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Making Comics

Making Comics

Making Comics

McCloud, Scott;  
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Product Description

Scott McCloud tore down the wall between high and low culture in 1993 with Understanding Comics, a massive comic book about comics, linking the medium to such diverse fields as media theory, movie criticism, and web design. In Reinventing Comics, McCloud took this to the next level, charting twelve different revolutions in how comics are generated, read, and perceived today. Now, in Making Comics, McCloud focuses his analysis on the art form itself, exploring the creation of comics, from the broadest principles to the sharpest details (like how to accentuate a character's facial muscles in order to form the emotion of disgust rather than the emotion of surprise.) And he does all of it in his inimitable voice and through his cartoon stand–in narrator, mixing dry humor and legitimate instruction. McCloud shows his reader how to master the human condition through word and image in a brilliantly minimalistic way. Comic book devotees as well as the most uninitiated will marvel at this journey into a once–underappreciated art form.

About the Author

Scott McCloud has been writing, drawing, and examining comics since 1984. Winner of the Eisner and Harvey awards, his works have been translated into more than sixteen languages. Frank Miller (Sin City, 300) called him "just about the smartest guy in comics." He lives with his family in southern California. His online comics and inventions can be found at Review

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 School Library Journal

Adult/High School–A follow-up to the author's Understanding Comics (Kitchen Sink, 1993) and Reinventing Comics (DC Comics, 2000), this volume uses the same graphic style and narrator to explain the technical aspects of creating comics. From the layout of each frame and the placement of words and characters to creating facial expressions, symbolism, and more, this highly detailed resource is for serious artists wishing to gain further technical knowledge. Every concept is broken down into its individual elements and thus is probably more than most casual readers would want to know. The book is well organized with a specific table of contents and an annotated bibliography and suggested reading list.–Corinda J. Humphrey, Los Angeles Public Library
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

To his earlier comics primers, Understanding Comics (1993) and Reinventing Comics (2000), McCloud adds an equally enlightening book demonstrating to aspiring comics artists "how words and pictures can combine to create effects that neither could create separately." Whereas similar instruction manuals focus on honing illustration techniques and give only a nod to storytelling basics, McCloud's systematic approach encompasses every aspect of comics creation, from character design and facial expression to the effective use of words and of tools, including computer technology. McCloud illustrates points with his own clear drawings as well as panels by dozens of the medium's esteemed artists. Three concluding essays on comics styles discuss Japanese manga, genres ranging from superhero tales to autobiography, and comics culture. The volume covers a lot of ground and always in comic-strip format that McCloud's mastery makes easy going. There's plenty of practical value here for neophyte and veteran artists alike; meanwhile, those content to just read other peoples' comics will have their appreciation of the medium enhanced. Gordon Flagg
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved