100 books like Graphic Storytelling and Visual Narrative

By Will Eisner,

Here are 100 books that Graphic Storytelling and Visual Narrative fans have personally recommended if you like Graphic Storytelling and Visual Narrative. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art

Tyler Fisher Author Of The Artist's Drawing Book: Learn How to Draw, Sketch, Shade, and More with Easy Lessons and Practice Pages

From my list on unleashing your creative potential.

Why am I passionate about this?

For me, art is a journey of relentless questioning, exploring, and introspection. As an artist, author, and educator, I have relied on each book in this collection to further my creative journey. The titles that I've selected offer unique perspectives on the transformative power of art and have had the biggest effect on my students, my peers, and my own artistic growth. I believe that art is a language that is and should be for everyone, providing a conduit for individual expression, problem-solving, and innovation. Each of these titles has offered pivotal "aha" moments while igniting my passion, and I hope they allow you to unlock your creative potential.

Tyler's book list on unleashing your creative potential

Tyler Fisher Why did Tyler love this book?

This one may surprise you, but I assure you that Understanding Comics is an absolute gem!

McCloud has crafted an intellectual yet accessible guide that is not just a study of comics but a masterclass in communication and the art of storytelling. This book provides a rich fusion of insightful theory and practical advice, all conveyed through the very medium it discusses, making it a uniquely immersive experience. 

McCloud’s engaging style and profound understanding of the mechanics of comics didn't just educate me;  they enchanted me. His deep dives into the psychology behind why we connect with comics pair perfectly with his diegetic examples of framing, composition, and visual motivation. It’s a journey through the mechanics of comics that turns into a deeper exploration of visual expression and human perception.

Art is, in essence, a storytelling medium, making this book as invaluable for artists and writers as it is for…

By Scott McCloud,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked Understanding Comics as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The bestselling international classic on storytelling and visual communication "You must read this book." - Neil Gaiman Praised throughout the cartoon industry by such luminaries as Art Spiegelman, Matt Groening, and Will Eisner, Scott McCloud's Understanding Comics is a seminal examination of comics art: its rich history, surprising technical components, and major cultural significance. Explore the secret world between the panels, through the lines, and within the hidden symbols of a powerful but misunderstood art form.


Book cover of Reinventing Comics: The Evolution of an Art Form

Lee Nordling Author Of Comics Creator Prep

From my list on the craft of comics.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m an Eisner-nominated and award-winning graphic novel and comics writer, editor, and book packager. I've worked on staff at the Los Angeles Times Syndicate, Disney Publishing, DC Comics, Nickelodeon Magazine, and Platinum Studios. My sequential art book, The Bramble, won the 2013 Moonbeam Gold Medal for Picture Books, and I created a new way to read comics with BirdCatDog, a 2015 Eisner Awards nominee, that received the 2015 Moonbeam Spirit Award Gold Medal for Imagination, and was chosen by Kirkus Reviews as one of the best children’s books of 2014. SheHeWe, the third book in the series, was a 2016 Eisner Award nominee for Best Publication for Early Readers.

Lee's book list on the craft of comics

Lee Nordling Why did Lee love this book?

While there are many good books out there on the craft of understanding, writing, and making comics, my suggestion for what to read establishes a bedrock on which careers can be built. Scott’s follow-up book to Understanding Comics continues to explore how comics work, and how they can work. In short, he just doesn’t define the sandbox in which you can play; he shows you how to expand the sandbox so that you can do things that have never been done before.

By Scott McCloud,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Reinventing Comics as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In 1993, Scott McCloud tore down the wall between high and low culture with the acclaimed international hit Understanding Comics, a massive comic book that explored the inner workings of the worlds most misunderstood art form. Now, McCloud takes comics to the next level, charting twelve different revolutions in how comics are created, read, and perceived today, and how they're poised to conquer the new millennium.

Part One of this fascinating and in-depth book includes:

The life of comics as an art form and as literature The battle for creators' rights Reinventing the business of comics The volatile and shifting…


Book cover of Making Comics: Storytelling Secrets of Comics, Manga and Graphic Novels

Lee Nordling Author Of Comics Creator Prep

From my list on the craft of comics.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m an Eisner-nominated and award-winning graphic novel and comics writer, editor, and book packager. I've worked on staff at the Los Angeles Times Syndicate, Disney Publishing, DC Comics, Nickelodeon Magazine, and Platinum Studios. My sequential art book, The Bramble, won the 2013 Moonbeam Gold Medal for Picture Books, and I created a new way to read comics with BirdCatDog, a 2015 Eisner Awards nominee, that received the 2015 Moonbeam Spirit Award Gold Medal for Imagination, and was chosen by Kirkus Reviews as one of the best children’s books of 2014. SheHeWe, the third book in the series, was a 2016 Eisner Award nominee for Best Publication for Early Readers.

