Archive for category Author: Daniel Cooney

The Graphic Novelist’s Guide to Drawing Perspective || Dan Cooney

I was particularly keen to have a look at this, as coming at perspective from a different – and specific – angle could well provide new insights for the general artist.

Perspective in graphic art is often enhanced as figures leap or reach out of the frame, but it also requires realistic, accurate and proportional backgrounds for them to work within and against. There is considerable potential there for landscapes and figure work.

The first thing that strikes you on a quick flick-through is the amount of workspace. This is a book where you practise on the page, so working in pencil would be a good idea. Most of the grids are squared-up, but some come with vanishing points helpfully hard-coded into the guidelines and this is certainly going to make things easier.

The book is certainly thorough and varied, but I’d recommend starting from the beginning and working through it. Opening it at random, or even trying to find a particular topic, can be confusing as diagrams, practice pages and grid lines seem to come at you from all angles. Rather like trying to untangle a ball of string, it helps to find a free end and work from there.

Will it appeal to the general painter? Does it make their life any simpler? To be honest, I’m not sure. Graphic art tends towards the technical and this does too – at times, it feels more like technical drawing – and this might be a bar to clarity for many. However, if you’re struggling with perspective and haven’t found another book that really explains it to you, at least have a look at this. It’s nothing but thorough and may be the breakthrough you’re looking for.

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Figure Drawing for Comics and Graphic Novels || Daniel Cooney

I’ve seen a number of books on drawing strips over the years and this is easily the best because it manages to feel both contemporary and timeless. The hurdle that all books like this have to get over is that they can’t illustrate real-life examples, nor can they do a sustained book-length demonstration; everything has to be covered in a few pages leaving you, the reader, to work out how to develop the ideas (probably just when you’d welcome some advice on that score).

What Daniel Cooney doesn’t do is attempt to emulate any particular style or genre (although there’s ample evidence that he’s a pretty good inker), but rather show you how to get to grips with the basics, such as figure and character modelling, as well as the construction of strips, including some concise examples of right and wrong.

I’ve waxed lyrical elsewhere about the virtues of Quarto, who put this together. If ever a book needed a design-led approach, it’s this one and they’ve acquitted themselves well.

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