Draw Fight Scenes Like a Pro

    (Watson-Guptill, 2006)
™ and © 2006 Watson-Guptill

The list of competing “how to draw” books has become long, but this entry climbs the ranks by focusing on the action at the heart of comics: fighting. The author, veteran artist Jeff Johnson (who drew Marvel’s Wonder Man series a decade ago and, more recently, CrossGen’s Way of the Rat), draws from his experience as an aikido black belt. His real–world expertise gives his advice an authenticity that distinguishes it from other contenders.

Starting from the basics of building the body and putting it into motion, Johnson next compares various martial arts, both in theory and practice. This helps define, not just the powers of characters, but also their personalities. Then, he stages the progression of fight scenes in terms of perspective, pacing, and plot. In the last of the nine chapters, guest artists illustrate these principles in action.

Proving there is more than one way to skin a rat, Johnson demonstrates an understanding of combat that even most professional pencillers lack and from which almost every aspiring artist could benefit.

— Oliver Chin

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 Jeff Johnson