The creation of a comic is a largely unseen art, a fact that makes it difficult for some of us aspiring comic making guys to start. But if anything, this book shows that there is no right answer for how to make comics. The author, John Lowe, is a professional inker who’s worked for Marvel and DC, and he’s also an art instructor, which gives the book an educational value not unlike a textbook.
Working Methods is like the Actor’s Studio for comic book artists. The book is broken up into 3 sections. Each section starts with a 3-page script and has 3 different artists drawing from that script. The author then interviews an artist, asking a wide range of questions covering many topics like the artist’s background, how they approach reading/interpreting the script, how they thumbnail and plan their page layouts, and the tools and methods they use throughout the process. These interviews are very insightful and address a lot of questions that newcomers (and I’d imagine seasoned pros) may have. Throughout these sections, Lowe includes many pictures of thumbnails, pages in progress, and the artists using their tools. And finally we are treated to the artist’s finished pages.
None of the featured artists are superstars. In fact, I only recognized Jim Mahfood, and that was from his work drawing a couple of Kevin Smith’s Clerks comics back in the late 90’s. But these guys were all professionals, and it was enlightening to see how each of them approach their work. They all execute differently, and the interviews that Lowe conducted with each of them were each fascinating.
If you aspire to making comics or you just like the artform and want to really understand how much work and expertise goes into creating your favorite strips or books, this is a great book and should be on your shelf.