First and next steps for budding graphic artists and illustrators.

COMICS: EASY AS ABC!

THE ESSENTIAL GUIDE TO COMICS FOR KIDS

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)

Pub Date: April 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-943145-44-7

Page Count: 56

Publisher: TOON Books & Graphics

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2019

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An immersive dunk into a vast subject—and on course for shorter attention spans.

EVERYTHING AWESOME ABOUT SHARKS AND OTHER UNDERWATER CREATURES!

From the Everything Awesome About… series

In the wake of Everything Awesome About Dinosaurs and Other Prehistoric Beasts! (2019), Lowery spins out likewise frothy arrays of facts and observations about sharks, whales, giant squid, and smaller but no less extreme (or at least extremely interesting) sea life.

He provides plenty of value-added features, from overviews of oceanic zones and environments to jokes, drawing instructions, and portrait galleries suitable for copying or review. While not one to pass up any opportunity to, for instance, characterize ambergris as “whale vomit perfume” or the clownfish’s protective coating as “snot armor,” he also systematically introduces members of each of the eight orders of sharks, devotes most of a page to the shark’s electroreceptive ampullae of Lorenzini, and even sheds light on the unobvious differences between jellyfish and the Portuguese man-of-war or the reason why the blue octopus is said to have “arms” rather than “tentacles.” He also argues persuasively that sharks have gotten a bad rap (claiming that more people are killed each year by…vending machines) and closes with pleas to be concerned about plastic waste, to get involved in conservation efforts, and (cannily) to get out and explore our planet because (quoting Jacques-Yves Cousteau) “People protect what they love.” Human figures, some with brown skin, pop up occasionally to comment in the saturated color illustrations. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10-by-17-inch double-page spreads viewed at 45% of actual size.)

An immersive dunk into a vast subject—and on course for shorter attention spans. (bibliography, list of organizations) (Nonfiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: Oct. 6, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-338-35973-2

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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Together with its companions, too rushed to be first introductions but suitable as second ones.

MARIE CURIE AND RADIOACTIVITY

From the Graphic Science Biographies series

A highlights reel of the great scientist’s life and achievements, from clandestine early schooling to the founding of Warsaw’s Radium Institute.

In big sequential panels Bayarri dashes through Curie’s career, barely pausing at significant moments (“Mother! A letter just arrived. It’s from Sweden,” announces young Irène. “Oh, really?…They’re awarding me another Nobel!”) in a seeming rush to cover her youth, family life, discoveries, World War I work, and later achievements (with only a closing timeline noting her death, of “aplastic anemia”). Button-eyed but recognizable figures in the panels pour out lecture-ish dialogue. This is well stocked with names and scientific terms but offered with little or no context—characteristics shared by co-published profiles on Albert Einstein and the Theory of Relativity (“You and your thought experiments, Albert!” “We love it! The other day, Schrödinger thought up one about a cat”), Charles Darwin and the Theory of Evolution, and Isaac Newton and the Laws of Motion. Dark-skinned Tierra del Fuegans make appearances in Darwin, prompting the young naturalist to express his strong anti-slavery views; otherwise the cast is white throughout the series. Engagingly informal as the art and general tone of the narratives are, the books will likely find younger readers struggling to keep up, but kids already exposed to the names and at least some of the concepts will find these imports, translated from the Basque, helpful if, at times, dry overviews.

Together with its companions, too rushed to be first introductions but suitable as second ones. (glossary, index, resource list) (Graphic biography. 7-9)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5415-7821-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Graphic Universe

Review Posted Online: Oct. 9, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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