Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Another Look at Books



Whenever I teach a cartooning class, the students are  always asking me what "how-to-draw-cartoons" books I recommend. Whether this is a demonstration of their hunger for knowledge, or that they feel I am lacking as an instructor, I dunno. In any case, I always steer them towards Preston Blair's "Animation" book. This is the bible of how to draw cartoons, and every cartoonist worth a damn has a copy of it in their library. If you wanna be a cartoonist and have yet to check out this book, turn off your computer and go buy a copy RIGHT NOW! You can thank me later.

Of course, Mr. Blair's book isn't the only cartooning book out there. There are hundreds of cartooning books out there for the hungry cartoonist mind. Some are fantastic, some, eh, some downright awful.

Today, I'll spout my opinion on two books for wanna-be cartoonists, one good, one, ewwwwwwww.

If you are a fan of the TV show, " The Simpsons", and love to draw, then "THE SIMPSONS HANDBOOK", is the book you have been waiting for. This coffee table book is jam-packed with tons of tips on drawing Springfield's favorite family, as well as great drawing tips in general. Add in to the mix transparency overlays that show you how the main characters are drawn, as well as tips from production artists on the series, and you have one fun book. While this isn't an ideal first book for the novice cartoonist, for anyone who has the basics down, it's a wonderful addition to your cartoon library. Even if you don't want to draw at all, if you're a fan of the show, the behind the scenes looks at these characters is sure to bring a smile to your face.

One negative thing about this book: The price. It retails for $39.95, which I feel is a bit pricey. However, you can usually find it on Amazon for as little as $13.08, a much more reasonable price.

On to the other end of the spectrum. I always assumed, if you were writing a book about cartooning, you should actually know how to draw cartoons and know something about them. Apparently, I was  mistaken, as  "cartoonist" Brad J. Guigar demonstrates in his book, "THE EVERYTHING CARTOONING BOOK".  Not to mince words, this is one of the crappiest books on cartooning I've ever seen (and I've seen some crappy ones)! The drawings are awful. A seventh grader would be ashamed of some of these drawings,  and the author seems to come  from the school of, "Hey! If you draw crappy, don't worry! The computer can fix it", school of thought. This book is so full of misinformation and bad examples, it makes my brain hurt. If you actually own this book already, my best recommendation would be to read it, and then do the opposite of everything the author suggests.

I feel mean dumping on a fellow cartoonist, but man, this book sucks.

If I have peaked your interest, and you are a glutton for  punishment, you can get it for as little as $6.94 at Amazon. Don't say I didn't warn you.

That's just 2 of the many, many cartooning books out there. If you have a book you'd like my opinion on, drop me a line in the comments section.


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6 Comments:

Blogger Mark Heng said...

Hehe, too funny...Yes, much crappage out there...Don't even get me started on the caricature books...Hey! YOU SHOULD WRITE ONE!!!

March 10, 2009 at 8:27 PM  
Blogger Bill White said...

Mark!

I have just the title for my book: "HOW TO BE A PROFESSIONAL CARTOONIST AND STARVE TO DEATH"!

March 11, 2009 at 3:57 PM  
Blogger David said...

Hey Bill, do you think that these are worth getting? They come out in a couple of weeks and if you think they are any good, I'll stash some cash away.

Drawn to Life: 20 Golden Years of Disney Master Classes, Volume 1 & 2: The Walt Stanchfield Lectures


Thanks a lot,

David
http://david-wasting-paper.blogspot.com/

March 13, 2009 at 5:00 PM  
Blogger Bill White said...

David,

YES! BUY THEM! I downloaded a few of his lessons a few years back, and if I had the $$$, I would have already pre-ordered these books.

They are very advanced though.

March 14, 2009 at 8:24 AM  
Blogger David said...

Thanks Bill. I will save my pennies! Everything I've read about Walt Stanchfield gives glowing accolades. Even if they are too advanced for me now, soon enough they won't be.

Thanks again,

David
http://david-wasting-paper.blogspot.com/

March 14, 2009 at 7:33 PM  
Blogger P.L. Frederick said...

Nah, I agree with that you should think about doing at least a How to Draw book. Your linework is so clean and amazing. Although it's more difficult to draw that way, your way LOOKS simple to do. It translates well to paper. Maybe just offer a short booklet first, like How to Draw Squirrels. You could self-publish or offer it from CafePress or do an online-only thing. Think about it some more?

P.L. Frederick (Small & Big)

May 4, 2009 at 5:06 PM  

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