Great Art Books

Drawing my little Mohammed cartoon last week brought back some memories. I used to study to be an artist once upon a time. I was not bad, just not good enough to do comics. What I lacked was the discipline to draw every day which is what you need to do if you want to be good. And as the years pass, I kick myself because I would really like to draw my own comics. It’s great working with good artists, but what they draw is never what you see in your head. And there are things I would like to do with storytelling that are hard to explain.

When I was in my early 20s I went to a few adult art classes. Did some life drawing. This is before I got into comics. Later on, my friend Brent Anderson turned me on to the work of Andrew Loomis (1892 – 1959) who was a commercial art back in the 1940s and 50s. His books art much sought after by comics artists because not only is he a great draftsman, his books are wonderful teaching tools. You can buy some of his books on Amazon from Walter Foster books. But you can also track many of them down online in PDF form.

I’ve been looking at a lot of art books lately besides Loomis. It has reawakened my love of drawing. I’m going to have to go get a sketchbook from Michaels and start doing stuff again soon.

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  1. I know what you mean about drawing. I did it as well, but soon after high school I realized I just didn’t have the talent or drive to make the leap. As they say, “You’re don’t become a writer because you want to be a writer; you become a writer because you want to write.”
    I was sitting next to Dan Brereton at a con many years ago, and a fan stopped by to show Dan his portfolio. It was the usual stuff you see from young guys with no grounding in the basics and who only draw a few times a week–over-rendered copies of comics panels, no backgrounds, lots of half-finished illos. Dan, being one of the politest people I know, just told the kid he needed to draw more. “How much?” said the kid. Dan thought about it, then said “At school, they should call you ‘That guy that draws.'” Neil Peart, the drummer from Rush, once said something similar to a young drummer who asked him how long he should practice every day. “If you have to ask….”
    I did make use of what abilities I had to do layouts of my stories for those artists who didn’t mind me stepping that far into their domain.

  2. I still have my old sketch book in storage. With some of my life drawings and so on. That lack of drive was also a problem for me. I wanted to be a comics artist when I was in High School, but I didn’t want to move to New York where I new no one and was a real pit in the mid-70s. You had to move to New York to get into comics back then and I knew I wasn’t ready, anyway. The Kubert School was just starting. I gave it some thought.

    Just think, I could have been a classmate of Rick Veitch, Tom Yeates and Steve Bissette, all of whom I befriended years later!

    But you have to be a drawing fool to do comics well. I was always too impatient and didn’t like learning some necessary drafting tricks.

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