How to Make a Comic Book: 7 Important Steps

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Many people have a book in them, whether it’s their life story or something they’re passionate about. Just as technology can help you improve your business, it can also help you become a published author.

Perhaps you love comic books and want to create your own. If that’s the case there are many options available, and lots of things you need to consider upfront. If this is you right now, read on because this article discusses 7 important steps you need to take.

What Are Comic Books?

Comic books are a form of sequential art that combines words and pictures. Some people use the term ‘comic book’ to refer specifically to comic strips/periodicals, while graphic novels more often refer to bound collections of comic-related stories or a single self-contained story. There are many different kinds of books that cater to all types of audiences. There are also humorous cartoon anthologies such as Strange Planet, Cartoon Headcase, Peanuts, Garfield, Farside and Dilbert.

Some famous examples include:

  1. Stan Lee, creator of Spiderman, Xmen, Iron Man, etc.
  2. Robert Crumb who created Mr. Natural and also Fritz The Cat
  3. Art Spiegelman, creator of Maus, a comic book about the Holocaust
  4. Manga, i.e. referring to Japanese graphic novels and comic books
  1. Get Help From The Internet

There are many blogs, articles and specialist websites that can help you, alongside the free video tutorials on Youtube. If you use these resources, it will help you save time and money, and protect you from some of the more common pitfalls.

If you have the ideas but not the artistic ability, it’s possible to get outside help. Some websites can help you find comic book illustrators who work on a freelance basis. You can view the individuals and discover their ratings, work experience, areas of expertise, genres and more. There are often free publishing checklists you can download as well.

  1. Compile Your Ideas

Sit down and list everything you’re thinking about, using paper or a Word document. Start by considering the genre, topic and story of your comic. Decide on the overall tone and style you’re going for. Begin to think about the individual scenes and panels that will make up your comic. Break these down into brief descriptions or sketches so you have an idea of what each one will look like.

If you’re stuck on where to start, try looking at other comics for inspiration. Not only can this give you some ideas on how to structure your story, but it can also help with designing the look and feel of your comic. Be sure not to rip off another creator’s work because this will likely get you in trouble. Some things to work on include:

  1. the story line
  2. all major events and any subplots 
  3. the characters and setting 
  4. creating a storyboard
  5. drafting the script for your story 

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3. Gather Your Supplies And Set Yourself Up

You’ll need supplies such as pencils, pens, paper, inks, and erasers. You might also want to invest in a light box or scanner. You also will need a ruler or straight edge for drawing your pages squared up. If you’re creating the book digitally (via computer),  every piece of art will be saved in the pre-selected format (square, rectangular etc.).  If you’re going to be working with a team of artists, make sure you have a way to communicate with them online or in person.

You’ll want some room to be able to work in, so make sure you have enough space on your desk/tabletop. It’ll be necessary to spread the paper out flat without having any other supplies in the way (e.g. art equipment or coffee cups that could get spilled). If possible, try sitting next to a window so there is natural light available, and where there aren’t any distractions.

4. Get Creating

Start drawing the panels: Make sure that each one flows into the next, so take your time and plan out each frame. Be sure to leave enough room for dialogue and text bubbles.

Start Inking: Once you have all of your panels sketched out, it’s time to start inking them using a fine-tipped pen or marker.

Add Colors: Use bright and vibrant colors to really bring your panels to life. You can use either watercolors or acrylics – whichever you prefer.

Create Your Characters: Start by sketching out your character’s body and face. Then, you’ll want to give them unique outfits that reflect their personalities – just like in real life.

5. Add Dialogue Bubbles And Text

You can use black or colored ink for this step. Be sure not to overcrowd each panel with too much information/text. Keep it short, sweet, simple, and easy to read.

To give your comic book a professional look, decide on a font or font style for your words and add things like sound effects and other text boxes to give the comic book more life. 

  1. Print And Share

You may be happy to save your document as a  .pdf that can be printed (e.g. at a local printers or photocopy shop) or even downloaded from your website. If you succeed in selling it from there, sites like Amazon won’t be taking a cut of the commission!

Don’t forget to share your completed work with your friends, family and colleagues (and seek their feedback from day one).

  1. Start Marketing

If you want to make money or become an influencer, start your marketing early. This means getting active on social media and building a website or blog where you can share your work. You can also contact blogs, websites, and magazines that feature comics as well as bookstores and libraries that may be interested in stocking your title.

If you successfully go through these 7 steps you may be on the way to fame and fortune. One year from now there could be millions of people who enjoy your work and who are eager for your next publication. Even if it never takes off commercially you will have fulfilled a dream and completed a richly fulfilling project.