illustrated with cavemen working on their storytelling technique, and I have to admit that the cavemen illustrations were great fun and always helped to clarify the how side of what he was saying in the text. Beautifully done. (Yes, I know, this is like saying, "Hey, y'know that Hemingway guy? Some of his stories were really good.")

Does it have any issues? Yes. It's 164 heavily illustrated pages. You can read it in an afternoon. And some of the illustrative pieces feel over-long for the point they are trying to prove. I hit the point on a couple of them where I found myself saying, "Yes, I get it. We needed the X in the beginning so we would understand Y now. Can we move on?" I also felt that, at 164 pages, he didn't really have the opportunity to go into depth on some areas. There's a point where he provided two bad examples of a comic script... and no good example. Aaaaah!

Even with those issues in mind, I have to give the book 4 caped crime-fighters out of five. It's well-written (though there are also some grammatical gaffs that make me want to scream), it's engaging, and it's instructive. Worth the read.
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Format: Paperback
Whether you just love comics or intend to start writing some yourself, you'll probably need a helping hand. Will Eisner might just be the right hand for you. As a true pro, who's been in the field since 1930, he might just have the kind of hints, tips and interesting details you need to know as a beginner. Graphic Storytelling will reveal to you the world of telling a story in drawings and words combined, the art of comics and caricature. In my very humble opinion, this book is one giant step forward for you, on the way of expressiong yourself on paper. And hei, if Neil Gaiman recommends it, who am I to say anything else?
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Length: 0:17 Mins
Telling a good story is an incredibly difficult. In this book, Will Eisner shares with readers some of things to be aware of when tackling storytelling using comics.

He talks about techniques to use to help build a more convincing story. This would include comic tools like lettering, building momentum, using visual clues and writing. Examples include how props (i.e. guns) are held to reveal human characteristics.

There are lessons on how to engage readers, how readers think and mistakes to avoid. These are followed with lots of comic strip examples -- including a selection from different comic artists. Unfortunately, they aren't captioned page by page like it was done on his other books. The comic examples are great, you know it but you don't know why they work.

The book doesn't really go in depth into all aspects of storytelling. There's no talk on character development, story arcs, conflict management and specific story elements and tools.

Overall, this is still a very useful book for anyone who's just starting out and thinking of drawing their own comics.

(More pictures are available on my blog. Just visit my Amazon profile for the link.)
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Eisner is one of the old pros who helped create the way sequential art is done. This book demonstrates the thinking that goes into producing sequential art, how to pace and create emotions in your audience. A must have for film artists, storyboard artists, comic and graphic novel artists and it opens new ways of thinking for illustrators and painters.
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This book's previous editions did not include the online world. I thought I had lost my earlier edition of this book so I nearly returned this newer edition (while it was still being delivered), having not seen anything on here about new information being added. I overlooked the smaller print that reads "INCLUDES new and updated MATERIAL," (so that's on me, hehe) but you have an option to search inside a "previous" edition of this book which needs to be updated to this version.

As for the book itself, it is a great resource and even more so now that it has newer information on web-based comics. BUT the sections on those comics, in THIS edition, although informative, are still a long way away from having everything a reader could ask for since web-comics are still rather new in comparison to printed comics.
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