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HouseStark 07-14-2014 07:10 PM

Required Reading for Aspiring Creators
I created this thread to share links to articles, books, or websites that I think aspiring creators MUST read. I wish there was this much content available back in the day when I first dabbled in creating comics. Thank you, Internets. What's your favorite site for aspiring comic book creators?

This one just made my list today.

Comics Survival Kit by Gail Simone on Tumblr: How to become a pro, and how to maintain that position once you have attained it.

gummahfan 07-14-2014 09:17 PM

What an incredible resource. I'm definitely going to make my way through this site when I have time (if I ever have time).

I'm usually working on stuff when I get home, but during work I usually go to podcasts to feed my comic love. I have run into some comic making podcasts, but I find I get much more inspiration hearing from actual comic creators. Fatman on Batman has some great ones and recently I started picking a few Let's Talk Comics! episodes.

Steven Forbes 07-14-2014 09:58 PM

I hate these, because it makes me sound self-serving. I hate sounding self-serving.

Anyway, here goes:

My column, Bolts & Nuts. Very writer-heavy, but it goes into tons of things that most books and sites don't.

My other column, The Proving Grounds. Exclusively for writers, where their work is gone edited every week by two editors (myself and either Samantha LeBas and Steve Colle, who switch out every week). If you want to submit, read a few entries first. It ain't called "the proving grounds" fer nuthin'!

There's also the column my partner writers, Comix Counsel. Chock-full of info in there concerning things like Kickstarter, finances, submitting to companies, and other things not easily found elsewhere.

All of this and more can be found at my site, ComixTribe.

And that ends my commercial.

B-McKinley 07-15-2014 04:52 AM

Jason Brubaker's Unnatural Talent which is a book form version of his ReMIND blog.

Dirk Manning's Write or Wrong which is again the collected in print version of the Write or Wrong columns at Newsarama.

Those both look at creating comics as a whole with a focus on self-publishing.

Also focused on self-publishing is How to Self Publish Comics: Not Just Create Them by Josh Blaylock. I wish there had been more like these when starting out. Back then it was all about drawing or writing, but there is so much more to creating than those two skills.

For Must Read, I'd start with Understanding Comics and Making Comics by Scott McCloud.

For artists specifically Perspective for Comic Book Artists is also required reading.

Alyssa 07-15-2014 06:16 AM

If Steven had waited, he wouldn't have had to self-promote. I highly recommend the info on ComixTribe, particularly if you want to be a writer/creator.

I also like the tutorials on Blambot website. Obviously, the articles are more geared towards lettering, though there is an article on script format.

Newt 07-15-2014 09:31 AM

For artists:

Figure Drawing for All its Worth by Andrew Loomis

Probably the most accessible and practical figure-drawing manual. Constructive Anatomy by George Bridgeman is also good, but a little more difficult to understand.

Rendering in Pen and Ink by Arthur Guptill

The classic ink rendering book, laden with both great advice and great examples from the heyday of black-and-white book and magazine illustration. It is not about comic book inking at all, but I think that's a good thing; "traditional" comic book inking is very restricted, and it pays (for both inkers and pencillers) to be aware of some of the many other techniques out there.

Artistic Anatomy by Paul Richer

A fantastic artists' anatomy guide from the days when such things were taken seriously. There are other good semitechnical anatomy books out there, this is just the one I favor.

Not required reading, but very helpful nonetheless:

Imaginative Realism by James Gurney

Gurney shows you how to use real-life reference, props, maquettes, etc. to create realistic illustrations of things you cannot simply look at and draw, whether ancient civilizations, extinct animals, or fantasy and science fiction scenarios. The author is eminently qualified, and his writing is user-friendly. His Color and Light is also an excellent resource.

Animals Real and Imagined by Terryl Whitlatch

Great book for those interested in designing convincing fantasy creatures.

joshm 07-15-2014 11:44 AM

I've read quite a bit on drawing and most people have already mentioned, so I'll add one more that has helped me greatly.

