The Best Of Draw! Volume Two (book review).

You know how I was saying how hard it was to come across the second volume of ‘The Best Of Draw!’ after reviewing the third volume? My serendipity luck kicked in and up it popped. Granted, it wasn’t cheap but I did want to see why it sold out so quickly.

It also only contains material from Draw! # 3-4, plus 25 pages of new material in the opening section where editor/artist Mike Manley shows how to storyboard for animation, pointing out that if you see this as a career opportunity then you have to be capable of drawing anything well and fast, prepared to do all-nighters and be very dependable. When you consider a 7 minute animation short can take up to 500 illustrations, that’s a lot of work.

The interview with artist Kevin Nowlan is interesting because he doesn’t fit the normal way into the comicbook industry. However, he did learn all the ropes from pencilling, inking and lettering. When he does his own work, he puts the lettering in so he can judge how much room is left for the art. Looking at his work here, his art has evolved over the years and I can understand how he has become influential with other artists.

When I read Dave Cooper’s discussion on using Photoshop for colouring, I looked at it from the perspective of whether I can apply it to the likes of Paintshop, even 20 years later. There are some similarities and, I suspect, can be applied if you use a little imagination with the magic wand.

Then we get back to Mike Manley and how he created ‘The Adventures Of Dr. Direct’ for the Internet from the ground up. Today’s artists have to be multi-skilled and areas where you know you have weaknesses need to be worked on or at least have someone with experience giving you some guidance.

This continues with an interview with Chris Bailey, who edged his bets that he could have gone into comics or animation, the latter winning out. The demonstration of body expression is a real lesson.

I did wonder if the piece by the now late Dick Giordano on inking might have been the reason why this book sold out although the subject matter is the equipment he used and how inking improved registration for printing.

The same could also be said for Ande Parks, the Crusty Critic, as he looked at the various marker pens for inking. I liked the way he made a hybrid pen from two different manufacturers to get the best nib and ink. I suspect if you attempt anything similar be careful not to get yourself covered in ink from the sponges and ensure you have a set of tweezers.

Bret Blevins gives a master class in pencilling the figure in motion. He doesn’t use the balance line in these poses. If you can draw the standard figure, use the flow of the spine line to propel the character along and base your limb attachment on this. I tend to think more Andrew Loomis in this, though. The balance line shows how much a moving figure can be moving forward and if it stopped moving would fall flat on its face.

The interview with Erik Larsen 20 years back shows he just reached The Savage Dragon # 100 at time and a quick look on the Net shows he’s still doing it today. It’s rather interesting to see how he experiments with different techniques to get pages done and uses Kirby as his fallback position.

The last feature is Bret Blevins covering ‘Composing Figures’, although really it is more about composing the comicbook panel with some very good lessons in how to get the best positions with a little thinking and movement. I have to confess seeing double-page spreads of battles looks like a logistical nightmare for inking and colouring, let alone expressing body language and emotion but there’s an argument here for planning and composition and wonder how the modern comicbook reader can absorb it all.

As I said at the opening, finding this volume is hard but not totally impossible and a little easier in the USA. I’m saying the same thing about Volume Four, but you never know your luck. If all else fails, digital versions of the magazine are still available from TwoMorrows and there’s certainly a lot here to learn from.

GF Willmetts

December 2021

(pub: TwoMorrows Publishing. 153 page illustrated softcover. Price: I pulled my copy for a lot of money. ISBN: 1-893905.)

check out websites:, and and now here’s a thing, no listing for this book but I guess its simpler to get the digital issues of # 3-4.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.