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Draw Fight Scenes Like a Pro    by Jeff Johnson order for
Draw Fight Scenes Like a Pro
by Jeff Johnson
Order:  USA  Can
Watson-Guptill, 2006 (2006)
* *   Reviewed by Lance Victor Eaton

Just because you don't have a black belt in some form of martial arts, doesn't mean that your characters should suffer, right? Well, that's what Jeff Johnson wants to assure.

Right from the Introduction, Johnson makes a connection between comics and violence that would have Frederic Wertham, renowned comic book moralist, jumping up and down saying, 'See, I told you.' Yet, what Johnson says makes sense. Yes, comic books do have a lot of violence that we like to hide behind the euphemism of action. Many of the more popular comics are dominated by violence and yet, some of Western civilization's most sacred literature - from Homer to Shakespeare - is dominated by violence. Imagine The Iliad without war or Hamlet with no killing - where's the drama? So if you're going to draw violence in a comic book, Johnson wants to make sure you get it right.

Johnson looks at a variety of aspects that are needed when considering fight scenes in a comic book. He starts off with the basics in order to put everyone on the same page regarding what goes into a fight scene - such as the figure's action, clothing manipulation, and pre-strike build-up. Other chapters consider the different forms of fighting and various types of action, such as physical and super-powered action. Of course, the quintessential chapter evaluates the stages of a fight scene so that artists can understand the rhythm but also spice it up in their own style. Added into all of these chapters are exercises and instructions for practice to help further the reader's progress.

This book is crucial to aspiring artists, but also quite useful to fans because it positions so much of what they see in comic books, allowing them to better deconstruct and examine the medium. Loaded with pictures and outlines, this book provides plenty of examples to help clarify its points. The lucid and simple text makes it even more accessible. The book doesn't talk down to readers but instead simply states ideas and concepts, minimizing confusion. Whether an amateur or an emerging artist, anyone can find useful information within the pages of Draw Fight Scenes Like a Pro. Though by no means a definitive text on the topic, it gives a decent and informative perspective to the concept of action in comic books.

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