Drawing Words and Writing Pictures

Drawing Words and Writing Pictures Making Comics: Manga, Graphic Novels, and Beyond (Paperback)
by Jessica Abel and Matt Madden (amazon)

Drawing Words and Writing Pictures is a art class in a book, giving an overview of the process of creating comic books. It is divided up into themed chapters, so budding comics creators can explore topics like layout, inking, lettering, story development, and digital art. Each chapter has a suggested reading list for further study and exercises for students. A variety of examples was used throughout the book, ranging from Matt Feazell’s Cynicalman to the work of the Hernandez brothers. The examples showcase a wide variety of artists and styles, providing a good overview of a variety of historical landmarks in comics and current indie creators.

My main quibble with this book is that it mentions manga in the title, but there isn’t really much manga coverage or use of manga in illustrating comics storytelling other than a couple panels from Osamu Tezuka and Hiroaki Samura’s Blade of the Immortal. Manga has some unique artistic conventions and storytelling techniques and I would have liked to have seen a few pages address it. There also isn’t that much in the way of superhero coverage. That aside, art books tend to be very popular in libraries and I think most public libraries will want to add Drawing Words and Writing Pictures to their collection. It is a very solid resource for aspiring artists and reading this made me appreciate all the work that goes into creating comics.

There’s a companion web site available with resources for students and teachers using the book at http://www.dw-wp.com.

A review copy was provided by First Second.