There are lots of “how to” cartoon books on the market. In general, they offer some basic instruction on how to draw funny animals, suggest some key art supplies to get and then offer a few figures for you to copy. “The Cartoonist’s Bible” by Franklin Bishop does pretty much all of that, and then goes an extra step to point readers in the right direction for making money off their fabulous funnies.
Presented in an easy-to-prop-up spiral binding, the book is certainly different looking than most instructional guides. Instead of a few staples or saddle stitching, we get pages that open up onto a flat surface. That’s pretty important when you’re using it for reference from a drawing table (or writing a review of it!).
The interiors are nicely illustrated by a variety of artists, even though it appears that writer Franklin Bishop has plenty of his own inside. And while it’s nice that Bishop does a majority of the art in the book, greater lengths should have been taken to identify all of the contributing artists piece by piece. This would have allowed readers to look up more on the styles that pique their interests.
Once you get past the chapters on cartooning basics, Bishop offers up some decent — if a little vague — advice on organizing yourself, selling your cartoons and protecting the cartoonist’s rights.
In all, it’s a through enough book but seems to miss being “An essential reference for the practicing artist” as it says it is on the front cover. Instead, it’s perfect motivational book for someone just stepping into the artist’s life — such as a high school artist. For a professional, already-trained artist it’s a bit lightweight.
The Cartoonist’s Bible
By Franklin Bishop
Quarto Publishing/Chartwell Books
ISBN: 0-7858-2085-X (ISBN-13: 978-0-7858-2085-7)
Cover Price: $12.99 (?)