Monday, September 1, 2014

Foundations in Comic Book Art by John Paul Lowe - Book Review

From the publisher: A comprehensive guide to creating and developing comic book and graphic novel art, from the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), one of the world's leaders in sequential arts instruction.

Artists seeking a way to break into the exciting world of sequential art first need to master the tools, techniques, and habits used by their favorite pencillers, inkers, and digital artists for creating dynamic, exciting comic artwork. In Foundations for Comic Book Art, the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD)—a leading force in art and design education—enlists one of its top instructors, John Paul Lowe, to provide aspiring comic book makers with a thorough primer for creative comics, featuring must-know concepts like contour drawing, mastering perspective, using photo-reference, and adding digital patterns. Examples from the works of SCAD faculty, alumni, and students are paired with Lowe’s easy-to-follow, step-by-step lessons and exercises for readers, demonstrating the vital processes all would-be sequential artists have to know before joining the ranks of the comic book–making elite.

As someone who can't draw, but admires those who can, I was particularly interested in reading through Foundations in Comic Book Art.  John Paul Lowe, a comic artist and instructor at the Savannah School of Art and Design, does a fine job focusing on which skills an artist needs to create a comic and how to apply them.

Rather being a how-to book on drawing, Lowe's book places an emphasis on drawing comics.  There are a lot of helpful illustrations demonstrating the techniques he discusses.  There are also pictures or screen-captures of computer programs, when those are discussed.  Finally, Lowe uses comic art from himself and others as examples and demonstration pieces.

Chapters in this book include: Learning to See; Perspective Basics; The Figure; Visual Problem Solving; Inking; Advanced Inking Techniques; and Software Applications in Comic Book Art.  This last chapter seems to be particularly appropriate to today's artist, as it shows ways to use technology to create drawings, and help in other areas.

If I wanted to learn to draw, I don't think this book would be helpful.  However, if I was already skilled in that area and wanted to specialize comic books, this Lowe's book would be a great help.  Foundations in Comic Book Art also functions like Lowe's textbook, and would make a great companion piece to Brian Michael Bendis's Words for Pictures.

This book is recommend to artists looking to create a career, or hobby, out of drawing comic books.

I received a review copy of this book from Crown Publishing and the Blogging for Books program in exchange for an honest review.

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