Wow, what a book for anyone who is passionate about becoming a cartoonist! “Foundations in Comic Book Art: Fundamental Tools and Techniques for Sequential Artists” is a compressed version of what you can learn at the Savannah College of Art and Desgin (SCAD). John Paul Lowe, an art professor at SCAD, guides you through the main principles of comic book art: seeing and interpreting (observational techniques); and creating (constructive techniques). In a very concise and lively manner, you get a solid grounding in what’s involved in becoming a comics professional.
While this book may not exactly replace going to SCAD, it certainly holds its own. If you are eager to learn, and this was your only source, I’d say you could find yourself well on your way. You won’t have John Lowe there in person to push you, that’s true. As SCAD alumna, Eleanor Davis, is happy to report, there’s no teacher quite like Lowe. Tune into the book, though, and he’ll talk to you and give you a lifetime of valuable advice and instruction.
“Most people don’t realize how many skills a successful sequential artist has to master. A thorough knowledge of anatomy and figure drawing, composition, design (both within a panel and in arranging several panels on a page), storytelling, shot selection, and perspective is essential.”
— John Paul Lowe
If you were to tell Mr. Lowe that you create comics from a fine art sensibility, he would nod and then ask if you’ve taken everything else into account. Good for you, if you have. If not, this book fills in the gaps. I love how there isn’t one wasted word here. You literally go from the most basic to the most sophisticated topis in equal doses. The section on perspective is quite engaging. For anyone who has ever thought that they just didn’t get it, you’ll want this. A lot of the book feels like you’re literally sitting in a studio and various materials and suggestions are being passed around for your consideration. Before you know it, an exercise is being offered up. Lowe is right there to challenge you and to always let you know that, with practice, things get easier and the hard work becomes fun.
“Foundations in Comic Book Art” is part of the how-to collection of art books from Watson-Guptill Publications. You can learn more right here.