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How Comics Work Paperback – October 2, 2017
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From the Publisher
The Originals was written as a movie script, focusing solely on the dialogue. Dave then annotated this dialogue with visual thumbnails of panels that would best fit the text...In this final version of a page [drawn from two pages of dialogue] only the caption, 'The Originals', was left in, creating a powerful effect. As Dave explains, 'I tend not to use too many caption boxes in my writing, and they should never be too descriptive. They can say, ‘In another part of town . . . ,’ but they shouldn’t say, ‘As Jim came down the stairs he noticed the light coming from the hallway,’ because that’s a picture! It’s the old adage of ‘Show it, don’t tell it.’ Equally, don’t have characters describing what you can see for yourself'.
The original design for Martha Washington’s outfit in Give Me Liberty (1990) was based around an old US cavalry uniform.
This fit the story’s theme of a second American Civil War.
Dave’s training as a building surveyor means that he finds believable backgrounds quite easy to draw. 'I know how a house is built, how thick the walls are, and how the frames and fittings work on a door . . . I constructed all the sets in Watchmen using three-point perspective, knowing the eye levels, heights, distance, scaling, and so on.'
Image: The Originals, page 2 original art.
How Comics Work is the next best thing to an actual apprenticeship with Dave Gibbons.―ICv2, ICv2
A hell of a read.―Comic Bastards, Comic Bastards
Essential reading.―Garth Ennis, co-creator of Preacher, The Boys, Crossed, Hitman and writer of Hellblazer and The Punisher, Garth Ennis
Dave Gibbons teaches you scriptwriting, page layouts, lettering, cover designs – everything you need to create your own comic. You're learning from the best here.―Gary Evans, CreativeBloq
About the Author
Dave Gibbons, a Will Eisner Hall of Fame nominee, is one of the most famous comic creators working today, with over 40 years experience, having worked for every major publisher in the US and UK. He is most famous for his collaborations with Alan Moore, including Watchmen, and was last year named Britain’s first comics laureate. Throughout this insightful course are real-life examples of Gibbons’ art, revealing how he solved actual problems with practical solutions, and yielding unique behind-the-scenes insights into the creative process. All of the examples are scanned from original artwork, sketches, and preparatory designs, many of which have never been published before. Learn the stages of layout and page planning via the initial designs of Give Me Liberty; discover Gibbons’ handy tips for lettering using never-before-seen examples from The Originals; and find out the secrets of successful writing with sample scripts from The World’s Finest and The Secret Service.
Tim Pilcher is a pop culture expert and has worked in and around the comics industry for over twenty years as a writer and editor. He initially started as an assistant editor at DC Comics' Vertigo imprint. He was associate editor on the trade paper, Comics International. He has written comics for the BBC, DeAgostini, Weldon Owen, and the Young Telegraph, and has worked for numerous book publishers, including Penguin Children's Books and Dorling Kindersley. Pilcher has written over sixteen books on comics, including the bestselling Erotic Comics: A Graphic History, Comic Book Babylon, The Little Books of Vintage... series, The Complete Cartooning Course, and The Essential Guide to World Comics with Brad Brooks. He has also contributed to numerous other books including Comix: The Underground Revolution, 500 Comicbook Action Heroes, The Slings and Arrows Comic Guide (1st Edition), 500 Essential Graphic Novels and War Comics: A Graphic History. He has lectured on comics at Reading University, UCL, The ICA, Dublin Trinity College, The Imperial War Museum, and The British Library. He is the UK liaison for international graphic novel publisher, Humanoids. He occasionally updates his intermittent blog, Sex, Drugs and Comic Books
- Publisher : Wellfleet (October 2, 2017)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 192 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1577151577
- ISBN-13 : 978-1577151579
- Item Weight : 1.9 pounds
- Dimensions : 9 x 0.75 x 10.25 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #363,131 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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There are loads of sketches from his work on GREEN LANTERN, WATCHMEN, MARTHA WASHINGTON, THE ORIGINALS and more.
The design tends to dedicate the double-page spreads to one topic or aspect of the process. Script writing, Logo design, lettering, coloring, character design and visual storytelling are all covered. Dave Gibbons also shows respect to the trail-blazers of the medium as he cites his influences.
Gibbons's advice is cogent and to the point, describing smart methods that will help sharpen your game and save you time and trouble. Also included are several "influences" pages, showcasing the work of great creators Gibbons has learned from over the years. And, of course, there are abundant examples throughout of his own beautiful work -- both finished and in-process -- to helpfully illustrate his points.
Dense but highly readable, this is a book I'll return to and peruse often -- and so should you!
Dave Gibbons is a legend in comics. When legends speak, it’s worth hearing what they have to say.
- A living legend shares his process for creating comics
- Straightforward organization of information
- Best practices that are valuable for beginners and veterans
- May read as “thin” to anyone wanting detailed step-by-step instructions
- Advice on digital processes a little behind the times
There are a host of books about the comics process, and I’ve read a number of them. “How Comics Work” is a solid primer for beginners, as well as a useful resource for veterans who might want a little kick in the pants to get out of their habits.
It is decidedly not a detailed how-to or step-by-step instruction manual—a fact that may frustrate some readers. That said, the internet is awash with material that can fill in the gaps. While I’d love to see Dave Gibbons expand on his practices, that’s not what he gives us here.
This is a process book. Specifically, it’s Gibbons’s storytelling process from ideation, through sketches, pencils, inks, lettering, and layout. Another Amazon reviewer wrote (with some frustration) that it should have been titled “How Comics Work — for Dave Gibbons.” There’s a lot of truth there, and perhaps the title does oversell it a little. But it doesn’t change the fact that Gibbons is a master of the form. We should absolutely want to know how comics work for one person, if the person in question is uniquely and intensely talented.
“How Comics Work” has a great layout and structure. I can easily imagine an artists finding themselves stumped mid-process—maybe working a tricky page payout—and saying “What was it that Gibbons said?” and then jumping to that chapter.
His examples are well-curated, pulling from a long back catalog of titles. Obviously we all would have enjoyed a “how I made Watchmen” book, but it only gets the occasional reference. Maybe it’s a usage rights issue. Maybe he’s just sick of being known as “the Watchmen guy.” Either way, I enjoyed being introduced for the first time to some hidden gems.
While Gibbons’s advice on character design, sketching, and all things analog is solid, he’s on shakier ground when it comes to digital. This is where co-author Tim Pitcher or an editor could have stepped in a little to provide some cover, or perhaps the whole issue could have been sidestepped.
“How Comics Work” is not the be-all end-all book on making comics. I doubt such a book exists. But it’s a powerful reference tool and source of inspiration for the motivated comics creator.
Chapter headings include scriptwriting, sequential storytelling, lettering, and design. Within these are subjects like page markup, character and costume design, and pacing and movement. Dave Gibbon's years of experience in the industry shines through with lots of examples from his own work on titles like The Watchmen. Each chapter includes an article about an influence on Dave in that area, so there is Wally Wood for art and Frank Miller for storytelling.
I've read a few books on comics art, but not one that lays out everything from the script to the front cover. The writing is good and the included illustrations really show what's involved. I really enjoyed reading this one.
I received a review copy of this ebook from Quarto Publishing Group - Wellfleet Press, and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you for allowing me to review this ebook.