Thursday, December 20, 2007

Leoartz's Link Collecter

A lot of artists have a list of their favorite art links on their website, but Leoartz probably has the cleanest most organized art links page I have ever seen.

Check it out!

Friday, December 14, 2007

So, you wanna make comics, eh? Part 2: WHAT

Q: Okay, wise-ass, I now possess a Fuckton™ of technical knowledge about anatomy, perspective, design, pacing, composition, lighting, and all that good stuff; what am I supposed to do now?

A: Well, Mr/Ms Rocket Surgeon, you gotta ask yourself a few questions.

Q: "Do I feel lucky?"

A: Well, do ya, PUNK?

Q: Yeah, that setup was telegraphed from a few miles away.

A: If you want more intelligent or original banter, you'll have to pay me.

Q: Speaking of that, are we just going to blather back & forth all day, or are you going to teach me something?

A: You don't like the banter?

Q: No, no, I love the banter. It may be the best banter I've ever had in my entire life. It's just that...if I had to choose between the banter, and learning about comics, I'd have to choose learning about comics.

A: Whoa, wait, let me get this straight. What you're saying is, you want the comics lesson.

Q: I'm afraid so. Is that something you can handle?

A: Look, I just died inside.

Q: You know the more perceptive readers will spot our "Taco Mail" State sketch-inspired dialogue, right?

A: I hope so.

Q: Can we get down to business?

A: Do we have to? Every time I sit down to work on this, I get sleepy. Like I am right now.

Q: Let's get it over with, then you can go to bed.

A: Okay. Here we go.

The questions you need to ask yourself this time around generally begin with "What", as the title of this essay so subtly suggests.

What is your comic going to be about?

Like it or not, there has to be a purpose to the comic. Stream-of-consciousness noodling is fine for sketching, but makes for a boring book. It's a good idea to have a subject, something that can be summed up in a sentence or three.

What is the story saying that hasn't already been said a hundred times over?

Let's face it: there's thousands and thousands of stories already out there. Why should someone pick up yours? Are you saying something new? If not, are you saying something old in a new way? Remember, your perspective is different from everyone else's.

What can people learn from this?

It can range from a general life lesson to an obscure factoid. But it has to relate to a character (preferably the main one). People don't identify with background fire hydrants, they identify with characters. If they learn about a character, they can learn something about themselves.

What media will you use?

Straight-up pencil, charcoal, pen & ink, crayon, colored pencils, markers, watercolor, gouache, dyes, varnishes, acrylic, oil, pastels, spray paint, tempera, blood, clay, plaster, photography, Photoshop, Illustrator, Painter, Draw, MS Paint (why would you do a silly thing like that?), collage, 3D Studio Max, Maya...the list is pretty endless. If you can photograph or scan it, you can use it in a comic.

What style of art will you use?

If you're really good, you can draw in a variety of styles. There are certain styles of art that go well with a certain type of story. For example, you wouldn't use the style of Charles Schulz to illustrate a crime/noir/horror comic. You'd get someone like Frank Miller or Mike Mignola to cover the page in shadows.

Here's a very, VERY small sampling of the styles cartoonists have these days. Notice the choices they make when the artwork is being made for black & white or full color printing.

What format will it be in?

A web comic or comic strip? A regular 32-page saddle-stitched 7" x 10" magazine? A mini-comic you've run off on the B&W photocopiers at Kinko's? Do you hope one day it could be a full 600+ page graphic novel, thicker than many phone books?

What kind of story do you want to tell?

This is probably the last thing you want to think about. The best way to go about it is to tell the story, then sticking a genre label to it. Here's a few genres to think about, along with a couple examples (just Google each to see what the deal is, I'm not including any more links):

Auto/Biographical (Buddha, Blankets, Fun Home, Maus)
War (Fax from Sarajevo, 300, Sgt Rock, Rifle Brigade)
Fun/ny Animal (Duck Tales, Spiral Bound)
Serious Animal (We3, Mouse Guard, Pride of Baghdad)
Journalism (Palestine, Safe Area Gorazde)
Superhero (you really don't need examples of this, do you?)
Adventure (Tintin, Leave it to Chance, Lone Wolf & Cub, Usagi Yojimbo, Groo)
Slice-of-Life/Drama/Relationships (Optic Nerve, Love & Rockets, La Perdida, Box Office Poison)
Fantasy/Mythology (Sandman, Castle Waiting, Fables, Bone)
Science Fiction (Global Frequency, Ronin, Akira, Heavy Metal)
Horror (Tales from the Crypt, Clive Barker's Tapping the Vein, Walking Dead)
Police Procedural/Mystery/Detective (Spirit, Whiteout, Kane, Scene of the Crime, From Hell)
Crime (Sin City, Desolation Jones, Torso, Criminal, Couriers, Brownsville)

Buddy Comedy (Quantum & Woody, Adventures of Barry Ween)
(you really don't need examples of this, do you?)
Political (Sanctuary, Transmetropolitan, Channel Zero)
Espionage (Queen & Country, Sleeper, Human Target)
Thriller/Suspense (Supermarket, The Escapist)
Religion (Chick Tracts)
Nerdery (PvP, MacHall/Three-Panel-Soul, Dork Tower)
Surreal/Abstract/Esoteric (Stray Toasters, Acme Novelty Library, Madman)
Dark Comedy (Johnny the Homicidal Maniac, the Tick, Lenore)
Violence (Battle Royale, Punisher)
Satire (MAD, Tales Designed to Thrizzle)
Childhood (Amelia Rules!, Sardine in Space)
Adolescence (American Born Chinese, Persepolis)
Western (Preacher, Loveless, Jonah Hex, Desperadoes)
History (Action Philosophers)

Who is your audience?

Okay, you got me, this isn't a "what" question. I qualified it earlier, so don't complain.

Let me tell you a secret: The audience is you. You're doing this to make yourself happy, first and foremost. You're doing it to entertain yourself, hoping you'll entertain others, and begging to make money from it.

Or maybe not those last two. Maybe you're doing it to keep yourself busy, never showing anyone, but at least you accomplished this.

There's a billion questions to ask yourself (and others), and every answer leads to new questions along the way. Every decision you make about the story can be challenged and changed, as well as your goals. The problem with that lies in second-guessing yourself to the point of indecision.

That's where the "Why" comes in, and it'll probably take me another month to figure that out.

Q: You lazy jerk! Why are you making us wait so damn long?

A: Asked and answered. Sheesh.

Friday, December 7, 2007

The American Elf Supersite

Indie comic artist James Kochalka, of Monkey Vs. Robot fame, has recently updated his website to include all his American Elf cartoons, for free.

While I'm not a big fan of autobiographical comics, I have to say the dedication of drawing a strip EVERYDAY for 9 years is pretty impressive.

I've spent about 2 hours reading through them, some are inane, some are confusing, some of them touching, and some are actually pretty funny. I don't want to make this into some kind of review thingy, but I think it's worth checking out. If anything the sheer amount of his prolificacy (is that a real word?) should be inspiring.

Oh, and Frank Miller is apparently a big fan of his stuff.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

New Look!

It took a while but the Sequential Salon blog now has a snazzy new header image! If any one can come up with a better blurb than "It's like prozac for the creatively downtrodden!" then please be my guest.

You can now also subscribe to this blog via email. Check out the widget to the right, under the Archive section.

The Sequential Salon now looks all professional like! Woohoo!

Monday, December 3, 2007

Weekend Project: Invisible Woman

Sue sure looks good even after popping out two kids doesn't she? D'you think she's on Atkins or South Beach?

Watching TINMAN on Sci Fi Channel, so's not that good.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The Howdunit Series

It seems I've been posting a lot of art reference stuff but not much for the writer. So here it is.

Here is a great collection of writer's reference books called the Howdunit Series.

It's more for the Crime, Murder, Mystery writer but I'm sure it will be helpful to some of us Fantasy and Sci-Fi genre junkies as well. I've never actually read the books (I flipped through one very quickly a long time ago) but it was recommended to me by one of the Bat-editors at DC Comics (Jordan Gorfinkel, I think?) Whether you want to know what the proper police procedure for arresting a suspect, how to track a missing person, or knowing the correct number of poison mushrooms it takes to kill a man, this series apparently has the answers.

deviantART Resources

You're probably familiar with the community artist's site known as deviantART, but did you know they had a Resources section? A lot of generous artists have uploaded textures, Photoshop brushes, pose reference, tutorials and more. In fact I gots me some purty nice splatter brushes and cloud brushes from this one guy's page.

The quantity is pretty overwhelming, and I haven't had a chance to check it all out but here is a good starting point.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


Posemanaics has a fairly good collection of computer generated figures you can use for reference or practice. You can scroll each figure in a 360 degree view and some figures have animation cycles such as walking and running.

It also offers excercises such as 30 Second Drawing, where it flashes a pose for 30 seconds and you must sketch it (Just like in the ol' days of art class).

It's a Japanese site but very English friendly.

Sequential Salon Update

Some what belated, but better later than never update. We had our first official meeting on November 3rd and it went quite well. Carlos and Bowie had a crack at my Cintiq, and Jeff was semi-comatose on my bed from his usual lack of sleep.

We all went around discussing our current personal projects. Bowie his web comic to be, Kain, Jeff his blog article on, So You Wanna Make Comics, Eh?, Carlos' fantasy comic, Title Pending and my fantasy comic, coincidentally also Title Pending.

The feedback I got was immensely helpful and I hope that everybody got something out of it too. I mean, I could have never been able to think of a chipmunk sidekick that can store massive amounts of deadly weapons in his cheeks by myself. Thanks guys!

The next meeting is tentatively on January 27th, 2008. Spread the word y'all and post some stuff from your projects on the blog.

See ya at the next meeting!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Friday, November 16, 2007

The "Complete" Syllabus for Cartoonists

(Original post here.)


Dr Betty Edwards, Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain.

Andrew Loomis:

Creative Illustration

Drawing the Head and Hands

Figure Drawing for all it's Worth

Successful Drawing

Walter Foster:

Okay, there's literally a hundred books available from Walter Foster Publishing that cover a wide range of subjects and techniques. Just look around, you'll find something you want.

George Bridgman:

The Best of Bridgman: Boxed Set (Contains Bridgman’s Life Drawing, The Book of a Hundred Hands, and Heads, Features and Faces).

Bridgman's Complete Guide to Drawing From Life

Constructive Anatomy

Drawing the Draped Figure

The Human Machine

Jack Hamm:

First Lessons in Drawing and Painting

Drawing the Head and Figure

Drawing Scenery: Landscapes and Seascapes

How to Draw Animals

Cartooning the Head and Figure

Drawing and Cartooning for Laughs

Burne Hogarth:

Dynamic Wrinkles and Drapery: Solutions for Drawing the Clothed Figure

Dynamic Light and Shade

Fritz Schider, An Atlas of Anatomy for Artists

Sarah Simblet, Anatomy for the Artist

Jeno Barcsay, Anatomy for the Artist

Gyorgy Feher and Andras Szunyoghy, Cyclopedia Anatomicae

Mark Edward Smith, The Nude Figure

Thomas Easley and Mark Edward Smith, The Figure in Motion

John Cody with Ron Tribell, Atlas of Foreshortening

Gary Faigin, The Artist's Complete Guide to Facial Expression

James McMullan, High Focus Drawing

Mike Mattesi, Force


Stan Lee and John Buscema, How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way

Scott McCloud:

Understanding Comics

Reinventing Comics

Making Comics

Will Eisner:

Comics & Sequential Art

Graphic Storytelling

Shop Talk


Bob Andelman, A Spirited Life and accompanying blog articles.

David Chelsea, Perspective for Comic Book Artists

Jeff Johnson, Draw Fight Scenes Like a Pro

Andy Smith, Drawing Dynamic Comics

Glenn Fabry, Muscles in Motion: Figure Drawing for the Comic Book Artist

Durwin S. Talon, Panel Discussions: Design in Sequential Art Storytelling

Mark Salisbury, Artists on Comic Art

Gary Martin, The Art of Comic Book Inking

Arthur Guptill, Rendering in Pen and Ink

Klaus Janson, The DC Comics Guide to Penciling Comics

Klaus Janson, The DC Comics Guide to Inking Comics

Mark Chiarello and Todd Klein, The DC Comics Guide to Coloring & Lettering Comics


Syd Field, Screenplay

William Goldman, Adventures in the Screen Trade

Truffaut, Hitchcock

Scott Meredith, Writing to Sell

W. Terrence Gordon, McLuhan for Beginners

Christopher Vogler, The Writer's Journey

Robert McKee, Story

Julius Schwartz and Brian M. Thomsen, Man of Two Worlds: My Life in Science Fiction and Comics


Dennis O'Neil,
The DC Comics Guide to Writing Comics

Alan Moore, Writing For Comics

Nat Gertler (editor), Panel One: Comic Book Scripts by Top Writers

Nat Gertler (editor), Panel Two: More Comic Book Scripts By Top Writers

Mark Salisbury, Writers On Comics Scriptwriting

Tom Root and Andrew Kardon, Writers On Comics Scriptwriting volume 2


Warren Ellis:

Come In Alone

From the Desk of Warren Ellis volume 1

From the Desk of Warren Ellis volume 2

Neil Gaiman, Gods & Tulips

Larry Young, True Facts: Comics' Righteous Anger

Dave Sim, Cerebus Guide to Self-Publishing

Kevin Tinsley, Digital Prepress for Comic Books

And now...Cheese.

Monday, November 12, 2007

The Science of Fighting

Fight Science is pretty damn interesting National Geographic show that explores various martial arts and weapons. It has excellent CG animation and fight demonstrations that will sure to spark the interests of any comic artist who loves good action fighting.

Link to website Fight Science.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Weekend Project: Elektra

Finished an illustration. Now, somebody give me a cookie.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Feeling Sketchy Pt. 4 - Demon Hunter Kain Sketch

Playing with a Wacom Cintiq while hanging with friends at the first Sequential Salon meeting.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

The Artist's Decision Tree

Our deepest insecurities diagrammed in a simple, uh...diagram. By Sheldon Cartoonist, David Kellett.

Friday, October 26, 2007

So, you wanna make comics, eh? Part 1: HOW

This is basically a rant I posted on the Comic Book Resources message board, in the You'll All Be Sorry section. The discussion was Wizard Entertainment's How To Draw Comics books. Go here for the full context. I've added many links and clarified a few ideas.

Before I begin the lecture, let me tell you my credentials. I graduated from the School of Visual Arts in 2000 with a BFA in Cartooning. Among my teachers were Carmine Infantino, Sal Amendola, Jack C. Harris, Tom Palmer, and Klaus Janson. Will Eisner, Harvey Kurtzman, art spiegelman, and Walt Simonson used to teach there. Joe Quesada (EIC at some company called Marvel) graduated from there, as did Patrick McDonnell (Mutts comic strip). Becky Cloonan (indie artist extraordinaire) was a year behind me. Khary Randolph (TMNT & Boondocks style guides, Spiderman & Teen Titans Go!) was in my classes. I'd estimate 1/5 of the people working in the comics industry (artists, editors, production artists, colorists, letterers) had some education at SVA.

Q: But Jeff, if you're so damned self-righteously qualified, how come you're not drawing comics?

A: Because right after graduation, I had to deal with a Fuckton™ of personal issues and pretty much forgot everything I learned, then lost the will to draw, fell into a deep depression, etc, etc.

(Fuckton™ 2006 Kevin Church.)

Q: Geez, you artist types are a temperamental bunch.

A: Tell me about it.

Lately, I've been feeling the itch to draw again. Although I was creatively dormant, I did not stop searching for information. I'm going to share a few ideas, and list many books for you to look up. Ready?


Pay attention in art class, and ask your teacher for help.

In order to learn how to draw, you must learn how to see. Therefore, draw from life. If you can't draw from life, draw from photos.

If you're going to draw, draw every day.

Ask a friend to sit still for a while and draw him. Don't get discouraged, don't worry about mistakes, don't worry if your model moves. Use your whole arm, not just your wrist and fingers. Use as much time as you can.

Pick up Dr. Betty Edwards book Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain. I read this book a few months ago. Great googley moogley, it sure did make a few synapses fire. Dr. Edwards covers the physical and mental processes of drawing (how the brain works when drawing), as well as a bit of art history. She also covers proportions, perspective, texture, light & shading, color, space, and composition. You don't need a PhD to understand the book. Take it slowly if you need to.

Now that you're pretty good at Seeing, it's time to get a bit more technical. You have to start Knowing. Specifically, human anatomy. As hinted at, there are Fucktons™ of anatomy books.

Alex Dragon made a few great recommendations, and anti-recommendations. Artists Walter Foster, George Bridgman, Jack Hamm or Andrew Loomis are masters. Avoid Christopher Hart and Burne Hogarth. They both have warped senses of reality and proportion.

Originally Posted by Alex Dragon
Basically you don't want to learn to draw from comics.
There's a few Fucktons™ of Truthiness in that.

Q: You like saying "Fucktons™" a lot, don't you?

A: You bet I do. I try using it everyday, in normal conversation. Moving along...

There's a good book called An Atlas of Anatomy for Artists by Fritz Schider. It combines photo reference, sequential frames from film of moving figures, studies from Michelangelo (and other Turtles/Artists). It uses male and female models, ranging from ages 4 to 19, so you get a good range of anatomical development.

Alex also mentions that you avoid "the big thick expensive anatomy books. Most of them have way too much info that you'll most likely will never need or use." He's right, for the most part. I have two, and I got them for free. There's another that I bought, that's loaded with photo reference with transparent overlays. It's called Anatomy for the Artist by Sarah Simblet. It's a really beautiful book, full of very healthy & athletic models. I really recommend it.

The other two I have are Anatomy for the Artist by Jeno Barcsay, and Cyclopedia Anatomicae by Gyorgy Feher and Andras Szunyoghy. The latter features indepth studies of many animals, like horses, dogs, cats, and others. This book is HUGE. I love it.

Q: You forgot the accent marks on those authors names.

A: Please. You're lucky I tried to spell them right. I'm not opening up Windows Character Map for this.

Q: All this talk about anatomy is killing my need to draw titties.

A: 90% of the books I'm telling you about has many pictures of naked women.

Q: Only 90%?

A: Actually, it's probably less than that. More like 60%.

Q: Dang.

A: Trust me, there are LOTS of naked women in these books. It makes up for the other 40%.

Q: It better!

A: Dude, the next three books are 90% naked women. I'm not lying this time.

Q: What's the other 10%?

A: Naked guys.

Q: AWWWW, you mean I can see their wang flopping around?

A: Eh, you'll get used to it. After four years of life drawing classes, simple nudity will stop affecting you. Now be quiet.

The Nude Figure by Mark Edward Smith, The Figure in Motion by Thomas Easley & Mark Edward Smith, and the Atlas of Foreshortening by John Cody with Ron Tribell.

Q: I'll bite. What makes these books so great?

A: For starters, it's all photo reference, full of healthy, athletic models. They are all in great poses at different angles. You know all that anatomy you just learned? These books show you more about how they interact with each other, with the skin over the muscles. You get to see all the "landmarks."


A: Turn to pages 79-81 of The Nude Figure.

Q: *drools*

A: Are you done questioning me?

Q: Yes, sir. Sorry, sir.

Since we're now looking at more surface detail as opposed to the underlying structure, I'll bring up Alex's other good point:

Originally Posted by Alex Dragon
Buy a couple of Muscle mags to get a understanding of what exaggerated muscles look like on a figure.
This is good because it's still actual human anatomy, and not some freak experiment from Rob Liefeld's laboratory. You can learn how to apply the steroid-fueled anatomy to the poses from the other books.

Q: Yeah, but those muscle mags...the women scare me.

A: It's okay, just think happy thoughts.

Q: Pages 79-81...

A: That's the Spirit.

Q: I've heard of him.

A: I'll get to that soon.

There are three other books that are just about drawing I think you should consider. The first is The Artist's Complete Guide to Facial Expression by Gary Faigin. If you're really into drawing in the anime style, this will help you immensely. You know how lots of artists use emotional shorthand, like the throbbing X veins on the forehead, or the giant teardrop? Those people are lazy. It saddens me that we have to resort to using multiple symbols to convey emotion instead of just drawing it right in the first place.

But if that's your bag, then fine. I won't bitch about it any more.

The next two books deal with the same concept, energy in drawing. One is called High Focus Drawing (which seems to be out of print) by James McMullan, an instructor at SVA, who came up with the department within the department. The other is called Force by Mike Mattesi. I took the HFD class, and had a bit of trouble getting it at the time. Towards the end of the year, I made some breakthroughs. If you want your characters to breathe, to jump off the page, you may want to give it a look.

Now, let's talk about comics specifically.


Q: FINALLY! You're a wordy bastard, aren't you?

A: It depends on the subject. I'm usually the quiet type.

The rest of the books I'm going to cover overlap in subject matter, because they are specifically about the Art of Comics. I'll try to make this as easy as possible.

How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way by Stan Lee and John Buscema is a GREAT overview of the creative process, even if it is outdated in parts and very basic in terms of the different aspects of cartooning.

Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud gives you the history of Comics, by way of an art history lesson. Comics have been around since at least 1300 BC, in the form of Egyptian hieroglyphics. As Will Eisner said, "UC is a landmark dissection and intellectual consideration of comics as a valid medium. Everyone...anyone interested in this literary form must read it."

McCloud's follow up book, Reinventing Comics isn't really necessary, but it's still a very interesting discussion. His most recent book, Making Comics, is extremely helpful regarding storytelling techniques (specifically from "indie" comics and manga) and other aspects of comic creation.

Q: Will Eisner...I've heard of him. He did that Spirit guy, right?

A: Oooh, lordy, that ain't all he did. Will was the first guy to really examine what can be done with comics. He practically invented the graphic novel. He wrote the first textbooks on how to properly tell stories through comics. The first is Comics & Sequential Art, the second is called Graphic Storytelling. Another book he wrote was a collection of discussions with many artists about the medium called Shop Talk. I also recommend reading his biography A Spirited Life. You get a good idea as to how influential he was on the industry during the Golden Age. I'd also suggest reading Eisner/Miller, where the two artists talk about the medium. It's not nearly as vital, but hearing two legends talk about the craft is pretty damn cool.

Q: I take it Will is an important guy.

A: You don't know the half of it.

Klaus Janson used to hammer into our heads every week in class, that storytelling hinges on two elements: Clarity, and Entertainment. This is Eisner's lessons distilled into a sound bite. It's something to keep in mind while you're at the drawing board. In order for other people to understand the story, things must be done clearly and effectively. If something doesn't make sense, there's risk of losing the reader. Once you've got clarity, then work on making it look interesting, make it look entertaining. The story can be as clear as day, but if it's boring, the reader is already mashing buttons on his Xbox controller.

Now, for something more technical, I offer Perspective for Comic Book Artists by David Chelsea.

Q: Oh, my head.

A: It's cool, trust me. Like Scott McCloud in Understanding Comics, he teaches you about perspective by telling you about it in the form of a comic story. Will Eisner was the first person to use comics as a teaching tool, while he was in the Army during WWII.

Q: Okay, I get it, Eisner is very important.

A: They didn't name an award after him for nothing, you know.

Let me get back to some good points from another poster:

Originally Posted by Samurai
Jeff Johnson's book "Draw Fight Scenes Like a Pro" because it had a lot of stuff that my other books didn't cover...Andy Smith's "Drawing Dynamic Comics"...
I don't actually own those books. Yet. I've looked them up, and they seem pretty good, especially Jeff Johnson's.

Also worth a look at is Muscles in Motion: Figure Drawing for the Comic Book Artist by Glenn Fabry.

Up next is Panel Discussions: Design in Sequential Art Storytelling by Durwin S. Talon. This book examines the work of a few great artists (and editors). It has really interesting discussions about their thinking processes. Mike Mignola, Walter Simonson, Brian Stelfreeze, Mark Chiarello, and, you guessed it...

Q: Will Eisner?

A: Bingo.

Q: Are you...okay?

A: I have a massive man-crush on Will Eisner, may he rest in peace. No, I'm not okay.

Artists on Comic Art by Mark Salisbury is also a good idea for artists to take a look at.

Artist Gary Martin has put out a couple of books on The Art of Comic Book Inking. I have the first two volumes; I think there was a third. There are quite a few contributors to these books, all pros working in the field today. There are many techniques discussed, and many misconceptions are cleared up; ie, they're not tracers. Another book about ink technique, Rendering in Pen and Ink by Arthur Guptill, looks pretty damn interesting. I'll have to check that one out.

The next four are from the DC Guide(s) to: Writing, Penciling, Inking, and Coloring & Lettering Comics.

Q: Why do I need to know about the writing, lettering, and coloring?

A: Because you need to know what the other collaborators are doing to make the best product possible. Denny O'Neil wrote the guide to writing, Klaus Janson wrote Penciling & Inking books. Mark Chiarello and Todd Klein wrote the Coloring & Lettering book. The latter deals with how computer technology is used to make comics look so darned pretty, and why computers are so important to comics today.


If you just want to write comics, you should write other stuff too.

If you're going to write, write every day.

I would definitely recommend the Will Eisner books, Understanding Comics, and the four DC Guides. You should also have one good anatomy book, so when you're describing a character's action, or writing an operation scene, you know what you're talking about.

Denny O'Neil has a great list of books on writing, not just for comics. Fortunately, he's listed them in the back of his DC Guide to Writing, so I don't have to rummage through a Fuckton™ of old school papers to find it. He suggests the following:

Screenplay by Syd Field
Adventures in the Screen Trade by William Goldman
Hitchcock by Truffaut
Writing to Sell by Scott Meredith
McLuhan for Beginners by W. Terrence Gordon
The Writer's Journey by Christopher Vogler
Story by Robert McKee
Man of Two Worlds: My Life in Science Fiction and Comics by Julius Schwartz and Brian M. Thomsen

He also recommends Comics & Sequential Art, and Graphic Storytelling by Will Eisner; and Understanding Comics and it's addition/sequel Reinventing Comics by Scott McCloud. (What a surprise.)

There are a few other books that are just for writing comics:

Alan Moore's Writing For Comics

Panel One: Comic Book Scripts by Top Writers
Panel Two: More Comic Book Scripts By Top Writers
Writers On Comics Scriptwriting by Mark Salisbury
Writers On Comics Scriptwriting volume 2 by Andrew Kardon


True Facts: Comics' Righteous Anger by Larry Young (the grand poobah of AiT/PlanetLar comics publisher). It's a small book, but it's one of the best things you'll ever read.

Cerebus Guide to Self-Publishing by Dave Sim. If you can find this little book, get it. Call him what you want (for starters: misogynist right-wing lunatic), he's done the self-publishing thing for a LONG time, and he knows a little bit about the process.

Digital Prepress for Comic Books by Kevin Tinsley. This book goes into great detail about the physical printing process, and gives tips on avoiding mistakes for digital files. With Direct-to-Plate offset printing technology, the errors are much less common, but they still can happen. It's best to consider Murphy's Law and prepare in advance. Some things in this book are confusing or even contradictory, but it's still good to have an idea of what printing is about.

ADDENDUM (11/10/07):

Q: So, jerk-face, now that you've had time to think and discuss this topic with others, is there anything else you'd like to add to the syllabus?

A: As a matter of fact, there are a few things. In fact, someone just brought up the first one...

We'll start with a trio of essay collections by Warren Ellis.

Come In Alone
was a weekly, year-long column written for Comic Book Resources from December 3, 1999 to December 29, 2000. Warren's a funny, grumpy bastard, and he writes comics that you generally want to read over & over again.

