As an artist I have a boundless collection of books that teach everything from basic anatomy to writing. Out of this collection there is really only about five or so that I continually reference on an everyday basis, and "Writing and Illustrating the Graphic Novel" by Dan Cooney is one of them.
From the front to back cover, the book is beautifully illustrated, with drawings that surpass almost every other "how-to" book I've ever seen, lending a good amount of credibility to the author, who's been an active creator for years. The book also has many sections titled "what the experts say" where other leading industry professionals lend their guidance to the reader, along with samples of their work that pertain to the lesson, including Chad Hardin, Mark Simmons, Nate Piekos, Walden Wong, John Heebink, and many others. I found this to be refreshing, because all other books I own are made by one person, with only one brain-full of lessons to give. With a litany of artists and writers included in this book, it makes it a collection of life lessons, which would normally cost you the price of ten books, at the very least.
Another aspect of the book that I found to be impressive is it's sheer range of knowledge. There are things in this book taught in a ten page section focusing on inking that aren't included in an entire 200 page inking book. It covers history, techniques, tools, diagrams, procedures, and practices. Everything you've ever wanted to learn about comics and graphic novels is covered in this book, from the tool to use, to character development (personality and appearance). There are sections teaching you perspective and anatomy, along with expressions and body language. I personally found the chapters involving panel layout and digital coloring especially helpful. There's even a whole section dedicated to just finding good referencing, and how to create your own. And, once you're done with your graphic novel, there's a chapter that instructs you how to break in to the industry.
This is an attractive, and engrossing book, that covers all aspects of what it takes to create your own comic, taught with the writings of an accomplished teacher, and many special guest instructors. For anyone interested in creating their own graphic novel, whether they be amateurs or veterans, I strongly recommend "Writing and Illustrating the Graphic Novel" by Dan Cooney.