draw stronger by kriota willberg

Draw Stronger by Kriota Willberg Reviewed on Comics Workbook

We missed this one somehow! Here’s an in-depth and complete review of Kriota Willberg’s Draw Stronger. It’s on Frank Santoro’s Comics Workbook site, which is a fount of great comics-related information and knowledge.


This review might be the most thorough review of Kriota’s book. It’s well presented and gets into the details. Here’s an excellent and concise description of the book:

Draw Stronger covers a lot of ground in a compact little package. It starts with an overview explaining pain, injuries and where they come from. It then moves on to give you instructions for warm ups, exercises and stretches to do for all the muscles you use while drawing. Importantly, it has clear instructions on how to do things properly so you are getting the most out of any given exercise without hurting yourself.”

Explanatory Power of Comics

Here are a few other parts I found particularly interesting. The reviewer points out the natural affinity between comics and explanations of complex concepts:

Draw Stronger is a fast read, but well presented. The information is easy to understand and engaging. While it’s science, health and anatomy, it’s by no means dry or difficult to read. Kriota’s sense of humor really shines through here. She goes for a lot of visual puns that are as entertaining as they are helpful in illustrating concepts. Her chart for explaining pain scales is one of the most helpful pain charts I’ve seen. An incredibly subjective experience, pain is notoriously difficult for patients to describe to their caregivers.”

Uncivilized has always been interested in comics’ particular and unique ability to not only explain challenging ideas but embody them. This ability is a superpower when wielded well. The integration of image and text “walks the walk,” and helps us think about the body as we bend and break while engaged in the mental labor of a creative artist. Or… not just an artist, but anyone working while sitting for long periods of time:

“This book would also be useful to plenty of people that aren’t strictly speaking artists: anyone who spends a lot of time working at a desk, writing or on a computer. Though I do feel that the title may be a bit of barrier to these kinds of people picking it up.”

The Format Matters

It’s also nice to see a few words about the physical book itself. The physical dimensions and quality of the book are just as important as the contents:

“As a physical object, the book is a nice size and weight for something you are going to want to keep around to quickly reference. While you should sit down and read it from cover to cover like a novel, once you’ve done that, you can keep coming back to it as needed. The soft cover and smaller size are ideal for something your going to want to make sure has a space in your bookshelf and quickly pull out or carry around.”

Finally, prevention is always better than cure:

“While this is a fantastic book if you are starting to experience pain, I think its real strength is that it teaches preventative care. The book is quite explicit that if you are starting to experience real problems, you need to seek help from a medical professional. It is not a substitute for medical care. My only complaint is that I want people to pick up this book and use it before they are experiencing problems, but I think most people won’t seek this out until they are already hurt. It’s so much easier to prevent problems than it is to undo them!”

Read the full fantastic review here.

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