part two reference and guidance

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Chinn, M. (2004). Writing and Illustrating the Graphic Novel: Everything You Need to Know to Create Great Graphic Works. Hauppauge, NY: Barron’s.

Mike Chinn’s guide is colorful, vibrant, and – most importantly – full of useful advice, suggestions, and expertise. He covers necessary the necessary elements – style, substance, where to get ideas, how to develop characters, how to self-publish. He’s very good at using examples of existing graphic novels to illustrate his instruction.

Eisner, W. (1996). Graphic Storytelling. Tamarac, FL: Poorhouse Press.

Eisner, W. (1985). Comics & Sequential Art. FL: Poorhouse Press.

Will Eisner is the legendary sequential artist, a true pioneer to the form. Simply – there is no higher master to teach comic art. His 1978 masterpiece A Contract with God was one of the first graphic novels, so he is truly a pioneer. His guides are straightforward and accessible, yet he compels the reader to see his or her potential.

Gertler, N. & Lieber, S. (2004) The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Creating a Graphic Novel. Indianapolis, IN : Alpha Books.

The power people over at the Complete Idiot’s Guide couldn’t have picked better authors for their graphic novel issue. Nat Gertler and Steve Lieber are seasoned readers, writers, educators – not to mention total enthusiasts of the graphic novel and its rapid progression. Bonus: they make the learning process as fun (and funny) as possible.

McCloud, S. (1994) Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art. New York: Harper Paperbacks.

McCloud, S. (2000) Reinventing Comics: How Imagination and Technology Are Revolutionizing an Art Form. New York: Harper Paperbacks.

McCloud, S. (2006) Making Comics: Storytelling Secrets of Comics, Manga, and Graphic Novels. New York: Harper Paperbacks.

Scott McCloud uses his versatile expertise in the genre to produce guides that are accessible, informative, easy-to-read, and inspiring. Understanding Comics is the essential must-read for any aspiring comic artist – a comic book about comics. History, form, story, characterization – it’s all there.

Todd, M. & Watson, E.P. (2006). Whatcha Mean, What’s a Zine? The Art of Making Zines and Mini-Comics. Boston: Graphia.

This innovative guide by zine enthusiasts Mark Todd and Esther Pearl Watson is not only full of passion for the DIY approach to publishing creative ideas, but it also embodies the true indie spirit in its format and style. Full of half-done sketches and typos, this book encourages pure free expression – imperfections and all.


Artist Jessica Abel’s website has a lighthearted, helpful DIY tone to it. This is a great resource for advice from someone who has been in the business.

Absolute Write
Links to articles, interviews, web comics series, and places to submit.

How To Write Graphic Novels
A community blog full of writing tips, links to articles, and links to comics.

24-Hour Comics Challenge
Here’s a challenge: write 24 pages of comics in less than 24 hours! 24 Hour Comics Day ( is an annual challenge to comic book writers all around the world that turns up the pressure on the creative process. Last year, over 1200 artists lost a night of sleep for the opportunity to participate. The result? Stories, fun, and brilliant comics. Participating comics stores provide food, drink, and camaraderie for participants. For more information on this year’s 24-Hour Comics Day, check the website or the blog.

Part Three: Recommendations for Further Inspiration

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