The best books for how to draw for animation, video games and comics

The Books I Picked & Why

Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art

By Scott McCloud

Book cover of Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art

Why this book?

I went to school to become a comic book artist and have been taught by many amazing professionals in that industry, including world-renowned Will Eisner. Even so, Scott McCloud’s book is chock full of clear information about the skills it takes to learn about the craft of comics. Cleverly, the book is taught in a comic book format, making it enjoyable and easy to understand comics!


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The Visual Story: Creating the Visual Structure of Film, Tv, and Digital Media

By Bruce Block

Book cover of The Visual Story: Creating the Visual Structure of Film, Tv, and Digital Media

Why this book?

Bruce Block has taught at many of the studios in the film industry and now you can also learn about the tools of art that can be used to elevate your art to entertainment industry standards. I myself have worked in animation, video games, and comics. In video games, I have been an art director for many years and when I discovered this book, it dramatically increased my ability to be a better AD. Not only is this book broken down into clear topics with numerous visuals to help you understand but Bruce also shows you have to chart these tools allowing you to art direct your own projects. Every artist and visual creative person should own this book.


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Framed Ink: Drawing and Composition for Visual Storytellers

By Marcos Mateu-Mestre

Book cover of Framed Ink: Drawing and Composition for Visual Storytellers

Why this book?

Marcos has been a DreamWorks concept artist for many years and shares his trade secrets in this beautifully illustrated book about composition. I myself have taught composition for decades and Marcos does a great job of sharing tools to direct an audience’s eye to where you want them to look. Learn how to do this in your own illustrations. Composition is one of the most important skills to learn in art and one of the least successfully and clearly taught.


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Frank Frazetta: The Living Legend

By Frank Frazetta, Eleanor Frazetta

Book cover of Frank Frazetta: The Living Legend

Why this book?

This book is not so much educational as it is inspiring. Frazetta’s work has inspired me and my students for the last three decades. When I attended art school in New York, I discover that Frazetta had a gallery in East Stroudsberg, PA. I would travel there in the hopes of meeting him in person, an event that never occurred. I did have many discussions with his wife and I would spend hours in the gallery attempting to decipher how Frazetta created the dynamic, illustrious sci-fi and fantasy illustrations. Also, something that never occurred. This particular book presents Frazetta’s ink drawings, masterfully drafted and full story.


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The Illusion of Life

By Frank Thomas, Ollie Johnson

Book cover of The Illusion of Life

Why this book?

I started my career at Walt Disney Animation Studios one year after graduating from school. I have the good fortune of working on The Lion King and learned a great deal about art, story, and collaboration while at the studio. This book is the best when it comes to understanding the tools to 2D animation and to many of the same skills used today in 3D animation. This book covers ideas in drawing, the principles of animation, and much more, all written by two of the nine old men, Frank and Ollie, masters of the craft.


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