"Making Comics" is Scott Mccloud's third attempt at depicting the world of comics. While "Understanding Comics" was a true masterpiece with useful tips and great concepts, the second book "Reinventing Comics" was not as deep or fascinating as it predecessor. Is the last book of the trilogy closer to a masterpiece or is it a little bit deceiving like the second one?
Chapter one (Writing with pictures) is a good introduction to panel transitions that were already the subject of a chapter in the first book "Understanding Comics". You will also learn how to choose your frame properly for each panel so that you can create a good impression of the world you are depicting.
Then, Mccloud is spending a few pages on demonstrating that the choice of image is also important. What style should you use and what should you display or not display in a panel? Finally, the book is focusing on how to choose the right choice of flow.
Comic books can be complex to read when filled with panels that don't match properly. Your readers must know which panel comes first and how to read a page without feeling lost. The purpose of this chapter is to make sure that your comic book will be readable and easy to understand.
The second chapter is dealing with character design, facial expressions and body language. Once again, all three aspects are well-covered and fully illustrated with rich and relevant examples.
I was especially impressed with the "facial expressions" section. Mccloud is providing useful illustrations and a unique view on how to mix and create great emotions.
This part of the book is very important when you know that a comic book's success will rely on great characters that are believable, expressive and attaching. This chapter only is a good reason to purchase this book!
The third chapter of "Making Comics" is devoted on the power of words. Basically, the author is depicting seven images/words combinations that could be used to create a panel. Words are powerful for specific purposes will images are good to deliver different messages. Finding a good balance between these two aspects of a comic book is essential to create a nice result.
Chapter four is called "World building". Mccloud is focusing on building great backgrounds to create a more immersing result. A few pages are also devoted on using perspective, but other references will be necessary if you want to cover perspective more accurately.
The fifth chapter is about tools, techniques and technologies. For me, this part of the book was not as interesting as the other chapters. There are a few good tips that you could learn while reading this chapter, but overall, Mccloud is not going as deep as he usually does in the other parts of the book.
The next chapter (the sixth one) is an essay about style in comics. You will have the opportunity to read things like "Understanding Manga" to "Understanding Genre" or "Understanding Comics Culture". Once again, this chapter is short and is only covering a few basic aspects.
The last chapter is a small conclusion in which Mccloud is coming back on a few topics from the book and delivers a good message to stimulate your creativity and your motivation.
At the end, "Making Comics" is another good reference that is closer to the quality of the first one, "Understanding Comics". Although not as interesting or fascinating as the first book, this third attempt is really worth the price and should be on your list for next Christmas too!
Even if "Reinventing Comics" was a little bit of a let down compared to the other two books, Mccloud's trilogy is definitely something every comic book lovers should own. Easy to read, loaded with useful tips and concepts, making comics as never been more stimulating than ever!
About the book:
Author: Scott Mccloud
Publisher: Harper Paperbacks
Number of pages: 272 pages