Drawing Words and Writing Pictures

by Jessica Abel and Matt Madden

Publisher: First Second Books

Format: Softcover, 12 x 9, partial color, $29.95

ISBN: 978-1-59643-131-7

Reviewed by: Library Journal

Wife-husband team Abel (Life Sucks) and Madden (99 Ways To Tell a Story) have taught cartooning for years at New York City's School of Visual Arts, and when they couldn't find a good textbook, they wrote one. Fifteen lessons take students through single panels and strips, transitions, penciling, layout, lettering, inking, story structure, character development, page composition, creating a believable world, brushwork, and reproduction (not, however, coloring). Each lesson includes exercises, readings, homework, and "extra credit" activities. Appendixes cover supplies plus how to make your own self-published comic for short-run reproduction ("minicomic"). Additional resources, lessons, and guidance are to be available via the book's web site. This "virtual classroom" course in comics is designed for instructors and for college-level learners but is friendly to sophisticated teens and any adult; each chapter also includes tips for the "ronin," or solo learner. The complete book offers step-by-step entry into a complicated series of skills in a nonscary and approachable way. Highly recommended for public, academic, and high school libraries. —Martha Cornog