For quite a while now comic books have been a valuable source of entertainment for young and old alike. Before television there were comics, giving the viewer enjoyment with each pulse pounding story from one panel to the next. Comic books portray a world we could only dream about being a part of; it is our fantasies come to life. If you want to be able to write and draw comics, you have to be able to tap into those fantasies, and to be able to tell a compelling story.
What makes reading comic books so great is the storytelling, but also the art that accompanies them. It is hard for an artist to put to paper a vision of what a comics reader would want to see; as with books the art and story must blend together to keep the viewer’s interest, and to draw a reader’s attention in order to have them come back for more. Without good story-telling you do not have a good comic. There are various themes and topics that can be written into comics, but if you do not know your audience then they will not continue in following what story you may want to tell.
There is an old phrase that is important for any marketer, that is, “Know your customer.” If you do not know, or take the time to know what your customer desires; then you may not have buyers for your comics. It’s good to tell the story you may want, but you must keep in mind what others may want to see as well. A healthy mix is important when creating your comic story.
Here are some quick tips to help you to create comics:
What is your comic about?
Before you draw some boxes, and fill those panels you should sit down and brainstorm the subject you comic will be about. Do you want to create an adventure comic? Fantasy? Futuristic? Horror? Maybe you want to create a comic book about everyday life, for example, about teenage struggles, romance, or mysteries. The sky’s the limit when coming up a topic for your comic; the only limitation is your imagination.
If you are finding it difficult in finding a topic for your comic- watch the people around you, maybe they will do something that will spark inspiration. Go wild with your imagination; watch the people around and imagine them as aliens, envision a new world, distort buildings in your mind- and them draw. Look to create something new and unique and take your imagination to the limit this can help you develop your vision for your new comic story line.
Who or What Are Your Characters?
Now it’s time to brainstorm who or what your characters will be. Is your character a person, a superhero, or a talking toaster? Focus on what your main character will be, envision what traits this character will have, and how this character’ personality will affect each story. Next it’s time to create supporting characters, think about how theses supporting characters will help the main character, and to create exciting stories going forward.
Maybe these supporting characters are related, friends, or villains to the main character. Make them each unique, and give them their own personalities; this will be in how you draw and write them. These characters are there just to begin your story; eventually, if you do not like how they turned out, you can always change them later. They do it in comics all the time; they either kill off characters, or change them all together. Now free sketch; draw your characters in many different ways, expressions, and in various situations.
What’s Your Setting?
Where will your characters call their home? Envision your setting for these characters. Will their adventures be in the big city? Maybe they exist on an alien world. Or they could be stuck in space. It’s all about what you could imagine them to be. Also, think about what you like to draw the most. Do you like to draw cities? Jungles? How about creating unique places that only your imagination can produce? The sky’s the limit when it comes to your creative abilities.
What’s Your Story?
Now that you have your characters and setting here comes the hard part. What story do you want to tell? Obviously, it should be a compelling one. Think about the audience you want to present this comic to. Once again, remember that famous business line, “Know your customer.” What would your audience like to see?
Write down a script; in your script write out each scene in detail. Think about the words your characters will say in each scene, and how it relates to the story. To start your story, begin with an exciting beginning, think about how the story will end, and then flesh out the middle. When you have your beginning and end, it becomes easier to think about how your characters will arrive to that conclusion of the story.
Place Your Characters and Settings into Panels
Now that you have your characters, setting ,and story it is time to create your comic. Instead of drawing a scene, and then shrinking them into panels; draw panels, then sketch and write your story. It makes for a nice challenge plus you may not be sure how your scene will look when compressed onto a page. It can be three or four panels across like a comic strip, or a full page of panels.
Start plotting what scenes should be in each panel, and make sure the flow of the panel scenes make cents. Depending on your vision and story, you may need to make certain panels bigger than others, these will be for the more crucial or exciting scenes. That is why it is important to first draw it in pencil; you may need to size the panels as needed, and make sure to leave enough room for the dialogue bubbles. Once you feel comfortable about the comic panel erase any unnecessary sketch marks, clean it up and add your colors.
When creating your panels as an illustrator you should think of it as a movie scene. Exaggeration within your panels can punctuate the story you may want to tell. Certain scenes may call for a zooming effect; other scenes can connect to a certain emotion, while other scenes can bleed from one panel into another to show an exciting scene. You can add blurs, swoops, intense colors, and changing visual perspectives can be great enhancers to a story.
These tips are only the basics to understanding how to draw comics. As you progress in your drawing abilities and story telling you may experiment as often as you will like with various techniques and styles. You can only improve with time and practice, and to always remember to have fun doing it.