New, Young Creators

Remember: you can purchase these books online, at discount prices, direct from the excellent folks at Books, just by clicking on the title! As easy as that!
IMHO, the absolute beginner at comics -- especially the young beginner -- has special needs when it comes to learning what to do. Fortunately, there are a number of good books aimed directly at these needs:
  Two great places to get started are How to Draw Cartoons for Comic Strips and Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Cartooning but Were Afraid to Draw by Christopher Hart. Christopher has written many books on cartooning and comics, but these are his best all-round ones. Both books overlap a fair bit: How to has a bit more to say about things like panel composition and word balloons, but you may find the other one better for things like studies of how props and their placement help to define character and environment, etc. The structural techniques for designing characters that he teaches will make an excellent foundation for the beginner looking to make solid, living characters; however, intermediate artists might wish the material was a bit more in-depth and stylistically flexible. Still, if you’re just now getting serious about drawing comics, these will get you off to a fine start.
Cartooning Basics by Duane Barnhart has a lot going for it. The book is itself a comic, so everything being discussed is also clearly illustrated at the same time, and lightened with gentle humor. [Feedback indicates that this goes over well with its readers.] However, it focuses mostly on building simplified cartoon characters, and takes a lo-o-ong time to make even the smallest point. For this reason, I’d recommend it for newbies younger than, say, ten -- an age group that might find most other how-to books a bit too heavy going. There aren’t many drawing-comics books out there for novices this young, so Barnhart provides a valuable service -- and does a solid job of it to boot.
Young and old beginners alike will find a lot of worthwhile sutff in The Big Book of Cartooning by TV celeb Bruce Blitz. This is a collection and expansion of a series Blitz did for Walter Foster Books a few years back, and it’s an excellent bargain: a nice fat hardcover cheaper than most skinnier softcovers on the same shelf! [Even cheaper than the original set of Fosters!] Blitz’s approach may be a touch less sophisticated than the Christopher Harts mentioned earlier, but he’s solid, inventive [has many great ideas for what you can do with your cartoons], and offers a lot of encouragement and moral support. This book is a good friend to keep handy while you work...
Al Bohl’s Guide to Cartooning is an unusual find. Since each chapter ends with questions and assignments, it was obviously designed as a school textbook [lucky students who get to take cartooning in school!]. But you definitely don’t need to be in a classroom setting to use this book. Very densely packed with great starter tips [don’t blink or you’ll miss a bit of good advice!], good tool talk that can even save you money, ideas for marketing your cartoons that I haven’t read elsewhere, and a calming, steadying voice of experience -- you can tell this guy is used to teaching newbies. And it includes writing advice that comes in handy even for oldbies like me! A worthy addition to your bookshelf [even though M’s Law applies].
Books Music Enter keywords... logo