Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Graphic Storytelling and Visual Narrative” as Want to Read:
Graphic Storytelling and Visual Narrative
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Graphic Storytelling and Visual Narrative

(Sequential Art)

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  2,162 ratings  ·  59 reviews
In Graphic Storytelling and Visual Narrative, Will Eisner—one of the most influential comic artists of the twentieth century—lays out the fundamentals of storytelling and their application in the comic book and graphic novel. In a work that will prove invaluable for comic artists and filmmakers, Eisner reveals how to construct a story and the basics of crafting a visual na ...more
Paperback, includes new and updated material, 192 pages
Published August 17th 2008 by W. W. Norton Company (first published February 1st 1996)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Graphic Storytelling and Visual Narrative, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Graphic Storytelling and Visual Narrative

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.08  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,162 ratings  ·  59 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Graphic Storytelling and Visual Narrative
Disappointing. Eisner's reputation as a master cartoonist does not translate well to telling others how to do it--and furthermore, his examples from his own work of how to do it don't exactly work as ringing endorsements of his argument. This book is profusely illustrated (mostly with Eisner's own work, though some classic work by other hands appears too) to demonstrate his generally superficial and underdeveloped comments on various aspects of graphic storytelling. There are insights here, sure ...more
I guess I prefer Eisner’s theoretical writings to McCloud’s.
Nelson Zagalo
If you want an introduction about storytelling, or if you're looking for inspiration for visual storytelling, this is the book to pick. Brilliantly written and artistically inspiring for anyone trying to model, design or create new stories. ...more
Jul 06, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: art-ref
Kinda phoned in and full of dated stereotypes. Pass.
Daniel Watkins
The book is thin on explanations, and set in large type perhaps to make up for the word count. The author seems to detest film, and encourages the use of stereotypical characters for storytelling.
Very slow and repetitive, but there are some useful informations along the way and, more importantly, it’s fun to read and nicely illustrated. I wish it would be more theoretical, at some point I had the feeling it was intended for someone who had never read comic books before. I thought it would be more on how to write for comic books, but it’s more a book on how text is used in comics. I think the biggest flaw is the fact that generalities take the same space as technical advices, so it feels ...more
G (galen)
Sep 21, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Will Eisner, a master of comic art, on what makes for successful visual storytelling.

Eisner discusses the history of using visual narrative as a art/literature form and his concerned with changing the perception that comics are for 'people of low literacy and limited intellectual accomplishment.'

Most of the techniques and tips Eisner provides lend themselves more for the adventure and joke genre but I was really fascinated by the examples he provided of early woodblock print novels being publis
Jul 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I actually have the original '95 edition of this book (then just called "Graphic Storytelling"), so mine's not as shiny and mod as the one pictured here. But the meat in the middle is the same, and that's what I'm gonna talk about.

Will Eisner was a giant in the business and the perfect person to write this book.

He actually attacks the topic in a way that might catch you off-guard, showing you the process behind such blindly-accepted aspects of comic books as pacing (especially when it comes to
Aislinn Evans
i think my problem with eisner is how he constructs a point. in school, we’re taught point, evidence, explain. eg:

P: Maus’s style suits its story in these ways
E: some panels from the comic
E: this is how these elements mean it suits the story

and it’s the explain that’s missing - you’re bombarded with all these examples of what he’s talking about, but not even the analytical footnotes found in the early chapters of the previous book. it’s just a short summary of a point about storytelling and then
Giulia Renzi
Jan 08, 2021 rated it it was amazing
A short, yet precious, guide for understanding and making comics and/or graphic novels. With great examples to look at, Will Eisner lessons on how visual narrative works, why, and which are the differences between them is a must read for any aspiring author.