Writing for Comics and Graphic Novels with Peter David. Amazon has it for 15 and I'm sure the digital copy is less.

I have an earlier copy, as this one above is revised. The first printing was great and I still use it, and I have no doubt so is the one above. It really breaks down the process well and as an artist it's important to know what the writer is trying to do. It goes into a lot about pacing and developing characters. Really a great resource book and easy to find sections when you need it.

Robert_S 07-15-2014 03:58 PM


Originally Posted by joshm (Post 1830397)
Writing for Comics and Graphic Novels with Peter David. Amazon has it for 15 and I'm sure the digital copy is less.

I did a search on amazon and google. There is no digital copy version, unfortunately.

I did find one that appears to be a course text book. I think it was titled "Studying Comics and Graphic Novels" and listed for over $80.

joshm 07-15-2014 05:06 PM

Not sure where you're looking but if you do a google search you'll find several for 15 or higher.

Here is on at BN:

Here is one at amazon for less than 5, but is the first edition:

More at Amazon from 15 and up:

L Jamal 07-15-2014 05:14 PM

Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud

B-McKinley 07-15-2014 05:46 PM


Originally Posted by Newt (Post 1830392)

I'm so glad that this is no longer followed up with "but it's been out of print for years."

HouseStark 07-15-2014 07:44 PM

I highly recommend ...

Drawing Words and Writing Pictures: Making Comics: Manga, Graphic Novels, and Beyond

and it's sequel ...

Mastering Comics: Drawing Words & Writing Pictures Continued

And here's a link to the authors' blog on the same subject.

Bulletboy-Redux 07-15-2014 09:19 PM

Ive always been a fan of Burne Hogarth's books. Dynamic Anatomy, Dynamic Light and Shade, Drawing the Human Head, Dynamic Wrinkles and Drapery, Drawing Human Hands, etc.

Robert_S 07-15-2014 09:38 PM


Originally Posted by joshm (Post 1830422)
Not sure where you're looking but if you do a google search you'll find several for 15 or higher.

Here is on at BN:

Here is one at amazon for less than 5, but is the first edition:

More at Amazon from 15 and up:

I quite specifically stated "digital copies". Those are paperbacks.

Comrade Hero 07-15-2014 10:40 PM

+1 for ComixTribe's Bolts & Nuts.
+1 for Writing for Comics & Graphic Novels with Peter David.

Superhero Nation. Although it doesn't get updated as frequently these days, Superhero Nation is a good blog that looks at writing the superhero novel, and entertainingly, how superheroics would apply in the real world.
Graphic Storytelling and Visual Narrative by Will Eisner. Another useful reference.
Writer's Guide to Character Traits by Linda Edelstein. Useful reference for developing realistic characters by looking at psychological, physiological and occupational
influences on character development.

Scribbly 07-15-2014 10:54 PM

This book is not yet released, but I already preordered it.
Words for Pictures: The Art and Business of Writing Comics and Graphic Novels– by Brian Michael Bendis
This title will be released on July 22, 2014 and I am confident it will be a good and inspiring read.

Also written and drawn by Bendis,
.Fortune and Glory: A True Hollywood Comic Book Story , about the backstage of comics creation.

.Alan Moore's Writing For Comics Volume 1

.The Complete Idiot's Guide to Creating a Graphic Novel, by Nat Gertler (Author), Steve Lieber (Author)

.The Insider's Guide To Creating Comics And Graphic Novels by Andy Schmidt

Comrade Hero 07-16-2014 01:55 AM

I forgot to add K.M. Weiland's top rated writers blog, Helping Writers Become Authors. While geared towards prose rather than comic writers there's a lot of good material on plot, character (recommended), structure and the common mistakes writers make. :)

paul brian deberry 07-16-2014 04:20 PM

read my boys Chuck Wendig blog.

HouseStark 07-17-2014 05:39 PM

Saw this one today. From the talented Gene Luen Yang of American Born Chinese and Boxers & Saints fame.

