Book Review: Basic Perspective For Comics & Illustration


Pat Quinn’s Basic Perspective For Comics & Illustration

Pat Quinn's Basic Perspective for Comics & IllustrationAs some of you may know, I’ve posted a series of articles in Yes, You Too Can Draw! covering one-point, two-point, and three-point perspective. Basic Perspective for Comics & Illustration was one of the books that I referenced while writing the article on three-point perspective. It’s one of the books I’ve often looked back to whenever I’ve faced a difficult problem involving perspective.

If you’re new to drawing or trying to up your game, perspective drawing can be a struggle at times. Many times, working with perspective can be an over-glorified pain.

The other issue is that mastering perspective takes time. Even “gifted” as I was at a young age, learning about and learning how to apply perspective took a long time. I remember as an aspiring comic book artist, drawing a complex mall scene on a page that took days to just pencil. (I wasn’t drawing just cubes and rectangles.) To supplement my ignorance, I purchased many books that cover this topic and more. Some nearly scratched the surface, and a few were pretty exhaustive. Basic Perspective for Comics & Illustration is only one of two books that I’ve purchase on perspective that I actually keep out on hand.


About Blue Line Art and Pat Quinn

This book is published by the good people at  Blue Line Art, who sell art supplies, offer print-on-demand services, and publish Sketch Magazine. I first discovered Blue Line online a long-@$$ time ago while I was searching for paper that could survive extensive penciling and inking. Back then, they were mainly known for their 3 ply art boards with the pre-printed template. (Their art boards are awesome by the way.) After a while, Blue Line started publishing Sketch Magazine. Given the lack of information on creating comic book art at that time, I gobbled up every issue I could get my hands on. Soon after, Blue Line started releasing art books. I had purchased their basic guide on coloring in PhotoShop and Basic Perspective For Comics & Illustration by Pat Quinn.

The author, Pat Quinn has been a regular at DC Comic, Wildstorm, and Image. He’s also a contributor to Sketch Magazine. Pat also knows his audience since he has plenty of experience teaching them as a professor at both the Art Institute of Atlanta and the Savannah School of Art and Design in Atlanta, Georgia. Back around 2008, I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Quinn (while he was head of SCAD Atlanta’s Sequential Arts Department) during a SCAD open-house. Unfortunate, I showed up with a cold and barely able to speak. Worse yet, I was toting around a not-so-impressive portfolio. But Quinn was nice enough to speak with me and to give me some constructive criticism of my work. That left me with a pretty good impression of the man.


The Book In-depth

Quinn’s writing style is easy to understand. He makes liberal use of illustrated examples to help solidify his points. The book is never overly technical. It also utilizes step-by-step guides that can be followed by the reader to learn each technique.

This deceptively thin book is broken down into six part:

  • Applying Perspective for Storytelling
  • One Point Perspective
  • Two Point Perspective
  • Powerful Perspective for Panels
  • Three Point Perspective
  • Drawing Characters in Space

In the first section, Pat Quinn makes the case for incorporating perspective into your art and storytelling. He not only makes the common argument, that perspective will liven up your drawing, but he also makes the point that perspective can also help to advance your story. He explains how to “choose your shot” to emphasis and make specific moments stand out. Quinn also demonstrates some potential faux-pas that young artists tend to make.

Basic Perspective inside pages

In the sections covering one, two, and three-point perspective, Quinn starts with how people view objects in each type of perspective. He also demonstrates how to use each type of perspective to draw a scene in a step-by-step tutorial.

In his chapter on Powerful Perspective for Your Panels, Quinn provides the reader with all sorts of golden nuggets. Here, he teaches the reader how to draw a staircase, circles and cylinders, equidistant spacing, and objects with different vanishing points. These are issues that can easily undermine a budding artist.


Characters In Space

This can be a difficult topic to write about. I say that because most characters, people, etc are made up of organic shapes. Due to that fact, it’s easy to assume that you can either ignore or fudge the perspective while drawing a character. Quinn tackles this issue much like Andrew Loomis in his books, [amazon text=Figure Drawing for All It’s Worth &chan=amazon default&asin=0857680986] and in [amazon text=Successful Drawing&chan=amazon default&asin=0857687611]. Quinn boxes-up his figures and works though a variety of scenarios that the reader might tackle. He even demonstrates ways of drawing characters and their surroundings using different types of perspective.

Page 34 of Basic Perspective for comics and illustration
Click to enlarge.

 Reasons to Buy This Book

If your goal is for a career in illustration and/or comic books/manga, I recommend purchasing Basic Perspective For Comics & Illustration.Consider the fact that you will be learning from a guy that has been in the trenches, day in and day out, in the comic book industry. Pat Quinn also has experience working with students that will later enter the business. The clear and cleanly drawn examples found in this book will be invaluable to any reader who needs to quickly learn the basics of perspective drawing. Basic Perspective For Comics & Illustration will provide you with a solid foundation in perspective drawing. Last, but not least, buying a copy won’t break you financially.

You can pick up a copy today at [amazon text=Amazon&chan=amazon default&asin=1888429186] or directly from the publisher at Blue Line Pro’s store. Both stores ship world-wide.