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Making Comics: Storytelling Secrets of Comics, Manga and Graphic Novels Paperback – September 5, 2006
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Scott McCloud's Understanding Comics was published in 1993, just as "Comics Aren't Just for Kids Anymore!" articles were starting to appear and graphic novels were making their way into the mainstream, and it quickly gave the newly respectable medium the theoretical and practical manifesto it needed. With his clear-eyed and approachable analysis--done using the same comics tools he was describing--McCloud quickly gave "sequential art" a language to understand itself. McCloud made the simplest of drawing decisions seem deep with artistic potential.
Thirteen years later, following the Internet evangelizing of Reinventing Comics, McCloud has returned with Making Comics.
Designed as a craftsperson's overview of the drawing and storytelling decisions and possibilities available to comics artists, covering everything from facial expressions and page layout to the choice of tools and story construction, Making Comics, like its predecessors, is also an eye-opening trip behind the scenes of art-making, fascinating for anyone reading comics as well as those making them. Get a sense of the range of his lessons by clicking through to the opening pages of his book, including his (illustrated, of course) table of contents (warning: large file, recommended for high-bandwidth users):
From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Every medium should be lucky enough to have a taxonomist as brilliant as McCloud. The follow-up to his pioneering Understanding Comics (and its flawed sequel Reinventing Comics) isn't really about how to draw comics: it's about how to make drawings become a story and how cartooning choices communicate meaning to readers. ("There are no rules," he says, "and here they are.") McCloud's cartoon analogue, now a little gray at the temples, walks us through a series of dazzlingly clear, witty explanations (in comics form) of character design, storytelling, words and their physical manifestation on the page, body language and other ideas cartoonists have to grapple with, with illustrative examples drawn from the history of the medium. If parts of his chapter on "Tools, Techniques and Technology" don't look like they'll age well, most of the rest of the book will be timelessly useful to aspiring cartoonists. McCloud likes to boil down complicated topics to a few neatly balanced principles; his claim that all facial expressions come from degrees and combinations of six universal basic emotions is weirdly reductive and unnerving, but it's also pretty convincing. And even the little ideas that he tosses off—like classifying cartoonists into four types—will be sparking productive arguments for years to come. (Sept.)
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Top Customer Reviews
McCloud's book is engaging, thorough, concise, entertaining, and well-planned. It is clear that he put this together with a lot of passion and thought. The concepts are straightforward (if sometimes "dumbed-down" a bit), and he provides theories, concepts, and practical knowledge about making comics. This is a GREAT place for beginners.
To clarify, there are books out there about how to draw, but this is NOT one of them. This is designed to help you learn to tell a story using pictures, words, and impressions. There are drawing tricks and suggestions, but they are presented within the larger goal of teaching you to convey emotions and provide meaning. He does not give you a step-by-step guide of how to draw objects or people.
The emphasis of this book is to give you advice for flow, framing, transitions, angles, word use, combinations of words and pictures, and tools to need to provide a good balance of clarity and intensity so the reader will understand your meaning and empathize with it.
This book is a great place to start, it is a great reference, and his other books are also great references. If you want to kick your story up a notch, read Understanding Comics by McCloud, and use some of the tools he explains. It will allow you to use the tricks of the trade to convey deeper meaning.
The first two-thirds of the entire book are dedicated to the history/psychological analysis of comics; very little in terms of how to actually do anything. Great for history buffs, a waste of time for anyone looking to learn how to make comics. This is the same info McCloud wrote in his other book "Understanding Comics; The Invisible Art". Same books, different covers.
The last third part of the book McCloud finally starts to write about technique (briefly though as he again wanders off into the philosophy of Comics).
I did find a few useful pages which actually came close to a hands-on guide; where he showed examples of character facial expressions and when he wrote about the effect of different pens.
Don't get me wrong, McCloud is a good writer and illustrator. My gripe is that I was expecting more hands-on techniques on how to make comics, in other words a "How To" book instead of a "Comics Are..." book.
I found "How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way" by Stan Lee and John Buscema much more helpful in regards to actually make comics.
I wasn't sure if this book would be good or not, but Scott McCloud really knows what he is talking about! It's super straightforward and easy to understand. He will show you what makes a good comic, and give you for components and formulas for being able to convey what you want graphically! I really like it. Even if you don't like reading or drawing your own comics (who doesn't!?) it's pretty interesting to know that there is an actual art to making comics (it sounds like a pun but I don't intend for it to be! haha).