Advice to Aspiring Comic Book Creators

Alyssa 07-17-2014 06:29 PM

I feel like this thread needs a warning label:

"Much awesome stuff inside. Risk of analysis paralysis."

crognus 07-21-2014 05:17 PM


Originally Posted by L Jamal (Post 1830423)
Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud

I loved, loved, loved this book!

Erik Roman 07-22-2014 10:41 AM

I found this to be inspirational, if nothing else.

MattTriano 09-09-2014 08:28 AM

DC Comics Guide to Penciling Comics - Klaus Janson
DC Comics Guide to Inking Comics - Klaus Janson
Panel Discussions - Various
The Comics Journal #300 - Various
Manga: Masters of the Art - Various

Manaking 10-06-2014 07:42 AM

DC Guide to Digitally Drawing Comics is a fantastic for beginners (to digital drawing).
Lot's of time saving ideas!

Kcsledge95 10-24-2014 09:18 AM

As a writer, my favorite of all time is "Stan Lee's Writing Comics". Not only is Stan's advice excellent, but he includes even more from the whole gamut of the all-time living greats (up to 2009), such as Mark Waid, Brian Michael Bendis, Garth Ennis, and on and on and on. It covers everything I could have thought of, and that much more. It's pretty penny, but that's why suddenly I'm jolted to go to the library to check it out again.

HouseStark 03-03-2016 03:59 PM

A few from this board, I believe, helped compile the list on Comic Writer Services, which includes scripts, pitch samples, how to break in articles, etc.

This is one of the best comic writing resources I've seen so far.

crossbordersart 03-16-2016 02:00 AM

I'm so glad that this is no longer followed up with "but it's been out of print for years."

Sully 03-16-2016 08:42 AM

Of the ones I've read,"How to Make Comics Like the Pros" is one of my favorites.

Also, is an absolutely invaluable resource.

maverick 03-23-2016 04:50 PM

Words for Pictures: The Art and Business of Writing Comics and Graphic Novels by Brian Michael Bendis

Scribbly 11-03-2016 06:24 AM

The Art of Comic Book Writing: The Definitive Guide to Outlining, Scripting, and Pitching Your Sequential Art Stories
Paperback – September 8, 2015
by Mark Kneece (Author)

REDemption2017 12-27-2016 09:44 AM

I like Jason Brubaker's posts and his book UNNATURAL TALENT.

martin993 02-12-2017 10:49 PM

This might be a bit presumptuous, I realise, but I've just written and published a book designed to help people get started in self-publishing comics. (And by "just", I mean exactly that. It went up on Amazon today!) I thought I'd drop in a mention here and see if it might be of use to someone.

It's called Make Your Comic Book, Pronto!. I've drawn on over ten years' worth of self-publishing comics to try to present the most straightforward way of getting that first comic book in your hands (and selling it after). I've hired artists through this forum in the past and when I was starting out this place was a massive help for signposting lots of great info on how to get going. The idea for this book was to take everything I've learned over the years - from this site, from some of the great books you guys have mentioned, and from making my own mistakes - and jam it all into one book. I wanted someone to be able to pick it up and get a handle very quickly on what's important in making a professional-standard comic which people will actually want to buy. I use examples from my own work to illustrate what works and what tends to just end up with you sitting with boxes filled with unsold comics.

If you think it might be of use and you give it a go, I'd love to know what you think!


Gary Adams 12-07-2017 01:53 PM

Published my first action novel

I just published my new book on It is an action novel, and a good read. It focuses on our concerns of the tragic deaths of the young children. No worries. They are given a chance to return to earth by their creator to save us all. Not Guardian Angels. Life Angels. Check it out.

Gary Adams

SauderComics 04-05-2018 10:37 AM

Haven't seen it mentioned, but for aspiring artists, SYLLABUS: Notes From an Accidental Professor by Lynda Barry is definitely worth a read.

She started as a teacher in the art department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She compiled a bunch of her notes and student examples into a nice little book. It includes some exercises and insights she discovered over three years of teaching.

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