Customer Reviews: Graphic Storytelling and Visual Narrative (Will Eisner Instructional Books)
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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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on January 25, 2003
As a veteran comic book illustrator (You can find my work here on; 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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on March 4, 2007
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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on August 26, 2001
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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TOP 50 REVIEWERon January 23, 2009
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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on November 3, 2006
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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on January 30, 2012
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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on March 26, 2015
I love this book, both for the wonderfully drawn visuals as well as the philosophical principles of graphic storytelling. I'm a screenwriter and wanted to be a comic book artist as a kid. I can draw, but to me it's separate from writing. Nonetheless, this book contains a wealth of information, that equally applies to movies, and only makes me appreciate comic books and graphic novels even more when I read them today.
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on December 6, 2015
Some of the page-to-page layouts and transitions are needlessly tough to follow, but after a while you figure it out. It's a mental exercise that becomes very annoying when you pick up the other books in this series that suffer the same issue.
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on July 16, 2014
This book was a valuable insight into the skill it purports to cover. The fact a great master of the field took the time and trouble to write it is demonstrated in the love, specificity, contrast and depth of coverage, as well as the perspective and point of view you would expect from someone who has been called, "The Heart of the Field."

Worth every penny, and it taught this old, skilled fiction writer a few new tricks!

The Lone Comic TM
Defender of Creativity and Entertainment SM
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on September 27, 2011
This was required summer reading for my senior in high school. I tend to simply borrow summer reading books from the library and then be glad to return them. We are glad we purchase rather than borrowed this book because he is still looking at it. My other son found it interesting also. It is both informative and interesting.
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