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Streamline Your Comic Book Art

Updated on July 20, 2014

I had a dream, and that dream was to learn to draw--to learn to draw comics and cartoons. My first attempts were pathetic at best, and I nearly gave up. You can read more about that here, I Wish I Could Draw, if you'd like. But before I gave up, I thankfully reached out for some assistance, in the way of books. One in particular by Christopher Hart, called Simplified Anatomy For the Comic Book Artist.

I guess you can imagine, I was drawn in by the word "Simplified." It's kind of like those, learn to build a house for dummies books, or whatever, but this one was just a bit different. I did bring up the preview of the book on Amazon, and flipped through the preview pages, and noticed all of the drawings had a certain simplicity to them, so I was taken by them.

The truth is, this book is not exactly simple, in that it will not take you from 0-60. However, it will break things down into simple steps, by taking things little by little. Christopher Hart has a bonafide technique for doing this. If you search Amazon for his name, you'll note that he's built an empire of How-To draw books. It's almost obscene, but his books sell, and he's not even an actual comic book artist. He makes a living by writing How-To books on how to draw cartoons and comics. It's his niche to teach.

The book begins with the head, and takes it from the look of the skull, before laying out the different angles to be drawn for three different possible looks--a man, a woman and a beast. Then he goes on to do the same for the body, and each one, as is customary in cartoons, is drawn to the extreme. The man has bulging muscles, as does the woman, although a bit more sleek and feminine. And the beast is just bursting with girth and horns atop his head. Although the word anatomy is in the title of the book, it's not exactly about getting accurate anatomy, as much as it's about bringing it out to the reader of a comic book (go big, or go home, as they say).

The book moves on to demonstrate the common archetypes of comics, then he shows something called the simplified skeleton, which is extremely informative. Imagine breaking down the human body into nothing more than differing sizes of triangles, diamonds, lines and cylinders for the shaping, and then using those to do the sculpting. This is where the big benefit of the book comes into play.

The final portion of the book is a veritable encyclopedia of super hero muscle groups, for both men and woman, as well as some of the most important poses in comics. There's even a section on interesting hands and feet posturing, which is great, because those can be tricky to nail down.

As far as the word anatomy goes, it won't teach much, but if you want to get a super-duper head start on drawing super heroes, action heroes and villains, this book offers some great guidance to get you up and running quickly. I loved reading it, and if you love to draw, and you want to learn to draw streamlined super heroes, I bet you will to. So, why not pick it up today.

Figure It Out! The Beginner's Guide to Drawing People (Christopher Hart Figure It Out!)
Figure It Out! The Beginner's Guide to Drawing People (Christopher Hart Figure It Out!)

This is a must have for the beginning comic artist learning to draw the human form.

Human Anatomy Made Amazingly Easy
Human Anatomy Made Amazingly Easy

These are advanced examples of learning about human anatomy in easier terms than begin with skeletal muscles and move from there.

How to Draw Comic Book Heroes and Villains (Christopher Hart's How To Draw)
How to Draw Comic Book Heroes and Villains (Christopher Hart's How To Draw)

This is a slow building book that teaches the techniques of comic artists to bang out creative unique looking characters in minutes.


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    • boneworld profile imageAUTHOR

      Jackson Thom 

      5 years ago from West of Left South Lucky

      @Elsie Hagley: Thanks, and you bet. I've been loving drawing for a while now, but I couldn't have gotten into it without the right direction.

      Thanks for the kind words, and thanks for stopping by.

    • Elsie Hagley profile image

      Elsie Hagley 

      5 years ago from New Zealand

      Nice review.

      I can see you enjoy drawing, thanks for sharing, so other art workers can enjoy learning from these books as you have.

    • boneworld profile imageAUTHOR

      Jackson Thom 

      5 years ago from West of Left South Lucky

      @MangaOtaku: Hey, thanks so much. I think everyone can use a little work on their anatomy. It's kind of par for the course. I'm big on anime to, but this book is kind of geared towards Americanized comics. But Christopher Hart has at least a dozen books that are gears towards anime and Manga as well, you might be interested in. Hart has books on just about anything you can think of drawing, as far as cartooning goes. So far, I've been pretty pleased. There are plenty of other authors out there to, but I've been pretty happy with what I've found in his books. I like his teaching style. It works for me. Thanks for stopping by.

    • boneworld profile imageAUTHOR

      Jackson Thom 

      5 years ago from West of Left South Lucky

      @ColettaTeske: Thank you for the encouragement. I really appreciate it. And thanks for stopping by.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      This must be a good book, you are turning into an incredible artist. Thank you for the great review!

    • MangaOtaku profile image


      5 years ago

      Nice review! I draw in anime/manga-style myself, and though I have a fair grasp of anatomy, I really don't know enough. This was definitely informative for me, and once I have any money to spend on it I might pursue a purchase of some of his books, and I'll use your lens to do it. Thanks. :)


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