Comics: Easy as ABC! by Ivan Brunetti

Comics: Easy as ABC! is an accessible introduction to drawing for young artists, but the content includes one big misstep.

Comics: Easy as ABC! An Essential Guide to Comics for Kids by Ivan Brunetti and contributors. Toon Graphics, 2020, 50 pages.

Comics: Easy as ABC! by Ivan Brunetti

Reading Level: Middle grades, ages 8-10

Recommended for: ages 6-12

You could think of this book as a scaled-down version of Understanding Comics, as it presents a wider perspective than the standard how-to. Several graphic novelists and strip writers contributed artwork, including the late Art Spiegelman, Jeff Smith, and Neil Gaiman. The content is presented in a scrapbook format, blending how-two pages with quotes, random tips, and illustrative examples from the contributors. Also occasional plugs for Toon Graphics, the publisher. Young artists are encouraged throughout to observe techniques and styles, practice freehand and free association, and study examples. This is sound advice, and the “try it yourself” pages are simple enough that most kids can copy them and gain confidence as they do.

One caveat, a rather large one. One of the “Tips” begins this way: “Adults lie! . . . especially with their faces.” After instructing artists to draw a cartoon character making the same statement, but with different expressions, the text reiterates, “The fact that adults lie is not only a secret of comics, but also of life itself!” Uh . . . adults lie, but kids don’t? And why inject a blanket social observation in a book about drawing comics? Even though the other tips are instructive and the drawing instruction sound and accessible, this odd little aside could be a deal-breaker.

Overall Rating: 3.25 (Out of 5)

  • Worldview/moral value: 3
  • Artistic/literary value: 3.5

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Comics: Easy as ABC! by Ivan Brunetti

Janie

Janie is the VERY senior staff writer for Redeemed Reader, as well as a long-time contributor to WORLD Magazine and an author of nine books for children. The rest of the time she's long-distance smooching on her four grandchildren (not an easy task). She lives with her equally senior husband of almost-fifty years in the Ozarks of Missouri.

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