Writing / Illustrating Comics!

The final Imaginarium panel I attended was moderated by John Pyka, the panelists for the titular panel were Sako Tumi, Brian K. Morris, Jim Haas, and Brian Rodman.

The description was as follows, “Learn the ins and outs of what goes into creating a great comic book!”

While I’m not an artist, and have never been drawn to creating graphic novels, I’m a huge fan of web comics and fan of comics. So, I had to hit this panel.

There was a mix of old school and new school graphic novel creators.

What do you wish you known before you started?

  • How important consistency is (especially for a self-publish)
  • How to use the 9-grid
    • a 9 block grid for panels and spacing, with 3-6 panels to a page using the grid. Helps with flow.
  • Comics will break your heart. Only do them if you can’t not. Because you love it.
  • Everyone has 1,000 bad pages, get them out fast
  • Don’t listen to people who tell you ‘no’
    • Like a crab pot, people will pull you down.
  • You have to love the challenge of it
    • Be fueled by spite

What should the writer give the artist?

There is joy in seeing one’s writing come back amplified. But, in order for that… you need to give the artist a few things.

  • More money
  • A Story Bible: give the descriptions early in the script of the characters, set, and the monsters
    • Emotionally
    • Socio-economic status
    • Attitude
    • No such thing as too much!
  • Inspiration photos
  • Expressions & body language

Remember to How To Pace A Comic

While comics are often heavy on dialogue, don’t forget the power of prose.

Comics are traditionally 22 pages, plus covers. While you can do other sizes if you’re self publishing, or web publishing, you do need to be sure that every issue contains its own beginning, middle, and end.

Older comics often had “Backup” pages, about 4 pages of a side story — that also had its own beginning, middle, and end.

Remember to have an entry point for every comic — so anyone can use it as a starting point.

Ways To Promote a Comic

While we all wish we had a major distributor, that is unlikely to be the circumstances for most of us.

  • Artists can obviously share artwork
    • pencils
    • inks
    • layers
    • etc
  • If you’re a writer
    • Team up with an artist
    • Share a short script
    • Share a quote

Unlike books or many other creative works, often the best way to get a comic book or graphic novel in front of a publisher is to make the book itself.

  • Build a fanbase
  • Learn how to make the book
  • Use fanbuilding
    • Kickstarter
    • Indiegogo

Recommended Comic References

For Character Bios:

  • Alan Moore (has a book on character bios)
  • A page and half may be a little too detailed. Trust the artist.
  • Neil Gaiman’s seem pretty solid – very distinct characters
  • Grant Morrison

In General:

  • Roy Thompson
  • Steve Englehart
  • John Byrne/Chris Claremont
  • Will Eisner
  • Cullen Bunn
  • Mark Russell
  • Mark Waid
  • Robert Kirkman
  • Mike Mignola
  • Google

Any names I missed? Any names you agree with? Any tips I missed?

Have you ever wanted to create a graphic novel?

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