I want to take a moment out to talk about some books that I find helpful during this process. Now let me just say that these books work for ME. The reason is because in addition to offering me useful information they also inspire me. I get geeked and excitied about drawing when referring to these books, and I believe that’s the key.

For the most part, in instructional books I look for a few things:

  1. Subject matter that will help me strengthen my weaknesses.
  2. Clear language and instruction, it’s important to explain techniques and terminology clearly.
  3. Examples that demonstrate the lessons they are teaching.
  4. Inspiration, I don’t know what it is for sure that inspires me but I believe it’s the art examples inside the book. However, it could be the design of the book…or both.  I have other comic drawing books that meet my first three criteria, but they don’t inspire me.

Here are the ones I’ve used the most:

How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way – This book is by Stan Lee and John Buscema. I purchased it when I was about 13 or 14 years old. Good thing I bought the hard cover ‘cause I’m still using it 30 years later. This book covers everything on how to draw comics, including inking. The chapter on composition has helped me the most. It has extremely clear examples of bad and good composition right next to each other.

Understanding Comics – This book is by Scott McCloud and is actually drawn as a comic book.  It provides a history on comics/sequential art but it has helped me most with story telling. I really like how it breaks down time with regards to the gutter between panels…good stuff.

Drawing Crime Noir for Comics and Graphic Novels – This book is by Christopher Hart. If your project has scenes at night, in dark seedy areas, with a criminal element, this is a must have. The rendered examples are outstanding! I’ve never been good at shading so the chapter on shadows has helped me immensely.

Vanishing Point – This book is by Jason Cheeseman-Meyer. I had been looking for books on perspective to help me with my environments. Finally I came across this one…thank God! It breaks down every type of perspective you need in very clear, understandable language. I use the chapter on two-point perspective the most.

The complete Idiots guide to Creating a Graphic Novel – This book is by Nat Gertler and Steve Lieber. It provides everything you need to know about creating comics. It focuses more on creating the book as a whole rather than drawing it. The chapters on scripts and publishing have really enlightened me.

I’ve always been one to use books to learn stuff on my own. When you have a moment, take a trip to your local book store and just hang out!