Book Review: Make Comics Like the Pros

Book Cover: Make Comics Like a Pro by Greg Pak & Fred Van Lente

160 pages, ISBN 978-0-385-34463-0, Random House, September 2014

If you’ve ever aspired to write comics or a graphic novel, or even if you’re just curious about how the magic happens, this is a must-have book!

Make Comics Like the Pros by Greg Pak and Fred Van Lente guides you step-by-step through the creation process from story idea right through the submission and publication process.

Written in an easy to understand, conversational style by two award-winning comic book writers, the book is fully illustrated, with lots of examples alongside text that explains everything you ever wanted to know about writing comics.

The authors talk about all the roles that go into making a comic: the writer, the artist, the inker, the colorist, the letterer and the editor. With special emphasis given to how teamwork plays a vital role in this industry.

There are tips on collaborating, as well as helpful do’s and don’ts style “commandments” for each role in the comic book process, so you can avoid common mistakes and be the best at whatever role you choose to pursue.

Throughout the book, the authors use one of their own comics, Swordsmaids, as an example and show you how it came to life from the small seed of an idea to full-color pages. You get to see author notes, along with script pages and then artist renderings from those pages.

After the chapters on creating, there is a chapter devoted to how to pitch your story idea to publishers as well as a chapter that explains what’s involved if you want to produce your comic book independently. This book really does cover everything.

I was initially drawn to this book (no pun intended) because my son loves to create comics and I thought it would give him an idea of what the profession was like, should he wish to pursue it when he’s grown up. And as I started reading it, I was fascinated by the artistic process  and all the different elements that go into making a comic book.

I was really impressed with the level of detail in this how-to book. I particularly enjoyed the ability to see a page from a script and then see the resulting ink drawing and then the colorized final version of the comic book page that went with that script. It really helps show you exactly how one piece leads to the other and what sort of work each step involves. It also gives you a good appreciation of just how much talent and work goes into each comic book you see on a newsstand.

I highly recommend Make Comics Like the Pros by Greg Pak and Fred Van Lente to anyone who wants to know how to write comics or graphic novels, or even if you’re just curious about all the work that goes into one. It’s really eye-opening.

5 enthusiastic stars for this one!


(FTC Disclaimer: I received this book for free from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.)