Hi there. I saw your post on how life is at SCAD majoring wise and was curious about what one might do if a school doesn't offer a sequential program. I wanted to go to scad, but due to finances and travel the option was less afforadable than another art school. Would you have any suggestions on what one could do to study sequential art on their own? Books, online course suggestions? (I apologize if this is a lot of questions, I completely understand if I'm asking too much.)
Hey! So having only gone to SCAD I’m no expert, but here’s what I’d do, as someone who is currently trying to get into comics. I’m starting from only an illustration background, so it’s challenging, but I think it’s very doable!
First of all, any traditional drawing skills classes you can take in or out of school would be great. Figure drawing, perspective drawing, construction drawing, and so on. Basically building up the skills to be able to draw most things out of your head and have them look reasonably convincing.
Secondly, read comics! You’ll have a much easier time learning to make comics if you’ve read lots of them and generally understand how they work. Make sure to read both webcomics and “classic” print comics, and try ones from different places! American comics are very different from Japanese comics, which themselves are very different from Belgian or French comics.
Lastly, here’s a list of books I’ve bought for classes and for myself, that I’ve found helpful
- Understanding Comics - Scott McCloud - What it says on the tin. This goes over a lot of the structure of comics as it’s understood, and covers a lot of central concepts we’ve all experienced in reading comics but probably never thought about. If nothing else it’s a fun read!
- Making Comics - Scott McCloud - Similar to the first one, but covers more angles of the art of actually MAKING comics. Reading this always gets me pumped to draw
- The Five C’s of Cinematography - Joseph V. Mascelli (can probably get this one for free as a PDF. I got it for like $6 on Amazon) - Admittedly haven’t read this yet but it’s required reading for a class I have next quarter and comes strongly recommended. I assume it covers a lot of the fundamentals of framing a shot, timing action, and so on that apply to comics as well as film.
- Rapid Viz - Kurt Hanks (same as above. Can probably get it for free. I got it used for real cheap) - Great intro to perspective and construction drawing! Also has a lot of exercises in it that are worth doing if you’re a beginner to constructing forms on the page. If you have no idea how to draw a gun or a car or a building, this has stuff in it that you’re gonna want.
- Color and Light - James Gurney - Got this for myself because my color needs work. This focuses more on traditional painting, but has a ton of great info about how light works and how it translates to painting. This is a great supplement to a color theory class, and has beautiful artwork in it as well! James Gurney also has a website and youtube channel with videos that I’ve found useful or inspiring in the past.
- Creative Illustration - Andrew Loomis - Loomis is often pretty dated, but this book covers some veeerrrryyyy important fundamentals on composition. Stuff I still struggle with a lot. Also, once again, this whole thing is available for free as a PDF!
- Just a whole bunch of art books. Never enough art books. Here’s my shelf. Note: not enough art books.
(Edit: The best art book I own is The Art of Wolfenstein: The New Order. Highly recommend this one even if you’re not into the game. It has some gorgeous art, but more importantly some nice iterations in the design process and a lot of good commentary about design decisions. This is everything I want from an art book. The game rocks too. Can’t wait for the new one!)