As it often happens with this kind of books and guides, the section on the most recent techniques and distribution methods is short and not that useful. This said, I still have 5 stars to this book because Will Eisner died in 2004, which mad
Jan 15, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: comics
I think I was expecting something closer to the Scott McCloud book (which was really good) or more of a book form of every frame a painting youtube channel. but this was a page of an idea then a miniature form of a comic showing the idea in action, no notes on the side or summary or anything. so cool in that it is an author showing he really understands how comics and graphics work together sometimes leaning more to one side then the other (a mix of narration thrown in) but not a good teaching b ...more
Oct 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is filled with a lot of helpful information, especially if you know very little about storytelling (like myself). However, the book is not long, and it's very easy to blow through the whole book without remembering much of what you just read. I recommend taking your time, reading deliberately, and really analyzing the example literature provided. If you plan on making comics, perhaps try to apply the lessons from each chapter in a strip of your own after reading each one. ...more
Sep 23, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: art-design
"A Will Eisner Instructional Book"

Instructional indeed, and superficial too.
This book must be shelved in the "dummies" section of bookstores. You expect way more than that if it's Will Eisner instructing. If you regard yourself as a very beginner in either reading graphic novels or studying graphic storytelling, go ahead and have a look at the content.
Wish I could have spent a bit more time with this but forgot I had it and then it was due. Tore through it. I did enjoy it.
Sakeri López
Though I liked reading it, I found it not as helpful as I wished. It has a lot of examples, but it lacks of actual information. Still I would say it is still a must read of the field.
A good introduction but lacks the nuance one would expect from Eisner.
This is graphic storytelling through graphic storytelling and a smattering of text.

Easy to read, fun, illuminating for anyone interested in comics, writing, or just storytelling in general, albeit distinctly non-technical. If you're looking for specific advice and details I would recommend Scott McCloud's series on Understanding Comics.

Two things stand out: one is the rather general advice mentioned above, dispensed in short textual form at the beginning of each chapter together with a few fun
Lisa Feld
Dec 07, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bard
This is the second of Eisner's books on creating comics and graphic novels, but I was much less impressed with it than by the first book, Comics and Sequential Art.

It was definitely easier to read: I think the fact that Scott McCloud's Understanding Comics had come out in the mean time allowed Eisner to drop the dense, academic language and convey most of his ideas through brief cartoons. But Eisner has less to say here than in his first book. CSA really unpacked all the choices open to a creat
Mar 10, 2009 rated it really liked it
Will Eisner Graphic Storytelling and Visual Narrative
(More pictures at

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

Telling a good story is an incredibly difficult. In this book, Will Eisner shares with readers some of things to be aware of when tackling storytelling using comics.

He talks about techniques to use to help build a more convincing story. This would include comic tools like lettering, building m
Shawn Birss
After reading Eisner's Classic, Comics and Sequential Art, I wished for more content, because the book was so insightful and helpful. This one, unfortunately, did not satisfy that desire. Where his first was dense with insight and thought-provoking ideas, this one feels like a B-side of rejected ideas. It doesn't really feel like it deserves its own book. A lot of it is recycled material from Comics, sometimes stated slightly differently but without the same polish and punch. It is also far more ...more
Ted Henkle
Feb 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: comics, writing
"Graphic Storytelling and Visual Narrative" is Book #2 in Will Eisner's how-to series on the principles of creating comics.

I liked this book as much as Book #1, "Comics and Sequential Art." Probably more so, because this one focused more on storytelling than art. I think the reason why this book had better appeal for me is because I'm more of a writer than an artist.

While the focus of "Graphic Storytelling and Visual Narrative" was in writing, its just as lavishly illustrated as the previous boo
Samuel Snoek-Brown
Aug 29, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Will Eisner was a genius. As a matter of personal taste, I prefer some of his proteges both for their written work and their work on how to write--Scott McCloud is, so far, still my top guy--but saying I prefer McCloud to Eisner is like saying I prefer Aristotle to Plato: Eisner is The Source of all modern graphic-narrative theory, and having read this, I see why. Better yet, he is so universal in his approach that he offers some fascinating new ideas for thinking about the craft of writing even ...more
Jan 07, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Will Eisner, for whom the industry's "Eisner Awards" are named, imparts his wisdom on how "comics" work as a cross-medium of words and art to educate and entertain.

