by Bryan Patrick Avery
Using pictures to tell a story is a form of storytelling that goes back thousands of years. From cave paintings to hieroglyphics and mosaics to the Sunday funnies, using illustration to communicate thoughts, feelings, and ideas is a method that resonates with readers long after the work is created.
The graphic novel is another medium that mixes art and language to tell a story. While there are those who think reading a graphic novel isn’t really reading, I believe it is a critical form of storytelling. This month, let’s look at some resources that can help you understand, plan, and create graphic novels.
Will Eisner, pioneer of the graphic novel form, is revered as a master of storytelling using sequential art. The Eisners, awarded annually to the top works in the comics industry, are named for him. It’s no surprise, then, that the most sought-after book on creating comics and graphic novels comes from him.
COMICS and SEQUENTIAL ART is an inside look at how Eisner views the art of craft of creating comics. This insightful book covers everything from using images to convey meaning to the proper (and improper) use of the frame to how to write a comic or graphic novel. The book contains numerous examples from Eisner’s own work. It is an indispensable resource for anyone looking to understand how to write and/or illustrate a graphic novel or comic book.
Another book that I think anyone looking to create a graphic novel should read is Scott McCloud’s UNDERSTANDING COMICS. Written as a graphic novel with McCloud as its main character, this book covers everything from the vocabulary of comic books to timing and language.
Part instruction manual, part dissertation on how/why people connect to comics, this book is a must read if you want to develop comics or graphic novels that really connect with readers. You’ll never read a graphic novel the same way again.
Speaking of reading a graphic novel, here are a few of my favorites to read and study. They are truly masterful works that resonate with readers.
Well, that’s all for this month. Until next time, happy reading and writing, and have a magical month.
Bryan Patrick Avery discovered a love of magic and mystery at the age of four, after receiving a magic set and his first Bobbsey Twins Mystery book. Today, he is an award-winning poet and author, and a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and the Mystery Writers of America. He's also a life member of the Society of American Magicians (which was once led by Harry Houdini) and charter member of the International Association of Black Magical Artists. Bryan's greatest joy is making stories appear out of thin air.
We are so excited to be mixing things up at CBA, beginning with some delicious additions to the Blogfish. Meet our awesome new bloggers!!
Here's our lineup:
1st Mondays begin with Clear Fork/Spork editor/art director, former agent and former kidlit professor Mira Reisberg PhD who is also the Director of the Children's Book Academy.
2nd Mondays will feature super smart Melissa Stoller whose career is taking off with several new books.
3rd Mondays will feature Bryan Patrick Avery, published writer, man of mystery, and professional magician among other things.
4th Mondays feature funny Aussie author Sharon Giltrow sharing awesome Aussie books.
And 5th Mondays will be a total surprise!