Two great places to get started are
How to Draw Cartoons for Comic Strips and
Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Cartooning but Were Afraid to Draw
by Christopher Hart. Christopher has written many books on cartooning and
comics, but these are his best all-round ones. Both books overlap a fair bit:
How to has a bit more to say about things like panel composition
and word balloons, but you may find the other one better for things like studies
of how props and their placement help to define character and environment, etc.
The structural techniques for designing characters that he teaches will make an
excellent foundation for the beginner looking to make solid, living characters;
however, intermediate artists might wish the material was a bit more in-depth and
stylistically flexible. Still, if youre just now getting serious about drawing
comics, these will get you off to a fine start.|
Cartooning Basics by Duane Barnhart has a lot going for it. The book is itself a comic, so everything being discussed is also clearly illustrated at the same time, and lightened with gentle humor. [Feedback indicates that this goes over well with its readers.] However, it focuses mostly on building simplified cartoon characters, and takes a lo-o-ong time to make even the smallest point. For this reason, Id recommend it for newbies younger than, say, ten -- an age group that might find most other how-to books a bit too heavy going. There arent many drawing-comics books out there for novices this young, so Barnhart provides a valuable service -- and does a solid job of it to boot.
Young and old beginners alike will find a lot of worthwhile sutff in The Big Book of Cartooning by TV celeb Bruce Blitz. This is a collection and expansion of a series Blitz did for Walter Foster Books a few years back, and its an excellent bargain: a nice fat hardcover cheaper than most skinnier softcovers on the same shelf! [Even cheaper than the original set of Fosters!] Blitzs approach may be a touch less sophisticated than the Christopher Harts mentioned earlier, but hes solid, inventive [has many great ideas for what you can do with your cartoons], and offers a lot of encouragement and moral support. This book is a good friend to keep handy while you work...
Al Bohls Guide to Cartooning is an unusual find. Since each chapter ends with questions and assignments, it was obviously designed as a school textbook [lucky students who get to take cartooning in school!]. But you definitely dont need to be in a classroom setting to use this book. Very densely packed with great starter tips [dont blink or youll miss a bit of good advice!], good tool talk that can even save you money, ideas for marketing your cartoons that I havent read elsewhere, and a calming, steadying voice of experience -- you can tell this guy is used to teaching newbies. And it includes writing advice that comes in handy even for oldbies like me! A worthy addition to your bookshelf [even though Ms Law applies].