Dave Gibbons is a living legend of the comic books world. He’s drawn pretty much everything that matters in the world of sequential art and his credits include Watchmen, Kingsman, 2000AD, Batman, Give Me Liberty and many, many more. What Gibbons doesn’t know about comics isn’t worth knowing and it’s safe to say that any advice the master can pass on should be seen as invaluable.
His book, How Comics Work, is an interesting and highly accessible overview into one of the world’s most powerful forms of media. It’s lushly presented; Gibbons has opened his many sketchbooks and folders to fill the pages with useful information. Drawings, tips and anecdote sprawl across each page and the whole thing is laid out in an eye-catching and easy to understand way.
Gibbons begins with the basics of storytelling and moves on to the various complexities of comic books. Sometimes these are simple pieces of advice, but often they are short anecdotes pulled from his substantial experience. Gibbons has worked with many of the best in the field and the information in these pages is invaluable. We learn much about the author’s heroes and creative influences, and gain a greater respect for the creator’s art.
This is not a definitive or comprehensive book; it aims to give a substantial overview of the methods used by someone at the height of a stellar career. It doesn’t walk you through how to draw or how to write a script. Instead it shows you how to use those skills effectively. It takes you through both simple and digital production techniques, talks about logo design, issues advice on lettering (and highlight master letterers) and so on. It does the same for pencils, inking, etc. Gibbons has produced a crucial work here; one that talks about process. It is essentially an easy to decipher ‘Master’s notebook’ and a worthy addition to any comic creator’s reference library.
It’s also filled with beautiful art and those of us who simply love comics will get a kick out of turning the page and learning how various iconic graphic novels were constructed. This is vital for fans of comics - both casual and professional.
HOW COMICS WORK / AUTHORS: DAVE GIBBONS & TIM PILCHER / PUBLISHER: ROTOVISION / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW