The creator of 3X4 (2018) leads a posse of veteran cartoonists offering advice and techniques for making simple comics.
In a text interspersed with quotes and doodles by artists including Chris Ware, Neal Gaiman, and Pablo Picasso, Brunetti demonstrates how to use simple geometric shapes or even letters and numbers to draw faces and figures, express emotions, and create distinct characters. Switching from monochrome to color partway through, he and fellow contributors move on to more-sophisticated topics such as the uses of “emanata” in comics (that’s those often-squiggly lines indicating emotion, to the unschooled), creating one- and two-point perspective, designing panel sequences, and telling stories. Despite Brunetti’s reminders not to draw on the book’s pages, Art Spiegelman invites budding cartoonists to finish off his mini-tale by adding their own art, and at the end, imprint co-founder Françoise Mouly throws a commercial cast over the whole volume by promoting TOON titles as gateways to both visual and verbal literacy. Still, both newbies and graduates of Ed Emberley’s classic manuals or, more recently, James Sturm and Co.’s Adventures in Cartooning series will find plenty of beneficial insights (“stick people aren’t as easy as they look”) and inspiration.
First and next steps for budding graphic artists and illustrators. (glossary, bibliography, topical index) (Graphic nonfiction. 6-11)