Mastering Comics: Drawing Words & Writing Pictures Continued TP
Publisher: First Second
Release Date: May 2012
Price: $34.99
Creator(s): Jessica Abel & Matt Madden
Format: 336 pgs.; 12" x 9"; Trade Paperback
ISBN: 978-1-5964-3617-6
Age Rating: Teen+
ICv2 Rating: 4.5 Stars out of 5

This book is an in-depth course in how to tell stories in the form of sequential art, whether on a comic page or as a comic strip or webcomic.  Rather than being "just" a book about writing or artwork, it has more of a holistic approach to creative work, since most comics depend on both words and art.  There are chapters on traditional cartooning and on digital artwork, both for print and for webcomics.

Experienced artists can use this book to brush up on specific topics.  One chapter is on the philosophy of hand-lettering versus computer lettering, and why your handwriting doesn't really matter.  The book will not turn someone without talent into a master, but it will help anyone to maximize the talent they have.  In general, this is an excellent textbook for self-study.  Users may still want outside evaluation or classes, as the downside of this approach is that it can be difficult to judge your own progress.

Not all of the chapters are philosophical, by any means.  Most are nuts-and-bolts lessons on how to tell your story.  Solid examples of each technique are given, along with exercises for the reader, as this is not just a book to read, it’s a book to study.

Results with this book will vary, based on how dedicated the would-be creator is, but the information is there for the learning.  Readers who are serious about creating comics, on paper or digitally, will find a treasure trove in this volume.  Even beginners will learn much, if they’re willing to absorb the contents slowly.

For teens and up, due to the complexity of the lesson material.

--Nick Smith: Librarian Technician, Community Services, for the Pasadena Public Library in California.