Providing great examples of his main points through his own and others' work, this book really hammers home the key points of storytelling. The editors of this edition did a great job cleaning up and presenting the examples making it a quick and easy-to-digest read.

I felt the last fifth of the book seemed padded, but it was definitely

Podem ler a opinião completa no Floresta de Livros.

A great reference book for people who write or want to become comic writers. Will Eisner relies on real comic examples to accompany his few words.
In terms of art expamples and references, this book is amazing, but in terms of actually teaching something deeper (not just the superficial stuff we see a lot of), it lacks a bit.
Still, it's an amzing book which I recommend to anyone who has a liking for writing comic.
Chris Jones
Mar 31, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: comics, 2015
A lot of the content in Graphic Storytelling and Visual Narrative is already handled in the series' previous volume, Comics and Sequential Art. There are a few nuggets of wisdom, but they're buried under dozens of comic pages, presented to the reader all at once with no commentary. One of the great things about the first volume was that Eisner would make his points with a few pages of text at a time, then provide examples through a few pages of comics that were labelled and commented on to illus ...more
Nov 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
A little bit of an unusual comic book, as this is an educational/instructional book written by the great Will Eisner to reveal how to construct a story and to illustrate the basics for crafting a visual narrative. A precious resource for comic artists and film makers at large, I found this book extremely informative and entertaining at the same time. The use of drawing and the technique of ������showing to explain������ is definitely working at an advantage for the reader. Highly recommended if ...more
Paul Shillinger
I bought a copy of Graphic Storytelling and Visual Narrative because Scott McCloud praised Eisner's work so highly in Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art. I was disappointed that, in this book at least, Eisner didn't seem to have much to say on the subject that I hadn't already read elsewhere. ...more
It's a bit dated, but it's a great introduction to the storytelling involved in graphic novels and other forms of visual narrative. The examples are helpful and I love the way the text is interspersed with an illustrated story using cavemen to discuss storytelling. I found myself think over the things Eisner said about storytelling and how the mind views comic, print, and film.

A must buy for me.
I know these books are supposed to be classics, and he is a giant in the genre etc, but while this book was competently put together and had some reasonable things to say about storytelling I found it incredibly irritating. I didn't feel like I was learning anything, disagreed with a lot of his generalisations, and was offended by his reliance on hackneyed stereotypes (which is bad enough in fiction but unforgivable in examples of "good" storytelling) ...more
Ill D
Jan 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Stellar examination of everything that happens before you open up that comic book.

You're not just reading a series of images splashed to paper via a mere commercial transaction. You're buying 100s, if not thousands of hours of creativity, argument, boredom, mistakes, littleone the thousands of decisions made at every single level of human involvement before that cool story graces your eyes then your hands.

« previous 1 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Author Websites 1 2 Jan 17, 2014 07:47AM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Making Comics: Storytelling Secrets of Comics, Manga and Graphic Novels
  • Perspective! for Comic Book Artists: How to Achieve a Professional Look in your Artwork
  • Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art
  • How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way
  • Reinventing Comics: How Imagination and Technology Are Revolutionizing an Art Form
  • Framed Ink: Drawing and Composition for Visual Storytellers
  • Drawing the Head and Figure
  • Figure Drawing for All It's Worth (How to draw and paint)
  • Anatomy for the Artist
  • Alan Moore's Writing for Comics
  • The Animator's Survival Kit
  • Force: Dynamic Life Drawing for Animators
  • Keys to Drawing
  • Color and Light: A Guide for the Realist Painter
  • The Natural Way to Draw
  • Anatomy for the Artist
  • Imaginative Realism: How to Paint What Doesn't Exist
  • The Artist's Complete Guide to Figure Drawing: A Contemporary Master Reveals the Secrets of Drawing the Human Form
See similar books…
See top shelves…
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

Other books in the series

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

Related Articles

Author and illustrator Alice Oseman is known to her long-time fans for her young adult novels about—as she calls them—"teenage disasters,"...
358 likes · 25 comments