5 Great cartoon reference books packed with superb tips – finding you cool cartoon ideas to draw
‘How to draw cartoons’ books are not just for beginners but are an essential asset to any professional cartoonist. They can be a fantastic source of inspiration, motivation giving you cool cartoon drawing ideas to draw and help develope your artistic skills. I have a whole book case devoted to cartoon ideas, work of other cartoonists, cartoon tutorials and graphic design and constantly browse the shelves for ideas for cartoons. Here are five books which I believe are really useful for a variety of reasons.
If you are looking for great advice on a cartooning career Robin Hall’s book delivers on all fronts. He gives you lots of ideas for ways to convert your talent into making money and ultimately a career.
This is not a new publication and although I have had this book for over 10 years it is still as fresh and inspirational as the day I bought it. Robin’s approach is to deliver his ideas, methods and business plans through his own cartoon and painting career experiences which keeps things absolutely real. Topics include:
- Refining your work
- Cartooning and cyberspace
- How to approach the professional market
- the greeting card market
- Children’s book illustration
- plus eight substantial professional articles from top cartoonists
I would urge you to have this gem of a book on top shelf of your cartoon reference library…See the current price on Amazon right here…
Will Eisner was without doubt one of the greatest comic book masters on the planet. I bought an earlier version of Graphic Storytelling and Visual Narrative just to be able to climb into this genius’s head and I absolutely made the right decision.
He expertly guides you through the concept of storytelling and how to control the reader through words and images. This is not just about how to draw cartoons for graphic storytelling – it is an amazing artistic experience, tutorial and sheer magical journey with beautifully illustrated examples of Eisners and other cartoonist’s illustrations.
Topics covered include (and this is a mere snapshot!):
- Telling all kinds of stories – control of the reader and story momentum
- The writing process
- Storytellers – short story: illustrator storyteller: totally graphic story
- Art style and storytelling
- The marketplace
Will Eisner has produced a masterclass in which his use of texture and black inks to create mood and emotion is exceptional. An absolute must for any cartoonist or illustrator who is serious about their craft. See the latest availability and price for Will Eisners amazing book right here…
This book covers a whole raft of cartooning techniques, skills and great advice. The attraction for me was its totally apt and unique approach to getting the message across. Scott McCloud must have taken an eternity to create this little gem as it is presented totally in a comic strip format with Scotts own stand in cartoon character explaining visually all aspects of the cartooning craft using his own experiences.
Topics covered include (these are a very small percentage of the actual content topics):
- Writing with pictures – including technical considerations such as distance, angle and point of view
- Steps to creating believable characters
- The power of words
- World building including perspective and regional variations of scenery and buildings
- Tools and techniques
It’s a brilliant piece of work providing an extremely informative and pleasurable ‘read’ . See the latest availability and price for Scott McClouds Making Comics right here…
I have only recently tried my hand at this form of cartoon illustration and needed a bit of guidance to get into it. Mark Crilley’s book did the trick with 30 easy to follow drawing lessons taking you through eyes, heads and faces,poses and proportions and scene setting in the world of Manga illustration. I really likes Marks laid back style – he didn’t overcomplicate and made it easy to navigate through the basics.
Mark covers the following topics in the book:
- How to create Manga eyes
- Character design
- Choosing your style
- Setting the scene – including anatomy, panelling and page layout sequences
He also has a sequel to the first book which develops Manga skills to the next level See the latest availability and price for Mark Crilley’s Mastering Manga right here...
I have included this book by the prolific cartoon author Christopher Hart because it is ideal for the cartoonist beginning their career or even someone who just likes drawing for a hobby.
It shows you the basics of drawing faces, bodies and animals and gives some great examples from basics to finished cartoon. I particularly like his stereotypical examples of different characters which gets you into the right frame of mind when drawing characters for cartoon strips.
His contents are illustrated throughout and include:
- The basic human head, faces and facial expression
- Human body, action lines and body language
- Drawing animals
- How to create Anthromorphized animals (humanized)
- The comic strip
- Dialogue and balloons