Monday, July 18, 2011

Adventures in Cartooning

Sturm, James, Andrew Arnold, and Alexis Frederick-Frost. 2009. Adventures in Cartooning. New York: :01 (First Second)

Adventures in Cartooning was published in 2009, but was recently brought to my attention by Diamond Comic Distributor's, Diamond Bookshelf e-newsletter. The latest edition featured a news article entitled, "Learn the Language of Cartooning: Resources for Non-Artists and Nervous Beginners."  I love comics; and I don't do it often, but I do love to draw (though "non-artist and nervous beginner" both describe me quite well).

In any case, Adventures in Cartooning: How to turn your doodles into comics, is a unique resource for young artists who have great ideas but lack great artistic skills.  A comic book itself, Adventures shows the budding cartoon artist how to use basic cartooning principles to overcome any lack or imagined lack of drawing skills when creating a comic.  Can't draw someone running?  No problem.  Draw the same figure in four different panels and change the scenery.
Running uphill?  Align the panels diagonally rather than horizontally. 

What makes this book so unique is that it's actually a story featuring an elf, a knight and a horse.  The elf points out the artistic principles inherent in the story. At one point in his quest to fight a dragon, the knight and his trusty horse are dropped from the sky.  As they fall upside down through the clouds, the helpful elf points out, "Long panels are good for going down, too!"

Following the story are "The Magical Elf's Cartooning Basics," instructions (à la Ed Emberly) for drawing the story's characters, a sample story done by a young artist, and a short strip "About the Authors," in which the authors appear as a three-headed monster.

A winner for budding cartoonists or graphic novelists.

Read pages 5-22 on :01's site.
An interview with the authors appears here.

It's Nonfiction Monday.  Be sure to check out all of today's posts @
 Anastasia Suen's Chapter Book of the Day.


  1. What a neat book! You had me at "Draw the same figure in four different panels and change the scenery." I look forward to sharing this book with a nephew as well as an elementary school art teacher I know...super! Thanks.

  2. I think I've seen the cover before and could kick myself for not picking it up. It looks great. I bet there are lessons on sequence that would tie in nicely with this book.


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