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Comics and Sequential Art: Principles and Practices from the Legendary Cartoonist (Sequential Art)

4.11  ·  Rating Details  ·  3,530 Ratings  ·  74 Reviews
Will Eisner is one of the twentieth century's great American artists, a man who pioneered the field of comic arts. Here, in his classic Comics and Sequential Art, he refines the art of graphic storytelling into clear, concise principles that every cartoonist, comic artist, writer, and filmmaker meeds to know.

Adapted from Eisner's landmark course at New York's School of Vis
Paperback, 175 pages
Published August 17th 2008 by W. W. Norton & Company (first published 1985)
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Aug 22, 2014 BigJohn rated it liked it
Comics and Sequential Art is the first of three books in a series of comic book instructional books written by comics legend Will Eisner. The creator of the widely-popular Spirit comic strip from the 1940s, Eisner wrote one of the earliest (if not THE earliest) books exploring the medium of comic book storytelling, dissecting it and distilling it for would-be creators to consume and enjoy.

I first heard of this book when reading Scott McCloud's incredible Understanding Comics, in which he makes m
Nicole Janik
Apr 26, 2011 Nicole Janik rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
I read this book to assist me in developing a project for my graphic design course. Despite reading a lot of comics, and feeling like I have a vague sense of their history and development, this book caused me to look at the actual composition of comic books in a completely different way. I am legitimately looking forward to picking up my next graphic novel or comic book, since I know that I, thanks to this book, now have the means of looking at its composition critically. A lot of the things dis ...more
Dec 05, 2012 Parka rated it it was amazing
Will Eisner Comics and Sequential Art
(More pictures at

This is one of the three instructional books written by Will Eisner. The other two are Graphic Storytelling and Visual Narrative and Expressive Anatomy for Comics and Narrative.

The book focuses on the creation of comics and the various techniques one can use. Specifically, it talks about the why the techniques work and the concepts behind. The various lessons touch on timing, framing, composition, expressive anatomy, writing for comics and other application of c
Alex Howard
Aug 18, 2007 Alex Howard rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I went to a local comic book store to buy something for my sister (Fables: Animal Farm--Those of you who like topsy-turvy fairy tale stuff will probably enjoy this) and wanted to pick up a book for myself about drawing (a new, but very engaging activity for me) or a comic with illustrations that I liked. I flipped through a bunch of things at the counter and handed the guy at the counter a stack of things I didn't want and couldn't seem to put back in their protective plastic bags without gettin ...more
Joel Griswell
Aug 03, 2011 Joel Griswell rated it really liked it
Wow, hmm, I currently feel like the worst comics fan in the world--but I actually didn't like this book at all. In fact, it took me several weeks to read half of it, and then I just stopped. I'm not quite sure why. I found it just hard to read, even though it's a pretty short one. It seemed to be that Eisner wasn't really saying much that was particularly useful, or it just seemed really basic, I also didn't appreciate that every single example was from "The Spirit". I'm sure in it's day, it was ...more
Feb 09, 2016 Lucie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars
I read this for class. It wasn't the most interesting book ever but it was enjoyable. I found that some of the example comics were actually a bit confusing because I didn't always understand the story.
Jan 21, 2016 SmartBitches rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Full review at Smart Bitches, Trashy Books

Back in November 2015, I reviewed Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud. At the time, a lot of people suggested that I read Comics and Sequential Art by Will Eisner, and I’m so glad they did. Understanding Comics is a wonderful Comics 101 course and Comics and Sequential Art kicks it up to the next level.

Comics and Sequential Art presumes that the reader has a working definition of what a comic is and that the reader has a certain comfort with the materi
Jul 24, 2015 Nicole rated it really liked it
This book is great for anybody looking to get started making comics; however, it is by no means a complete guide. I would recommend this book alongside Scott McCloud's Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art — each artist approaches comics from a slightly different point of view. Whereas McCloud's book is about appreciating comics, this book focuses on their production: how to frame a scene, how to convey timing and emotions, how to develop a plot, how to work with a writer. Eisner tips his ha ...more
James Thompson
Jun 05, 2015 James Thompson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Will Eisner, the 'father' of modern comics and sequential art. No, he did nott invent the art or craft, he simply perfected it to level beyond pictures strung together. Will Eisner's work on A Contract With God and Other Tenement Stories and Will Eisner's New York: Life in the Big City are considered two of the most groundbreaking works in sequential art.

In order to properly break the rules, you must first understand them. Eisner's book along with Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art are my b
Sarah Schanze
Mar 16, 2012 Sarah Schanze rated it liked it
Shelves: art-related
I'm beginning to think I'm becoming desensitized to a lot of these drawing books. They all have something solid and good to say about comics and art and what-have-you, but after a while it all starts to repeat. Still, some good stuff in here, especially if someone doesn't know anything about comics.

Just try to ignore the blatant racism in some of Eisner's sample comics. They were written in the 40s and 50s, after all.
Natalia L
May 19, 2010 Natalia L rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Though I'd say it's more for the artists than the writers of the medium, I found this book interesting and informative. Its contents include imagery, timing, the frame, and writing. I'll definitely be keeping Eisner's pointers in mind. I also enjoyed the examples of comics throughout the book.
Lucas Mota
Jan 10, 2016 Lucas Mota rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fica evidente que Will Eisner domina a linguagem quadrinística de forma assombrosa. Seus conselhos e técnicas expostos nesse livro estão sempre recheados de exemplos práticos, cheios de descrições e explicações, o que facilita muito o aprendizado.
Apesar de ser uma grande lição para qualquer amante dos quadrinhos ou aspirante a quadrinista, o livro não tenta ser uma aula, preferindo mais o formato parecido aos "comentários do diretor" em um DVD/Blu-ray.
Ainda assim, é uma excelente ferramenta de e
Nov 25, 2015 Tony rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: art
COMICS & SEQUENTIAL ART. (1985). Will Eisner. ****.
Eisner, the famed creator of “The Spirit” comics, taught a course as by this title at the New York School of Visual Arts. I’m sure that this book was the basis for the course. I learned more about the techniques of comics and graphic arts from this work than I ever knew. I was not aware of all of the potential techniques that could be used in accomplishing the artist’s intents. If you are interested in the subject at all, this could well be
Ted Henkle
Feb 18, 2015 Ted Henkle rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: writing, comics
Ever since I started delving in to the how-to of making comics, I've heard a lot about Will Eisner and the Eisner Award.

So when I saw a copy of his Comics and Sequential Art at Merlyn's, I snatched it off the shelf without hesitating.

Originally published in 1985, and adapted from his course while at New York's School of Visual Arts, this instruction book from a comics master is now nearing it's 30th printing.

Comics and Sequential Art, is not a book on how to draw and letter. Instead it is a "...
Oct 19, 2009 Jillian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read the 2008 edition.
Lisa Feld
Aug 17, 2015 Lisa Feld rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bard
I was torn between rating this 4 or 5; it's dry and a bit of a slog in places, but it's also a really revolutionary work, even 30 years after its first printing. Lee and Buscema's How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way, which came out in 1984, told aspiring artists how to create different perspectives (bird's eye view, worm's eye view), how to lay out a page, how to pick the most dynamic pose for each panel, etc. A year later, Eisner turned all that advice on its head: he breaks down how panel layout ...more
Gayle Francis Moffet
What a remarkably well-written, long-standing book this is. Written by Eisner back in the '80s, Sequential Art is surprisingly timeless. I was expecting to get advice and tips that would be out-of-date, but Eisner wasn't writing a book with an expiration date; he was writing a book that only needs occasional minor updates to stay relevant. It's remarkable to think about. With all the changes in the comics industry since he wrote the book, you'd think Sequential Art would show its age a little, b ...more
Joshum Harpy
Dec 11, 2010 Joshum Harpy rated it it was amazing
A nice read, though I think it went over a bit too much of the same material as the last book I read in this series, Graphic Storytelling and Visual Narrative. I'm not sure if they are meant to be read in a particular order and I got off track, but this seemed to hammer on a lot of similar points. It was still worth reading for me and I recommend the series to any comic book geeks or would be creators. If only because it is such a wealth of insight to be able to have the basic form comic books a ...more
Philippe Lhoste
Will Eisner est un génie de la BD, figurant haut dans mon panthéon personnel, pas loin de Franquin, qui partage avec lui un dessin dynamique, souple et expressif (même si les styles sont très différents) et un art de la narration teinté d'humour.