Lee's book list on the craft of comics

Lee Nordling Why did Lee love this book?

The subtitle to Making Comics is: Storytelling Secrets of Comics, Manga, and Graphic Novels. In this book, Scott gets practical, and shows you how to apply what you learned from his previous volumes. In his introduction, he writes, “The comics industry is changing fast. Old formats die and new ones are born. Whole industries come and go. But these storytelling principles always apply. They mattered fifty years ago and they’ll matter fifty years from now.” To quote Stan Lee, ‘nuff said.

By Scott McCloud,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Making Comics as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Magnificent! The best how-to manual ever published." - Kevin Kelly, Cool Tools Scott McCloud tore down the wall between high and low culture in 1993 with Understanding Comics, a massive comic book about comics, linking the medium to such diverse fields as media theory, movie criticism, and web design. In Reinventing Comics, McCloud took this to the next level, charting twelve different revolutions in how comics are generated, read, and perceived today. Now, in Making Comics, McCloud focuses his analysis on the art form itself, exploring the creation of comics, from the broadest principles to the sharpest details (like how…


Book cover of Comics and Sequential Art: Principles and Practices from the Legendary Cartoonist

Lee Nordling Author Of Comics Creator Prep

From my list on the craft of comics.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m an Eisner-nominated and award-winning graphic novel and comics writer, editor, and book packager. I've worked on staff at the Los Angeles Times Syndicate, Disney Publishing, DC Comics, Nickelodeon Magazine, and Platinum Studios. My sequential art book, The Bramble, won the 2013 Moonbeam Gold Medal for Picture Books, and I created a new way to read comics with BirdCatDog, a 2015 Eisner Awards nominee, that received the 2015 Moonbeam Spirit Award Gold Medal for Imagination, and was chosen by Kirkus Reviews as one of the best children’s books of 2014. SheHeWe, the third book in the series, was a 2016 Eisner Award nominee for Best Publication for Early Readers.

Lee's book list on the craft of comics

Lee Nordling Why did Lee love this book?

Eisner was a comics and graphic novel pioneer, first by his work on his classic creation, The Spirit, and then with his graphic novels. Eisner offers valuable, personal, professional, and practical insights into how the sequential art medium can be tailored to your intentions. In his foreword, he writes: “This work is intended to consider and examine the unique aesthetics of sequential art as a means of creative expression, a distinct discipline, an art and literary form that deals with the arrangement of pictures or images and words to narrate a story or dramatize an idea.”

By Will Eisner,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Comics and Sequential Art as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Will Eisner is one of the twentieth century's great American artists, a man who pioneered the field of comic arts. Here, in his classic Comics and Sequential Art, he refines the art of graphic storytelling into clear, concise principles that every cartoonist, comic artist, writer, and filmmaker meeds to know. Adapted from Eisner's landmark course at New York's School of Visual Arts, Comics and Sequential Art is an essential text filled with invaluable theories and easy-to-use techniques. Eisner reveals here the fundamentals of graphic storytelling. He addresses dialogue, anatomy, framing, and many other important aspects of the art form. Fully…


Book cover of Let's Make Comics!: An Activity Book to Create, Write, and Draw Your Own Cartoons

Art Roche Author Of Art for Kids: Comic Strips, 3: Create Your Own Comic Strips from Start to Finish

From my list on for kids to learn about cartooning.

Why am I passionate about this?

My name is Art Roche and I've been drawing cartoons and comic strips for over twenty-five years. I wish everyone drew comics! Comic strips are an amazing art form that has been around for thousands of years. With a simple pencil, pen, and paper the artist can tell thrilling stories, make hilarious jokes, or illustrate their own diaries. Once you learn the basic mechanics of how comics are designed and built, anyone can begin drawing them regardless of talent level or experience.

Art's book list on for kids to learn about cartooning

Art Roche Why did Art love this book?

The author of this book is a working cartoonist and illustrator and that makes this one of the best books out there. The book packs an immense amount of practical information about how to draw cartoons into easy, fun worksheet-style activities. Different styles of writing, as well as complex concepts, are communicated in simple visually striking lessons. I have to admit if I was giving a young artist a book (and they already had both of mine) I would definitely give them this book. It’s comprehensive, fun, and simple. It also allows the young artist room to draw in their own style, instead of copying a given drawing. That’s one of my pet peeves!

By Jess Smart Smiley,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Let's Make Comics! as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A light-hearted interactive guide to comics and cartoon-making that uses an activity book format and creatively stimulating prompts to teach the fundamentals of cartooning in a fun and easy-to-follow fashion.

From a working cartoonist and comic book making instructor, this all-ages activity book uses humorous and informative one-page comics and exercise prompts to guide young readers (and readers who are young at heart) through easy-to-master lessons on the skills needed to make comics. The activities cover a range of essential comics-making tasks from creating expressions for characters to filling in blank panels to creating original characters and placing them in…


Book cover of The Book of Onions

Jimmy Craig Author Of Are You Gonna Eat That? The Essential Collection of They Can Talk Comics

From my list on webcomics that are even better in print.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a comic fan first, then a comic creator. I grew up on the classics—Calvin and Hobbes and The Far Side and excitedly watched as new comics popped up online. I love comic strips and have rows of collections lining my bookshelves. The coolest part of starting my own series has been becoming a member of a cartoonist community that I have always been a huge fan of.  

Jimmy's book list on webcomics that are even better in print

Jimmy Craig Why did Jimmy love this book?

I immediately loved Jake’s comics. The art style and humor is right up my alley.

They’re a perfect intersection of print comics like The Far Side and online ones like The Perry Bible Fellowship.

The internet seems especially suited for timely comics that don’t always age well, they’re scrolled past and never read again, but this collection is perfect for print because the comics are timeless and worth repeat reading.  

By Jake Thompson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Book of Onions as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Book of Onions is a collection of darkly funny comics from Jake Thompson, creator of the celebrated bi-weekly webcomic "Jake Likes Onions."

Ranging from the relatable to the utterly nonsensical and bizarre, The Book of Onions focuses on themes of loneliness, desperation, and failure. And misplaced optimism. And perverted talking fruit. Sort of like Gary Larson's "The Far Side," if Gary were way less accomplished and suffered from depression.


Book cover of MetaMaus

John Carey Author Of A Revolution in Three Acts: The Radical Vaudeville of Bert Williams, Eva Tanguay, and Julian Eltinge

From my list on merging art with personal history.

Why am I passionate about this?

I had been an exhibiting painter and an editorial cartoonist for years, but never a graphic book artist. Not until A Revolution in Three Acts. I was fortunate to have great guidance: my buddy David Hajdu (Positively Fourth Street, Lush Life, The Ten Cent Plague) wrote the words, did the research, and created the blueprint of every page and panel. My job was to lock myself up in my studio and draw, draw, draw. I think David and I did justice to three amazing figures of the American stage who dealt with the shifting societal forces of race, femininity, and gender: Bert Williams, Eva Tanguay, and Julian Eltinge.  

John's book list on merging art with personal history

John Carey Why did John love this book?

This is the backstory of Spiegelman’s two-volume masterpiece.

What was the impetus for MAUS? How did comic creatures find their way into a Holocaust narrative?  What were the reactions to such a unique merging of cartoons and historical horror? How has Spiegelman dealt with the book’s tremendous reception?

The book answers these questions with many interviews, photos, explanations, and reflections. Even agent and publisher rejection letters are included.

By Art Spiegelman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked MetaMaus as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NATIONAL JEWISH BOOK AWARD WINNER • Visually and emotionally rich, MetaMaus is as groundbreaking as the masterpiece whose creation it reveals.

In the pages of MetaMaus, Art Spiegelman re-enters the Pulitzer prize–winning Maus, the modern classic that has altered how we see literature, comics, and the Holocaust ever since it was first published twenty-five years ago.
 
He probes the questions that Maus most often evokes—Why the Holocaust? Why mice? Why comics?—and gives us a new and essential work about the creative process.
 
Compelling and intimate, MetaMaus is poised to become a classic in its own right.


Book cover of American Splendor: The Life and Times of Harvey Pekar

Camilo Aguirre Author Of What Remains: Personal and Political Histories of Colombia

From my list on international documentary comics about the world.

Why am I passionate about this?

Documentary Comics are this genre of comics in which you can make a community visible, denounce a crime or expose yourself to the world. Being able to dialogue with the world while dialoguing with the reader is amazing. The elements you have to take into account the things you can hide in the silence of a drawing, compelling the reader to read again, to find the easter egg about that thing you really want to talk about. The ways of telling the truth in drawings. All those things are the things that I love about documentary comics.

Camilo's book list on international documentary comics about the world

Camilo Aguirre Why did Camilo love this book?

