Comics : How To Draw Spider-Man (Troll)

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This story is part of a Lookback Series: Book of the Month Club

This review was first published on: 2004.

Background...

"How to Draw" books are a pretty popular thing. The theory goes that your average open-mouthed adoring comic book fanatic pre-teen almost certainly harbours a desire to make a big splash in life by drawing super-heroes. I know I sure do, and my pre-teen years are at least two decades behind me. So, why not give him a book that promises to teach in a few short pages what takes most people a few years of hard graft to learn.

In Detail...

How To Draw Spider-Man (Troll)
Year 2002 : SM Article
Find ISBN 0816774471
Publisher:  Troll Communications
Writer:  Steve Behling
Pencils:  Alex Saviuk
Inker:  Bob McLeod
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Review

This particular "How to Draw Spider-Man" book runs to 32 full-color pages, with a soft card binding. Size is 8.5" x 11", which is plenty big enough for our purposes. Art is by Alex Saviuk and Bob McLeod, who sure have enough credentials for the job, having arted their way through plenty of Spidey comics.

Page 1 tells you what you need - some grid paper, pencils, color pencils, etc. Then on page 2, you start copying the examples from the grid. The examples include the stick/circle skeleton, and also the outline. So it doesn't have you draw your own figures, you just copy various standard poses.

Actually, this is a pretty sound approach I guess, in that it gets you drawing super-heroes pretty quick off the mark, but also shows you the underlying way that actual artists build up their figures. On the other hand, you don't actually get any real training in building up your own skeletons, you're left with just the one pose for each villain, and three or four classic poses for Spidey.

There's a page on perspective for drawing New York buildings, and a page on foreshortening, just to give you an introduction. But really, the focus of this book is to show you the absolute basics and get you sketching a few stock poses by copying using grids. In that limited sense, I guess it achieves its goal well enough, while producing a brightly colored and attractive book in the process.

In General...

Really, I think this book should be called "How to Copy Spider-Man". If you're really interested in drawing from scratch, you would be better off to look at Klutz: Draw The Marvel Comics Super-Heroes, which gives a somewhat more thorough treatment of the subject. Or better still, if you're really serious, sign up for an art class, and practice two hours a day!

But to be fair, this book would certainly make an attractive present for a 10-15 year old Spider-Fan who fancied themselves as a future comic book artist, and wanted some major hand-holding while they started on their career.

Overall Rating...

Achives exactly what it intends to do, no more, no less. Three webs.