Il a commencé sa carrière en dessinant des BD pédagogiques pour l'armée américaine, a dessiné la série The Spirit une bonne partie de sa vie, et a inventé le roman graphique avec des titres comme un Bail avec Dieu, l'Appel de l'espace ou New York.
De plus
Oct 12, 2008 Erinc rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: All who would like to learn more about comics
Shelves: about-comics
From my blog: Reviewing Comics

In the preface to his Comics and Sequential Art (1985), Eisner states his purpose as to examine the unique aesthetics of comics as a means of creative expression, a distinct discipline and an art and literary form. Echoing his lifetime battle for the acceptance of comics as a recognized art form, Eisner argues that upon reviewing the features of the comic books, their unique elements take on the properties of a language, which he is about to dissect and illustrate.
Oct 31, 2013 Elizabeth rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sequential-art
One of the basic premises Eisner returns to throughout the book is that there is a pretty specific universality of meaning: that there is a wealth of detailed meaning humans hold in common, for most every gesture, facial expression, character stereotype, symbol, etc. Eisner defines a lot of comic success through the creator having access to a detailed understanding of a given reader's response (drawing on this wealth of common experience he thinks they share) and the creator manipulating that re ...more
A Classic Reference for Comic Artist (and Writers)

Regarded as one of the classroom classics for artists working in creative development, this book is a great resource to have on your shelf--especially if you're managing a creative team. Most of the fundamentals presented in this book are applicable today with animation and instruction. I think this book would be best to work through with a work group as a reference while developing a creative project so everyone's sharing the same vocab
Feb 07, 2008 Jordan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non_fiction
While this book is obviously aimed more at artists, I couldn't very well keep calling myself a comic writer without finally reading it cover to cover.
Overall, it's a fine resource. But I couldn't help feeling a little disappointed. I think I was expecting to have my mind blown, while most of what was presented came across as common sense. I'm sure that's because the points he makes are so fundamental and integral to the comic art form they underlie everything else ever written about it. So while
R Leitner
Dec 10, 2014 R Leitner rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Aspiring Graphic Novelists
Shelves: how-to
I liked this book more for Eisner's artwork than for the technical explanations. If you are looking to get into the comics industry, this book will be helpful, if you are just a comics fan who's curious about "Why?" and "How?" check out Scott McCloud instead.
Mike MacDee
Jan 23, 2016 Mike MacDee rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Must-have for any aspiring comic artists, whether they're getting into print or online comics. This is always the first book I recommend to them (the other being Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud).
Myrjam Van de vijver
Great book for who wants to learn more about comics. A bit outdated here and there (the part about the use of computers and digital comics made me chuckle), but still a lot of very solid basic comics theory.
I see why it's the premier book on graphic novels. Although at times it feels as dated as its original publish date of 1985, it's still a concise and thorough examination of the medium. Excellent resource.
Dec 27, 2014 Mduritz rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Will Eisner expone de forma clara y concisa las claves del cómic y de su proceso de creación. Los ejemplos visuales fabulosos para los momentos en los que se explica mejor una imagen que el propio texto.
La pega, que está algo desactualizado, debido a que ya tiene más de una década, y las menciones a cualquier aspecto relacionado con la tecnología (ordenadores, imprentas...) son escasas y rudimentarias; además, al haber sido escrito antes del boom actual que han sufrido las artes visuales, apena
Aug 21, 2015 Sylvester rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: comics, reference, art
Comics and Sequential Art is an excellent introduction to art of comic book production from drawing, storytelling to pressing and printing. A good reference guide for young comic artists.
Feb 15, 2013 Skulleigh rated it liked it
These are my initial thoughts, as I definitely want to read back through it since it's so often highly recommended. I am trying to learn more about sequential art story-telling, as I'd like to try my hand at creating some short minicomics.

The book has good information in it, but came across as a wall of examples to me. The issue I have is an updated edition, but I think it would be good to treat it as a textbook and get some new examples that don't have as much racism and sexism in them.

I may i
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WILL EISNER was born on March 6, 1917 in Brooklyn, New York. By the time of his death on January 3, 2005, Will Eisner was recognized internationally as one of the giants in the field of sequential art, a term he coined.

In a career that spanned nearly eight decades -- from the dawn of the comic book to the advent of digital comics - Will Eisner was truly the 'Father of the Graphic Novel' and the 'O
More about Will Eisner...

Other Books in the Series

Sequential Art (3 books)
  • Graphic Storytelling and Visual Narrative
  • Expressive Anatomy for Comics and Narrative: Principles and Practices from the Legendary Cartoonist

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“Comics deal with two fundamental communicating devices: words and images. Admittedly this is an arbitrary separation. But, since in the modern world of communication they are treated as independent disciplines, it seems valid. Actually, the are derivatives of a single origin and in the skillful employment of words and images lies the expressive potential of the medium.” 16 likes
“Thus, sped by currents of curiosity afloat the swift river of rumor do secrets sail to strange ports.” 11 likes
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