For general all-around drawing information, the famous Andrew Loomis books are great.
Figure Drawing for all it’s Worth – Jim said, “Figure Drawing For All It’s Worth has the best section on perspective I’ve seen.”
Drawing the Head and Hands
The Andrew Loomis books are out of print but can be downloaded here:
Our buddy Kyle has done a wonderful, essential book on cartooning and comics:
Kyle Baker, How to Draw Stupid and other Essentials of Cartooning
Will Eisner has some highly regarded books available. Best for more advanced students:
Comics and Sequential Art: Principles and Practices from the Legendary Cartoonist
The classic style guide no writer should be without:
The Elements of Style by Strunk and White
Some good information on writing are Syd Field’s Screenwriting books:
Screenplay: The Foundations of Screenwriting
The Screenwriter’s Workbook (Revised Edition)
The Screenwriter’s Problem Solver: How to Recognize, Identify, and Define Screenwriting Problems
The Craft of the Screenwriter by John Brady
William Goldman: Five Screenplays with Essays
William Goldman – Four Screenplays
These are a couple of Jim’s favorite books:
Great to read if you want to write science fiction:
Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space by Carl Sagan
Fascinating book written by a cultural anthropologist:
Our Kind: Who We Are, Where We Came From, Where We Are Going by Marvin Harris
WONDERFUL! Thank you!
Regarding the different panel sizes, here is a picture…
Thanks very much for the explanation. I like to draw as a hobby and I was going to take a shot at pencilling a few pages from the Turok #1 script but I was having a bit of trouble with the jargon and understanding what the page layout would look like. now that you have cleared it up I will take a shot at the drawings. I apologise in advance for the grave injustice I am about to do to your work!
1/9 page panel, 3/5 page splash, etc. mean that literally. Divide a page into three equal tiers and each tier into three equal panels, and each panel is 1/9 page. Divide a page into three equal tiers and each tier into two equal panels and each panel is 1/6 page. 3/5, 1/3, whatever, they're all what they say they are.
Comic book art board comes with (or used to) blue line marks that made it easy to rule the panels. I made a conscious, stylistic decision for the Dark Horse work to keep all panels within that premarked "grid," and to have borders on every page and gutters separating the panels. Like most comics from the old days. Like almost all of Kirby and Ditko's work. Like Watchmen.
Also, no bleeds, i.e., artwork running off the edge of the page. In elder, letterpress days, the art was confined to the area inside the borders — doing bleeds was too expensive to contemplate. As DH boss Mike Richardson suggested, I was going for a retro presentation.
Thanks fr this very informative series. I was looking at Jim's Turok # 1 script and was amazed at the level of detail he includes in terms of references and descriptions. I was a bit confuse by some of the instructions to the artist with regard to sizing.For example 3/5 page splash, 1/9 page panels and so on. I would really appreciate if you would explain what these mean and if there is an accepted standard to how the artist translates these instruciton to the finished page. Does it get as precise as the numerof inches each panel needs to be?
Thanks for being so generous with your knowledge.
Vincent S. Moore
Thanks for the list. By the way both Loomis books are back in print. Figure Drawing is available now and Drawing the Head will be out this fall.
Drawing the Head:
I think Loomis really is the gold standard for art instruction. He was instructed by George Bridgman early in his career, as was Will Eisner, and Norman Rockwell. Both Alex Ross and Steve Rude swear by Loomis and rightly so. Many art instruction books since Loomis seem to me to be a derivative echo of Loomis's work.
It's great to see the books recommended here. Not enough artists know about them.
Charles R. Rutledge
I'll recommend any of George Bridgeman's figure drawing books to learn how to give figures mass and weight. Legendary artists like Frazetta and Gil Kane swore by Bridgeman.
I first caught wind of the Loomis books about 20 year ago, and I spent some good $ getting a number of them in my hands. Well worth the price, they're Great, really couldn't believe they were out of print.
Dear Jim and JayJay,
Thanks for the list with links to save your readers a lot of time searching at Amazon. I now know what I'll be reading for the rest of the year.
Perhaps in the future, this blog could become an Amazon affiliate with links to the above books plus comics that Jim wrote or recommends.