“Will Eisner’s Expressive Anatomy for Comics and Narrative” Art Book Review (Narrative Body Language and Facial Expressions)

Last but not least, the third book that Will Eisner published, “Expressive Anatomy for Comics and Narrative”.

Will Eisner, a expert cartoonist and instructor, wrote a 3 book set of instructional books about visual narrative, this book talks about the anatomy of the body briefly and then goes into the purpose of the book which is to show the physical limits of the human body, and within this limits, what narrative body language and facial expressions can do to express different emotions for story telling purposes.

Will Eisner also talks about his time under George Bridgman, a anatomy expert, who a lot of artist reference as good intermediate educational material, to study how the body parts link up with each other. If you are interested in a student of Bridgman’s experiences.

This is not an anatomy reference book but a “what can the body do to what visual effect book” as you will see later.

So, in both my non-instructional and instructional art book reviews, I don’t really want to give a score/rating system to the books but have categories in which I feel are important for an artbook to succeed.

For non-instructional art books, like say artbooks of movies, games, etc. I have certain categories to access them, for instructional/how-to books I have other categories.

Art books do take up a lot of space and if you don’t have a lot of space, its best to buy only the best of the best or what you yourself like.

The categories for instructional books are: Overview, Inspiration, Ease of Access (Beginner, Intermediate, Expert), Usefulness, Summary.

Overview: General, short, introduction of the book.

Inspiration: Does the book give a spark to light the artistic flames of creation or whatever, does the book inspire/make you want to draw and create your own things yourself.

Ease of Access: Certain books are only helpful to certain levels of artists, by this I mean technical skill, some books won’t make sense to beginners, others will be telling what experts already know, so starting from Beginner, to Intermediate, to Expert. Which level, the book caters to.

Usefulness: How useful the book is, does the book help to solve the problem you bought the book for.

Summary: Whether you should buy this book or not.

And now onto the review~

Overview: Will Eisner goes into the anatomical limitations of the human body briefly and then talks about the gestural expression the human body can portray and how to use them to enhance visual storytelling, he also talks about the facial expressions, all the things you need to express your character’s emotions in a story.

Inspiration: Sometimes its hard to put into drawing the most basic of things like human emotions and storytelling through that, this book helps with that problem and can inspire you to try out certain poses and facial expressions, even at the end there’s a combination list of emotion descriptor words for you to do exercises with.

Ease of Access: The anatomy is briefly only touched upon in this book, you will reap more benefits from this book if you knew basic anatomy rather than none at all, beginners will need a basic level of anatomical knowledge to use this book to the fullest, intermediates and experts who find trouble with expressions can use this book as a reference to push their drawings more and refresh.

Usefulness: This book is immensely useful as reference of a interpretation of human emotions into a visual form for narrative. One can use this book as a how-to and a reference for human expressiveness at the same time. Enough of the emotions are covered for you to bring them further or mix them together for your own visual narrative.

Summary: Like the previously reviewed book this is another classic book for comic visual storytelling and I would recommend buying this as well. The set of three books feed well into each together and should be bought as a set of three. The lessons in the three books can intersect and reinforce each other especially the first two on visual narrative.

If you liked what you read, please consider supporting me on Patreon (monthly) or ko-fi (one time donations).

Stay safe~!
JR


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s