I am not recommending a particular volume or compilation. In general I love the work of Harvey Pekar.  He has brought me closer to Documentary Comics than any other author. He worked with reflections and anecdotes and was one of those authors that from the writing was able to defy the common places in comics making. Yes, he was a scriptwriter, but he pulled out so many amazing comics from the graphic formula and made them work. I remember seeing gigantic balloons with blocks of text. Pages and pages of close-ups, and they weren’t boring.  A comic about him reflecting on his masculinity by unclogging the toilet. Amazing.

By Harvey Pekar,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked American Splendor as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Meet Harvey Pekar, a true American original. For over 25 years he's been writing comic books about his life, chronicling the ordinary and mundane in stories both funny and touching. Working as a hospital file clerk in Cleveland, his dead-on eye for the frustrations and minutiae of the workaday world mix in a delicate balance with his insight into personal relationships. Illustrating his stories are the cream of the underground comics world, including the legendary Robert Crumb. Pekar has been called 'the blue collar Mark Twain', and compared to Dreiser, Dostoevsky and Lenny Bruce. With American Splendor now an award-winning…


Book cover of Let's Talk about It: The Teen's Guide to Sex, Relationships, and Being a Human

Meg-John Barker Author Of Sexuality: A Graphic Guide

From my list on comic books about sexuality.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a queer writer who is passionate about getting good awareness of gender, sexuality, relationships and mental health out there into the world. I create comics, zines, blog posts, and self-help style books to try to reach as wide an audience as possible, bringing together the work of activists, scholars, therapists, and creators - and drawing on a diverse range of knowledge and experiences - in the hope of helping us all understand ourselves and our world better.

Meg-John's book list on comic books about sexuality

Meg-John Barker Why did Meg-John love this book?

Most of the people I’ve spoken to received terrible sex and relationship education. This is the comic book to rectify that. Buy it for young people so that they have a better experience than you did, and buy it for yourself to make up for what you went through back then.

Let’s Talk About It is an awesome inclusive, accessible graphic book, and beautifully illustrated throughout. Erika and Matthew do a great job of covering the questions young people really want answered, through dialogues between a beautifully drawn cast of characters who are navigating their own way through this complex, confusing territory. 

The guidance given is warm, friendly, realistic, and clear, likely to alleviate much of the fear and shame we all have around these topics.

By Erika Moen, Matthew Nolan,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Let's Talk about It as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 14, 15, 16, and 17.

What is this book about?

Is what I'm feeling normal? Is what my body is doing normal? Am I normal? How do I know what are the right choices to make? How do I know how to behave? How do I fix it when I make a mistake?

Let's talk about it.

Growing up is complicated.

How do you find the answers to all the questions you have about yourself, about your identity, and about your body? Let's Talk About It provides a comprehensive, thoughtful, well-researched graphic novel guide to everything you need to know.

Covering relationships, friendships, gender, sexuality, anatomy, body image, safe sex,…


Book cover of How to Be Ace: A Memoir of Growing Up Asexual

Meg-John Barker Author Of Sexuality: A Graphic Guide

From my list on comic books about sexuality.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a queer writer who is passionate about getting good awareness of gender, sexuality, relationships and mental health out there into the world. I create comics, zines, blog posts, and self-help style books to try to reach as wide an audience as possible, bringing together the work of activists, scholars, therapists, and creators - and drawing on a diverse range of knowledge and experiences - in the hope of helping us all understand ourselves and our world better.

Meg-John's book list on comic books about sexuality

Meg-John Barker Why did Meg-John love this book?

There are very few books - let alone graphic books - out there covering asexuality. This comic strikes a great balance between informing the reader about asexuality, and challenging many of the myths that still persist around it, as well as telling Rebecca’s own story of coming to understand her ace experience.

How to be ace is a great, accessible, engaging read for anyone on the ace or aro spectrum themselves. It’s also a very helpful book for everyone to get a better sense of the diversity of a/sexual experience.

By Rebecca Burgess,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked How to Be Ace as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

PRISM AWARDS FINALIST 2021
GREAT GRAPHIC NOVELS FOR TEENS - YOUNG ADULT LIBRARY SERVICES ASSOCIATION (YALSA) 2022

"When I was in school, everyone got to a certain age where they became interested in talking about only one thing: boys, girls and sex. Me though? I was only interested in comics."

Growing up, Rebecca assumes sex is just a scary new thing they will 'grow into' as they get older, but when they leave school, start working and do grow up, they start to wonder why they don't want to have sex with other people.

In this brave, hilarious and empowering…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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