The first thing you notice when you look at a book on cartooning is that they’re never (ever) written by anyone you’ve heard of. Initially, there’s a pang of disappointment; after all, what you’d really like is to hear how [insert name of favourite cartoonist] goes about things. But hang on a minute, all those people have readily identifiable styles. They draw like they draw and you can spot their style a mile off. You wouldn’t want to draw like that yourself, what you want is to develop an individual style that makes you stand out in just the same way.
So, you’re going to have to put up with another commercial artist whose work you’ve probably seen hundreds of times without knowing it because they work to order and in almost any required style. Suddenly it doesn’t sound too bad, it starts to make sense. Unfortunately this book didn’t come with an information sheet, so I can’t tell you who Franklin Bishop is, but don’t let that worry you. He’s OK, sound, knows his stuff.
The Artist’s Bible series has previously been working its way through a variety of painting media and making a damn good fist of it. From a small, but not constricted, page size and a lay-flat binding, the various titles offer basic advice on a wide range of techniques and application methods, most of which are handled across a single spread so that you can get potted information easily and concisely. What you sacrifice in depth of information, you get back in ease of use and clear presentation that, most of the time, will tell you as much as you need to know as a starting point or for general information.
This particular book runs through tools and materials, basic drawing and types of cartoon as well as covering the process of going professional and a look at the various markets before concluding with a rather handy gallery of expressions.
You know what’s nagging me? Every page of this book I look at, I think, “I’ve seen this bloke’s work somewhere”. He’s got to be working under other names. You may not have heard of him, but I’d swear you’ve seen his work.
The Artist’s Bible series is originated by the packager Quarto, who have been in the forefront of illustrated book design for many years and deserve a mention.
First published 2006