Comic Artist’s Photo Reference: People and Poses

For aspiring comic artists, there are many “how to draw” books, most of which focus on art for three particular genres: superheroes (sometimes referred to as “dynamic” or “action” drawing), fantasy, or manga. All those have in common the need to understand basic anatomy, though, and that’s where Comic Artist’s Photo Reference: People and Poses comes in. It provides an underlying architectural education for the artist’s flights of fancy.

Comic Artists Photo Reference: People and Poses cover
Comic Artist’s Photo Reference:
People and Poses
Buy this book

The book consists of pictures of athletic people in the kinds of poses often used in action comics. There are four sections: two males, White and African-American, and two females, Hispanic and Asian. Each is shown in the types of situations often needed for comic art: standing, sitting, lifting, fighting, flying. There are images of exaggerated facial expressions and poses that show the figure scared or wounded.

Accessory shots are also included, showing the models with swords, with guns, wearing capes, and wearing street clothes — although the women’s street clothes resemble the pared-down athletic apparel used for the rest of the shots more than the men’s do. The guys get layered ensembles, with one including a sports jacket, while the gals get belly-baring tank tops. Still, that reflects the needs and interests of the likely audience. A bonus section includes dual poses — fights, romance — and specialty images, including smoking and drinking. In total, the book has over 500 photographs, with 600 more on the included CD-ROM.

In addition, there are “lesson” sections by well-known artists. Sean Chen (X-Men, Iron Man) provides an introduction that explains how to effectively use photo reference. William Tucci (Shi) talks about studies and rough sketches, and Matt Haley demonstrates motion in action poses with a cover from his GI Spy (also used as the basis for this book’s cover), while Paul Chadwick (Concrete) discusses using backgrounds. There’s even a piece by the modern artist best known for his use of photo reference: Greg Land shows how to “draw a beautiful woman”.

As author Buddy Scalera suggests in his abundant introduction, this would make a lovely gift for the aspiring artist in one’s life, especially one without access to an art school or friends willing to strike funny poses for reference. There’s sample art at the publisher’s website, and the writer’s site has more.

(A complimentary copy for this review was provided by the author.)

6 Responses to “Comic Artist’s Photo Reference: People and Poses”

  1. Bill D. Says:

    This sounds like a really great reference. We used to have a lot of posefile books in stock when I worked at Borders, but the bulk of them all seemed to be of topless Asian women with guns, and I always suspected a very small number of those were being sold to actual artists. This seems like the sort of thing that will be helpful to more than just snickering teenage boys.

  2. Journalista - the news weblog of The Comics Journal » Blog Archive » Dec. 7, 2007: It’s going south Says:

    […] Johanna Draper Carlson on Buddy Scalera’s Comic Artist’s Photo Reference: People and […]

  3. Win Photo Reference Book » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    […] previously reviewed People & Poses, which I found a useful reference. The contest page gives a selection of images which also serves […]

  4. Comic Artist’s Photo Reference: Women and Girls » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    […] reference book, second in a series, focuses on only one gender, but never fear: the Men and Boys volume is coming later this year. […]

  5. Sumit Says:

    This Book is Awsome..!!
    i got it from ma Library,
    I’m an animation student.
    Plz if someone can tell from where i could buy this book??

  6. Comic Artist’s Photo Reference: People & Poses « Comic Book School Says:

    […] Comics Worth Reading calls it “a lovely gift for an aspiring artist.” […]




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