Friday, May 4, 2012

Comics and Graphic Novels

Comics and Graphic Novels (Art off the Wall Series)
Richard Spilsbury
$33.50, LB
Heinemann-Raintree, 2007
January 13th, 2012

Genre: Nonfiction
Age: 12+
Description: An art book (somewhat oversized too) about the history of comics and graphic novels, being a comic book artist, and tips on creating your own comic books.
Opinion: An oversized volume, Comics and Graphic Novels is a short introduction to the history of the medium along with an artistic introduction into producing your own comics. It begins with an introduction into what comics and graphic novels are, taking into consideration even non-print picture stories (like the Bayeux Tapestry) and comic strips. It features information on the birth of superheroes, how comics can be used in school to teach vocabulary, and how graphic novels differ from comic books. Getting more technical, it includes information on the elements of a comic (panels, gutters, word balloons/bubbles, etc.) and then gets into more artistic endeavors with instruction on the tools of a graphic artist, traditional versus digital mediums, etc. There is a whole section on the first steps to making a comic, including plotting and other ways to make your story come alive. The book ends with a chapter that discusses tips on how to get into the comic book field. The book includes a four-page glossary (no pronunciation guide though), a two-page further reading list, and an index. This book is definitely geared more to those interested in the art behind comics. The oversized layout allows for a lot of information and graphics to be laid out on the same page without causing too much clutter. Throughout all the chapters there are sidebars with additional facts and “try it yourself” suggestions with exercises to test your artistic abilities. It is a visually appealing book for beginner artists to consult.

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