Making Comics

Discuss Scott McCloud's current online comic project. Be sure to check out <a href="http://www.scottmccloud.com/comics/mi/mi.html">the latest improv</a>!

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Eric F Myers
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Making Comics

Post by Eric F Myers »

This week we saw the release of Scott McCloud's Making Comics. Have you picked up your copy yet? If so, what are your comments?

Also the Making Comics 50 States Tour official started. Have you gone to an event yet? Are you planing to?

Commence discussion.

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Greg Stephens
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Post by Greg Stephens »

Yup, picked up a copy, read it and enjoyed it. I'm really impressed with some of the drawings that Scott's been able to create with his Cintiq tablet. They whet my appitite to see what this graphic novel project he's going to do next will look like. I don't imagine that every page of that book will look like some of the stuff in chapter 4, but you have to admit that panel one on page 159 is twelve kinds of awesome.

It would be picky of me to say that I think the book has a couple of minor shortcomings, but that comes of it having been twelve years since I was first blown away by Understanding Comics and have spent much of the intervening time doing my own thinking about comics (and even making a few). This book doesn't arrive without expectations among the audience. I've also only read Making Comics once so far. I have flipped back and forth through it, pulling its two predecessors off the shelf and comparing layouts and drawing styles to each other to see what Scott has really learned from book to book. It will be a while before I think I've properly digested everything that it has to say. Much more like Understanding Comics than Reinventing Comics, Making Comics seems the sort of book I'll come back to and flip through to remind myself of certain things and to get some inspiration.

It really is a beautiful book.
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Jason Alderman
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Post by Jason Alderman »

I picked it up the day it came out and read it cover-to-cover. (I'm a nerd.)

It's good.

Scott doesn't go about writing a book on how to draw comics; there are PLENTY of how-to-draw books out there. Nor does he make a book that's how-to-create-a-story; there are plenty of other books on making a story that has all the requisite parts. That's not to say that aspects of these two things aren't IN <i>Making Comics</i>, but Scott's focus is more on how do you make <b>good</b> comics that tell stories <b>well</b>. He breaks it down quite articulately, and structures the first half of the book like a textbook, with (within each chapter) an introduction to principles, an example comic made to illustrate these principles, extensive footnotes, and then a page of optional exercises. Having taken one of his classes in 2004, I can see how this evolved out of his classes. Apparently his classes have evolved in response to what he's come up with in creating the book...needless to say, this, paired with <i>Understanding Comics</i> sums up to a college course in comicking from Scott himself.

I was honestly surprised at just how <b>FUNNY</b> it was, too.

The only drawback to the book, in my humble opinion, is that the techniques section seems rushed and brief, but I guess that's what the online "Chapter 5 1/2" is all about.

I personally think the first two-thirds (or so) of the book is worth the price alone, though. The chapter on facial expressions (distilling <a href="http://emotionsrevealed.com/">Ekman's <i>Emotions Revealed</i></a>) and body language (distilling <a href="http://www.amazon.co.uk/Peoplewatching- ... 80">Morris' <i>Manwatching</i></a>) are utterly fantastic. Both of these books were great reads, but require a lot of mental chewing, and Scott's done a wonderful service to comics artists young and old in drawing attention to them and making them accessible. It makes <i>Making Comics</i> the kind of book that you want to give to 9-year-olds, just to see what kind of comics they'll create five years from now.

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Post by Jason Alderman »

Heh, Greg, you beat me to it.

Yes, if only we all had enough moolah to fork over for a Cintiq. *sigh* Perhaps Apple will announce a tablet MacBook on Tuesday...? (Too much to hope.)
It would be picky of me to say that I think the book has a couple of minor shortcomings, ...
It does, I'm sure, but I'd also have to read it a few more times.

jason

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Greg Stephens
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Post by Greg Stephens »

There's an activity to be added to those already in the book. It first popped into my head as one of those silly drinking games, but I don't drink, so let's formulate it as a comic-drawing game. Here's how it works:

1. For every drawing of Scott you come to, draw one line.

2. Every time you spot a drawing of Sky, draw an entire panel using a transition type 1.

3. Every time you spot a drawing of Winter, draw an entire panel using a transition type 6.

4. Every time you spot a drawing of Ivy, draw the last panel in your comic. Your next line or panel will start a new comic!

5. Every time you spot a drawing of Alan Moore, drink a bottle of wine.
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Post by Surlyben »

I bought a copy the other day. It's a good book to have around for basic principles spelled out in a clear way. (And I like how the principles are all basically protrayed as optional. "you can do this or not, and here's why you would or wouldn't.") It seemed much more textbook like than his other books (even down to having exercises at the back of the chapters), and I wondered if that's because of all the classes he has been teaching...

I thought his suggestion about pattern brushes on page 199 was quite interesting. Flipping through, I noticed he actually used that technique a lot (for example panel one on page 159) and it tends to give his drawings a more loose feel, which I wouldn't have expected. One place I wish he hadn't done it was for the grass starting on page 162... I noticed it right away (the similar folded blades of grass just jumped out at me). I thought it was odd because 162 is about kicking it up a notch from a panel on page 160, but in terms of straight drawing, 160 may be the more detailed. (In fairness, the composition is probably better, and nobody really cares about straight drawing if the end result is satisfying...)
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