- Posted by Johanna on December 6, 2007 at 8:09 am
- Category: Books and Prose
- CREDITS: by Buddy Scalera
- PUBLISHER: Impact; $24.99 US
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.
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.)