Monday, August 21, 2017

Making Comics 4: Elements of Production

I'm working on a small 5 page project in addition to my main piece. Between 5-8 pages strikes me as the ideal length for a first comic. Comics lead to a lot of drawing even in the short term. A lot of drawing leads to rapid improvement. Long pieces are something that should likely be put off until a level of style control is achieved. I've worked on lots of longer peices, which I end up starting over and over. Stick with short comics at the start.

Lets break it down:

Step one of course is to acquire or write a script. The script will tell you what, who and where

Step two is design and is actually many steps. Here are the broad categories of. things you will want to design- setting, characters and props.

For the purpose of this conversation:

Setting: includes buildings, interiors and landscapes.

Props are things that reside within the world of the setting. Like a bottle, sword, gun, book, or boat. The first two categories often blur together, especially in regards to vehicles like a boat.

Characters: includes people, monsters robots, carniverous plants and whatever else you need. If it has some sort of motivation, it's probably a character.

Step Three- layouts/thumbnails. Figure out how you are going to arrange your panels and pages to best tell the story.


What would XXXX do? If you get stumped, imagine how you're favorite cartoonist would approach the image or design.

Push it. Always try to take things to the next level. Draw better than you are.

Drama. Make it dramatic! Again, push it.

Don't dawdle, but take your time. Making comics and writing prose fiction are two activities that require not just years to learn how to do, but large amounts of time to produce product. If something seems too big for you- break it down into smaller tasks. If you need to design 20 robots, do one a day, for example. Nut do something every day. Don't kill youself with haste; you're here forever.

If you do nothing else-

Create a static, dedicated workspace. I find this is the hardest sell when talking to others. Excuses abound. Are you serious about this? If the answer is yes, respect yourself and your dreams- find the room and make a physical workspace. I took a side job to pay for my drawing table before I could even draw. I always have work out on, it ready to go. I am not fucking around, nor should be you. Right now there is some sad sack out there with nothing going for them who needs a little distraction from the grind of life. They are waiting on you to get your shit together and provide that distraction. It is nothing less than a matter of life and death.

Do not fuck it up.

Okay, now get yourself a script and work the steps.



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