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HOW TO COMIC

Here are some tips I can think of off the top of my head. Some may all be pretty obvious but important to keep in mind when building a story!

 

AS A CREATOR:

1. Thick skin and stay true to yourself. You will eventually come across people who will openly express negative comments. Don’t mind it. Everyone has their own opinions, you can’t please everyone. But if its a story you are passionate about. Stick to it and don’t change it just because of what others say. But if you can get opinions from friends, consider them! There’s always room for improvement.

2. Take breaks. Sometimes we hit a stump even if we have things planned out. Don’t burn yourself out and then losing complete joy in creating your comic. Also don’t push your arm and wrist too hard, injuries are common with drawing too much.

3. Flexibility. Creating a comic is a journey. You will improve over time, gain more experience with writing/drawing. Changes will happen. Whether it's points in your story or your style.

 

 

GENERAL STORY TIPS:

1. Main plot. The driving force of the story, a “problem” that the characters are trying to resolve. Pretty much once this main issue is dealt with, the story itself is finished.

2. Mini plots. If there is one big climax to the story, there should be other smaller ones leading up to it. But these smaller ones shouldn’t take attention away from the main plot. This is primarily to keep the readers interested & build character.

3. Character design. Take your time to create your main characters. You'll become attached to them and so you should be happy with how they look! Make sure their design is also relative to the setting(i.e if the MC is a student, obviously you aren't going to make their main design a maid outfit. Or if the setting is is 1970 you aren't going to make them wear futuristic clothing. Unless it's a made up universe then you need to plan for that too.)


4. World setting. Where is the story taking place? Does it affect the plot? Have the living spaces/main event areas planned out so the background remains consistent. Try out sketchup as it's a free modelling program. Just make sure what you are using is royalty free!

5. Optional. Have a general idea of how long you want it. A lot of creators yolo but that also stresses us out. The more prepared the better. Do you want to have arcs? Seasons? What happens in each arc/season?

6. Flow. Don’t rush things. Some stories are slower paced which is fine, but you don’t want to have your story jumping from A to Z without any buildup of events. If it goes too fast people get confused and a lot of important details that could’ve been included get left out. Comics are about leading up to things and reader engagement.

 

 

PANELS AND FLOW:
 

1. Variety. Keep it interesting. Don't just stick to headshots every panel and rely solely on the dialogue. Think of different angles. It's hard to draw but it's also good practice.

 

2. Pacing. For scrolling comics, you can use empty spaces to help with your pacing. Bigger gaps give readers a bit of downtime to process events. Spaces can be used to transition to another scene or build up to the next panel. Manga formats can similarly use blank panels to achieve this.

 

3. Blank panels - aka. panels without the characters. These can be just the sky, or of the background etc. These panels can be used either for pacing - introducing that there's been a scene change - or as a panel to fill in with dialogue.

 

4. Panel count. Generally as a rule, a minimum of 30 panels per update is a comfortable length(for scrolling format comics).

 

 

 

 

 

So you've got your main ideas down.

Here are some extra tips to deepen your story.

 

 

 

CHARACTERS & RELATIONSHIPS

 

1. Solidify characters. They should each have their own characteristics and should be thought through. Are they hot tempered? Timid? Shy? Outgoing? Obnoxious? What is their story/past? Does that affect how they look? Readers will feel a connection with your characters, which is a driving force to the story. The more relatable the better. Shallow characters = shallow plot = lost in interest, longterm.

*note: it's a good idea to have a past/story/motives for each character, it doesn't need to be in depth for the supporting cast. But just because you have this planned out for each character, it doesn't mean all of this information will be shared in the story. It's more to help you with writing it.

 

2. Relationship. How are they related to each other? How does the character affect the story? Do the characters' relationship itself drive the plot? Who are the protagonists and antagonists?

 

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PROBLEM SOLVING

 

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DETAILS

 

1. Every panel has a purpose, and so does what it contains. Whatever you decide to include in your panel - a sock, a random hammer, a background character - they should all server a purpose. Is the sock evidence of something or is it to show that the character is messy and unorganizsed, giving hints into their character? Is the hammer a possible weapon that was used in a murder? Are the background characters tehre to show that it's a busy location, will they have a part in the story later?

 

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*This page is under constant construction. I'll be adding to it as time goes by... With pictures!