Essential Art Books

Great art books for beginning figure inventors (a fancy name for people who know how to draw realistically from the imagination -a crucial skill to becoming a real comic book artist, not a photo-referencing wannabe or worse -a fanboy amateur art peddling fake). To get the most out of each book one should study from them DAILY as much as POSSIBLE. It won't help you if you look at it once a week or even once every two days. DAILY AND AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE. Sleep with the damn books, take showers with them. When you romance your girlfriend, have flowers in one hand and one of these books in the other. You get the point -no time for slacking off.

The 5 C's of Cinematography by Joseph V. Mascelli

This is a great book on the art of visual storytelling. A frank and open minded discussion on what elements of imagery go into making movies tick. Easily translatable into comic book, panel to panel action of course (since comic books are basically cheap movies). It's been a while since I've read it (I've read it twice already) and seeing it again on makes me want to read it again.

Atlas For Human Anatomy For The Artist by Stephen Rogers Peck

"The Peck Book" as I informally called Stephen Roger Peck's landmark anatomy book, 'Human Anatomy For the Artists' is a solid, highly informative book for the beginning figure inventor or photo reference using artists. Packed gracefully with detailed anatomical drawings, many of them hand painted(!), with easy to learn descriptions and charts that describe muscle-bone-actions, this book can put any artist at ease in his or her's effort to master anatomy in no time at all. A great book through-and-through!

Figure Drawing For All It's Worth by Andrew Loomis (at

Too much can never be said about the value of this classic art instruction book now recently reprinted and re-released to the public again (with what I think is it's original cover art!). Another low cost "how to" book, Figure Drawing For All It's Worth will make any beginning artist garner the attitude of a professional one after one reading. Andrew Loomis was a famous illustrator during the Golden Age of illustration and helped set the standard for quality magazine story illustration back then. A master visual storyteller who was equally at home with a paint brush as well as a pencil, his instructions were broad, detailed, and complete. From drawing with the aid of photo-reference to drawing from the imagination alone (figure invention) he can show you how to do both actions excellently. Once you get over being blown away by the illustrations inside the book (!) you can then get down to some serious artistic growth. Become a badass at the art of figure illustration and get this book now!

How To Draw The Marvel Way by John Buscema (with commentary by Stan Lee) -at

Here's another classic "how to" book. Full of simple and easily explained illustrations on how to master the art of figure invention for comic book illustration. A book rife with irony because many artists working for Marvel Comics itself apparently need to study this book or don't even know that it exist -hahahaha. Low cost and definitely adds a big bang to your skills.

Drawing The Head and Figure by Jack Hamm (at

Want to improve your comic book artwork or your drawing in general very rapidly? Then you NEED THIS BOOK! This is one of the greatest books ever written on the art of figure invention (drawing people without photographic reference). If you don't have this book and are trying to learn how to draw without looking at reference then you're hiking without any boots on! Stop drawing like a kid and learn how to draw like a man! AND it's cheap too (under $15.00). Added: 01-20-2012

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