Buddy Scalera has worked in the comic book industry for over twenty years. Through his career as a writer, he has written stories for such high-profile characters as Deadpool, Richie Rich, and the X-Men. In recent years, Buddy has used his talents to help budding comic artists enrich their skills by releasing a series of photo reference books full of dynamic poses and attitude that are perfect for comic book illustrations. His fourth book, Comic & Fantasy Artist’s Photo Reference: Colossal Collection of Action Poses, set for release on September 26, 2011 from IMPACT Books, will collect the best photos from his previous books as well as feature dozens of new and never-before-printed images.

While Colossal Collection is a veritable “Best Of” of Buddy Scalera photos, do not think that it is recycled material and thus unworthy of yourPhoto Reference for Comic and Fantasy Artists by Buddy Scalera time. Buddy has teamed up with a number of high-profile models and artists to include as much new material as possible. The book includes a cover by Amanda Conner, whose work on Power Girl and Birds of Prey has made her a popular name in the comics industry. Fashion designer Ridada Elias and actress Zoe Labella also make appearances in the book, showing off various poses worthy of some top-name superheroines.

True to the previous books in the Artist’s Photo Reference series, Colossal Collection will feature tutorials from some of the comic book industry’s top talents, including Mitchell Breitweiser, Terry Moore, William Tucci, and Josh Howard. Each artist chooses an image from Buddy’s collection and gives a step-by-step lesson of how they work from a photo reference image. I really like the inclusion of the tutorials because it helps to illustrate to beginners that good art is about more than just emulating life; good art is about finding one’s own style and making the art their own.

Comic Book School by Buddy ScaleraAs someone who dabbles in art, I highly recommend Buddy’s photo reference books. Though there are any number of reference books on the market right now, Buddy has managed to pin down what it means to be a comic book and fantasy artist. The images include a number of standard, everyday poses like standing and sitting, but he also gets extremely dynamic shots like a character not just throwing a punch, but taking a punch as well. And flying! How many photo reference books include flying?!

If you’ve read and enjoy Buddy’s photo reference books, you may also want to check out his other book, Creating Comics From Start to Finish, also published by IMPACT Books. In it, Buddy breaks down each step in the comic creation process – like a comic book school in a book – from writing to art, lettering and publishing. Creating Comics is chock full of advice from comics’ biggest names like Chris Eliopoulos, Joe Quesada, and even Stan “The Man” Lee.

When it comes to any industry, the best advice usually comes from the veterans; the guys who have seen and dealt with every aspect of the work. And when it comes to comics, Buddy Scalera is exactly that guy. If you want to make comics, either as an artist or even in some other capacity, you really can not go wrong with Buddy’s books.