Q: Grumpy, huh? Anything like your miserable ass?

A: He makes me look like a Care Bear.

Q: A Godless Killing Machine?

A: Not exactly, but close. May I continue?

Then there's From the Desk of Warren Ellis volumes ONE and TWO. These short books contain more rant-y essays written between 1995 and 1999.

Next is Neil Gaiman's Gods & Tulips. Kick $3 over to the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund and read some interesting thoughts on the comics industry.

Now I'd like to somewhat retract an earlier statement regarding the work of Burne Hogarth. While I stand by the fact that his proportions are a bit distended, he's still a brilliant artist when it comes to two subjects: Light and Shade, and Wrinkles and Drapery. While I have all of his books, these are the only two I can recommend. If you decide that you like what you see, then flip through the others and chose for yourself.

That's it, really. Any more questions?

Q: Yeah. All this stuff is really expensive. Can I just borrow your books?

A: ...

Sure, why not. Everyone else does.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Hands, hands hands

A large collection of drawn hands to practice from. There are a total of 20 images you can download from a zip.

Download zip here.

Feeling Sketchy Pt. 3 - Demon Hunter Kain group pinup

This pinup has preliminary character designs so when I finally get off my lazy butt and do this comic, don't expect to see the same characters.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Feeling Sketchy Pt. 2 - Slow Work Day

Slow work day. When will 5pm come? Played with a pencil and photoshop to pass the time.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Andrew Loomis

Some of you already know who this guy is. Many artists, like Neal Adams and Alex Ross, recommend his instructional books. Unfortunately, they are all out of print and a tattered copy of Figure Drawing for All It's Worth can go around $60-$100 on eBay. Fortunately, somebody scanned all the pages and made it available for free for all us cheapskates.

Click here for Loomis Books

Some of you who took Sal Amendola's class will notice some familiar stuff.

If you'd like to know more about the artist, here is an article with some links to more information.

lines and colors: Andrew Loomis article

I'm lucky enough to own my very own copy of Creative Illustration and it is very edumacational, especially the stuff about composition. Where did I get my copy? ebay? Bud Plant? Believe it or not I bought it off the street from a homeless lady for $20. She said she found it in the trash. Score!!!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

High Quality Scans of Full Metal Alchemist Art Books

There are also scans and screenshots of other anime/manga titles too. Check it out.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Go Media's Arsenal: Free Textures, Brushes, Vector Art and More.

Go Media is a design studio which offers your funkier than average royalty free art at Go Media's Arsenal. Calling it Professional Design Weaponry, they have a multitude of interesting vector art, textures, brushes, animation and fonts at a fairly affordable price ($15 a pop for their cheaper sets). If you're not willing to pay for their stuff (who are we kidding we're a bunch of cheap bastards) they have a great freebies section. All they ask is to link to their site if you use 'em. They also have a tutorial section which seems worth looking at.

Feeling Sketchy Pt. 1 - Why some infants cry for no reason

I had a twisted idea for a future story dealing with SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). Infants can supposedly see what we can't so I'll let your imaginations run wild with this sketch.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Seam Carving

As artists, we're always looking for tools to play with. Here's a new one that can come in handy for manipulating our reference photos. It's called Seam Carving.

Download the software here.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

The Idea

Welcome to the Sequential Salon. This blog was created for aspiring comic artists (that's us) to share each other's current comic projects, to help us keep motivated and excited about our work and to bring back that sense of camaraderie and community.

I'm assuming everyone has read my email because how else would you know about this blog. Anyway, let me reiterate what my goal is for the Sequential Salon:

We gather in person once every 4 months, we talk, give feedback on each other's work and help each other stay motivated.

We make goals for our projects and try to meet them by encouraging, sharing and supporting each other regularly.

We share resources and information. If we see any cool tutorials, helpful websites, discover any cool art or artists, events, job opportunities, or just something awesomely inspirational we'll share it here.

We'll do creative exercises like '24 hour comics' (or variations of it) and post it online.

Lame? Maybe. If you can think of ways of making this more successful and interesting to you please post your ideas!