art, graphic novel

The Drawing Lesson: A Graphic Novel That Teaches You How to Draw

The Drawing Lesson
Author & Illustrator: Mark Crilley
Publisher: Watson-Guptill
Genre: Art / Graphic Novel
ISBN: 978-0-385-34633-7
Pages: 144
Price: $18.99

Author’s website
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David really wants to be an artist just like his classmate, Ryan Pasternak. So when he spies an artist, Becky, sitting on a park bench, drawing, he begs her to teach him. Soon he’s learning how to draw what he sees.

David pesters Becky for more lessons, showing up at the coffee shop she frequents and even at her home. Although Becky seems to get angry with him at times, she feels David is working hard and has some real talent. In a series of lessons, Becky shows David how to shade, beginning with a loose sketch, understanding light and shadow, using negative space, checking proportions, simplifying things, creating a composition, and bringing it all together. David is an eager and willing student, and by the time he completes his lessons, he’s mastered most of the basics.

Although David would love to continue learning with Becky, she needs to move out of state, and a tearful good-bye ends this tale. The Drawing Lesson is a wonderful “how to draw” book, told through a graphic novel story, that really explains how to draw what you see. I highly recommend this entertaining and educational book.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

cats, dogs, graphic novel

Graphic Classics Vol. 25: Canine / Feline Classics

Graphic Classics - Canine & Feline Classics
Authos: Ray Bradbury, P. G. Wodehouse, Algernon Blackwood, Robert E. Howard, Franz Kafka, Saki, Edward Lear, Joe R. Lansdale, Carl Sandburg, Joseph Jacobs, H. P. Lovecraft, Ambrose Bierce
Editors: John Lehman, Tom Pomplun
Illustrators: Dragan Kovacevic, Neale Blanden, Milton Knight, Senthil Kumar, Evert Geradts, Hunt Emerson, Shary Flenniken, Jim McMunn, J. B. Bonivert, John Findley, Shepherd Hendrix, Randy DuBurke
Publisher: Eureka Productions
ISBN: 978-0-9825630-8-3
Pages: 144
Price: $19.95

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If you’re looking for warm and fuzzy animal stories, you won’t find them in this book. Instead, dark tales like The Emissary, Ancient Sorceries, The Beast from the Abyss, and Dog, Cat and Baby fill these pages, along with the appropriately somber illustrations. A few cheerier tales in The Owl and the Pussycat, Ulysses and the Dogman, and What I Learn from Dogs/Cats are interspersed to lighten things up.

Teens (and adults) can augment their literary knowledge by reading these abridged classics. Illustrations are provided by several talented authors, as these stories come to life in graphic novel form.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

graphic novel, history, literary

Graphic Classics Vol. 24: Native American Classics

Native American Classics
Authors & Illustrators: Various
Publisher: Eureka Productions
Genre: Historical & Literary Fiction
ISBN: 978-0-9825630-6-9
Pages: 144
Price: $17.95

Graphic Classics website
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This volume of graphic classics includes stories, poems and myths of the Native Americans. Some, like The Story of Itksikamahidish and the Wild Potato and The Stolen White Girl are fun and amusing, while others like The Soft-Hearted Sioux and The Cattle Thief are quite disturbing. The native people suffered at the hands of white men, and these stories don’t shy away from this grim reality.

For complete details of the content of this book, please see the website above. Graphic Classics Vol. 24: Native American Classics follows in the tradition of the previous volumes. The illustrations are nicely done and fit the theme of each story well. Anyone interested in Native American legends and myths will enjoy this book.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

graphic novel, history, teen

Terra Tempo: The Four Corners of Time

Terra Tempo - The Four Corners of Time
Author: David Shapiro
Illustrators: Christopher Herndon & Erica Melville
Publisher: Craigmore Creations
Genre: History / Graphic novel / Teen
ISBN: 978-0-9844422-6-3
Pages: 272
Price: $17.99

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Jenna, Caleb and Ari have found a new map which will let them time travel 550 million years into the past. In this sequel to Ice Age Cataclysm!, they travel back in time, anticipating a great adventure, but this time they’re not alone.

Their new map was created a century before, and those involved in its creation are traveling through time to find it. These men carry guns and will do anything to get it back. The kids now not only need to watch for angry beasts, but also dangerous humans.

The prehistoric past is a fascinating time for budding paleontologists, and Terra Tempo: The Four Corners of Time touches on some of the interesting eras in earth’s history. Told as an adventure graphic novel, rather than a history lesson, it will inspire kids to learn more about these time periods. And they can look forward to more from Jenna, Caleb and Ari, as the conclusion promises even more adventures ahead.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

classics, graphic novel, holiday

Graphic Classics Vol. 23: Halloween Classics

Publisher: Eureka Productions
ISBN: 978-0-9825630-5-2
Pages: 144
Price: $17.95

Graphic Classics
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In celebration of this timeless holiday, Graphic Classics has produced a compilation of the best in scary fiction. Stories include:

  • Hallowe’en in a Suburb by H.P. Lovecraft, Illustrated by Jeffrey Johannes
  • Halloween by Mort Castle, Illustreated by Kevin Atkinson
  • The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving, Illustrated by Shepherd Hendrix
  • A Curious Dream by Mark Twain, Illustrated by Nick Miller
  • Lot No. 249 by Arthur Conan Doyle, Illustrated by Simon Gane
  • Cool Air by H.P. Lovecraft, Illustrated by Craig Wilson
  • The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari by Hans Janowitz & Carl Mayer, Illustrated by Matt Howarth

A unique feature of this collection is a background skit placed between the stories, pulling from Halloween lore and tradition. This newest Graphic Classics book is a treasure-trove of great literature, illustrated in ways that make these gems come alive. I love this series!

