Sarah Eitelberg

Book Review: Make Comics Like the Pros

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Make Comics Like the Pros: The Inside Scoop on How to Write, Draw, and Sell Your Comic Books and Graphic Novels 
Writers: Greg Pak and Fred Van Lente
Publisher: Watson-Guptil
Release date: September 9, 2014

Buy a copy for your own library! Pick up Make Comics Like the Pros: The Inside Scoop on How to Write, Draw, and Sell Your Comic Books and Graphic Novels today!

Most instructional book about breaking into that wondrous world of comics are centered towards one main topic. Sometimes they talk about how to be a great comic book artist, giving examples of form and composition to give life to characters or environments. Others may focus on the writing aspect, how to write a story that’s both compelling and enticing. Either book will mention the other to some degree as both aspects of comic creation are essential, but comics themselves are the result of a glorious union of story and art. A love child that is dynamic and entertaining to the masses.

If comic books were like babies then Make Comics Like the Pros is your What to Expect When You’re Expecting. Greg Pak and Fred Van Lente have been in the comic business for a while, even have a few awards under their belts to boot. Together, they give great insight into all aspects of comic creation.  The two of them have worked with many different publishers including DC and Marvel over the years and have had opportunities to work with many fellow comic artists and writers, as well as collaborating on a few projects together. Not only did they come together again for this fantastic instructional book, but they included comic with artist Collen Coover who makes a comic right before your very eyes! The comic is not just an old rejected idea they had lying around. It is an idea that they brained stormed together. The creation process takes you through how that idea gets fleshed out,  forming conceptual characters, writing the story to a script and rough lines, and finally the finished comic. Make Comics Like the Pros is a great example of how comics come to life and the many collaborations that make it happen. It truly takes a village to make a comic.

What also makes this book stand out from other how-to’s is its realistic approach to comic industry. Give up your dream of being stuck in an elevator with a publishing editor and pitching him your ground breaking comic, the chances of you even being in an elevator long enough to make a pitch are slim to none. Fred and Greg do give you a little insight to pitching your idea though, along with some good comic etiquette can make you stand out in the sea of thousands of thousands of promising future comic creators. Another interesting thing about this book is it’s use of math. Whoa! Hold on don’t give up on this yet! It’s just a little math! They give you a very quick and basic rundown of the profit and loss that go with making a comic. Just a little business skill to get you started. Unfortunately our teachers were right, you do need some math to make it in this world–even if you’re making comics.

Individual subject study books are great for sharpening up your skills as either a writer or artist for your future comic career, but Make Comics Like the Pros gives you a great whole picture view of the comic world. A great book for the more advanced comic creator who is ready to transition from dreaming about making comics to actually making comics professionally.

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