Bill's Book Nook
I love "How-to-Draw" cartooning books! When I was growing up, there really weren't a lot of them, with the exception of Preston Blair's fantastic Animation book (which every cartoonist should have, and if you don't have it, stop reading this and go buy a copy this instant!), and a few others.
Happily, nowadays, there are a TON of cartooning books out there for the young and not so young cartoonist. Some are fantastic, some pretty lame. Unfortunately, there are a bunch of books out there that just recycle all the lessons from Preston Blair's book, only with badly re-drawn examples. Avoid these like the plague.
There are, however, a bunch of great books out now written by talented cartoonists who generously share their secrets and tricks of the trade in their tomes. Today and in future posts, I'll mention a few that I think are worth picking up. The 2 I share today I think are especially good, and I highly recommend them.
Whenever I do caricatures at a live event, inevitably someone asks how you can learn to do caricatures. Other than just getting out there and doing it, I never really knew what to tell them. Keelan Parham has fixed that. His book, "LET'S TOON CARICATURES", is a fantastic introduction into the world of live caricaturing. His book covers every aspect of caricaturing, even covering how to flatter your less attractive subjects, and dealing with hecklers. Where was this book when I was starting out? The book is jam packed with Keelan's fun artwork, and he even provides photos for you to practice on. This book is a must-have for any wanna-be caricaturist, as well as established pros. At $15, it's an absolute steal. You can order it from Amazon, or better yet, order it from his website: www.caricatureconnection.com.
You can also visit his blog and check out his stories from the trenches and assorted artwork at:
For the second book I recommend, let me preface this review by stating that if Kyle Baker illustrated the telephone book, I would buy it. He is one of the best cartoonists out there today,and he easily jumps between "realistic" & "funny" comics and animation with an enviable ease. Unfortunately for the phone company (but luckily for us), Kyle has written a book for cartoonists: "HOW TO DRAW STUPID, AND OTHER ESSENTIALS OF CARTOONING", not so much of a how-to book, but more of an inspirational book.
Kyle demystifies the cartoonist's trade with advice on streamlining and simplifying your characters and cartoons. He goes into detail on visual storytelling, and frankly, just too much other good stuff for me to summarize here. If you feel down in the dumps creatively, this book will give you the "kick-in-the-pants" encouragement (as Kyle puts it) you need. I can't recommend this book highly enough.
I also couldn't post an image of the cover of this book, but go to Kyle's site : www.kylebaker.com
and buy a copy.
These are just 2 of the many great books out there. As time rolls along, I'll be posting others that I like. If any of you out there have a book you'd like me to mention, feel free to drop me a line in the comments section.
Now go buy these books!