Reviewer: Alice Berger

classics, graphic novel

Graphic Classics Vol. 22: African-American Classics


Editor: Tom Pomplun
Publisher: Eureka Productions
Genre: Literary
ISBN: 978-0-9825630-4-5
Pages: 144
Price: $17.95

Graphic Classics
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African-American Classics presents comic adaptations of great stories and poems by America’s earliest black authors, illustrated by contemporary black artists. These adaptations are designed to utilize as much of the author’s original language as possible, while also being visually appealing for an enjoyable read.

Volume 22 includes the following:

  • The Reward by James Weldon Johnson / Illustrated by Mac McGill
  • Two Americans by Florence Lewis Bentley / Illustrated by Trevor Von Eeden
  • On Being Crazy by W.E.B. DuBois / Illustrated by Kyle Baker
  • The Negro by Langston Hughes / Illustrated by Stan Shaw
  • Danse Africaine by Langston Hughes / Illustrated by Afua Richardson
  • A Carnival Jungle by Alice Dunbar Nelson / Illustrated by Lance Tooks
  • The Castaways by Claude McKay / Illustrated by Glenn Brewer
  • America by Claude McKay / Illustrated by John Jennings
  • Lawing and Jawing by Zora Neale Hurston / Illustrated by Arie Monroe
  • Lex Talionis by Robert W. Bagnall / Illustrated by Jim Webb
  • Becky by Jean Toomer / Illustrated by Randy DuBurke
  • In the Matter of Two Men by James D. Corrothers / Illustrated by Kenjji
  • Sympathy by Paul Laurence Dunbar / Illustrated by Lance Tooks
  • We Wear the Mask by Paul Laurence Dunbar / Illustrated by Larry Poncho Brown
  • Buyers of Dreams by Ethel M. Caution / Illustrated by Leilani Hickerson
  • The Bronze Legacy by Effie Lee Newsome / Illustrated by Keith Mallett
  • The Goophered Grapevine by Charles W. Chestnutt / Illustrated by Shepherd Hendrix
  • Sanctum 777 N.S.D.C.O.U Meets Cleopatra by Leila Amos Pendleton  / Illustrated by Kevin J. Taylor
  • De Cunjah Man by James Edwin Campbell / Illustrated by Masheka Wood
  • Filling Station by Zora Neale Hurston / Illustrated by Milton Knight
  • The Ghost of Deacon Brown by James Weldon Johnson / Illustrated by Jeremy Love
  • Aunt Chloe’s Politics by Frances E.W. Harper / Illustrated by Titus V. Thomas
  • Shalmanezer by Frances E.W. Harper / Illustrated by Lance Tooks

Once again, Graphic Classics has created a wonderful collection of stories and illustrations to introduce the modern reader to great African-American literature.  I highly recommend it.

Reviewer:  Alice Berger

classics, graphic novel, western

Graphic Classics Vol. 20: Western Classics


Featured stories:

  • Out Where the West Begins by Arthur Chapman
  • Riders of the Purple Sage by Zane Grey
  • Knife River Prodigal by Robert E. Howard
  • The Right Eye of the Commander by Bret Harte
  • The Holdup by Clarence E. Mulford
  • La Perdida by Gertrude Atherton
  • The Last Thundersong by John G. Neihardt
  • El Dorado by Willa Cather

Illustrators:  Al Feldstein, Cynthia Martin, George Sellas, Reno Maniquis, Dan Spiegle, Arnold Arre, Ryan Huna Smith, John Findley
Publisher: Eureka Productions
Genre: Western
ISBN: 978-0-9787919-9-5
Pages: 144
Price: $17.95

Graphic Classics Website
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This latest Graphic Classics volume features westerns. It contains a nice mix of stories, from the comical Knife River Prodigal, to the drama of Riders of the Purple Sage, the Native American The Last Thundersong, and even some Spanish influence in The Right Eye of the Commander and La Perdida.

Each of the artists portrays the stories in their own unique manner. Some choose a more realistic approach, while others use a comic-book style, all perfectly suited to the stories they illustrate.

These Graphic Classics books allow us to read classic literature that we may never have been exposed to be before. I know very little about the western genre, yet I enjoyed reading this compilation of adapted works. If you enjoy westerns, this volume would be a wonderful addition to your collection.

Reviewer: Alice Berger