Creating a Graphic Novel

Like most people who would read this, I’ve always dreamed of creating or helping to create a graphic novel (or comic book, or manga, or whatever you wish to call it). And now that I’ve gotten involved with Comix, I finally have the chance. I’m still new to the process myself, and working as an artist on multiple projects. There may be other guides like this on the internet, but I did a quick google search and only drawing guides came up. So here’s the process in a nutshell (sorry if it seems to come mainly from an artist’s perspective):

Brainstorming–This is typically the author’s job, though it may be done collaboratively. Inspiration doesn’t always rain from the heavens. For a comic to be born, there first needs to be an idea. And then that idea has to be nurtured into a story, preferably one with a plot, or at least one that’s entertaining.

Writing–Create a script, or find an author to make one for you. It may be written in a screenplay format and include paneling guidelines, or it may not and leave that entirely up to the artist.

Design–All right, so you’ve got a script and know how many characters there are. But what do they all look like? What does their setting look like? Sketch, erase, sketch more, alter, experiment, perfect. Draw out the floor plan of your villain’s evil lair; know what every angle of your heroine’s outfit looks like;

Drawing–Done in pencil, as light as possible. Don’t worry about the panel lines being exactly straight or the dialog being legible.

Inking–This may be done by the main artist or by a secondary artist. Once the drawings are done, they need to be traced in ink, usually by a black marker with an ultra fine tip or a black pen that won’t smudge. The panel outlines and words are the only things left un-inked.

Scanning–Once the drawings are inked, the lines will be dark enough for a scanner to copy them into your computer. Any lines left un-inked will either not show up on the scanned version at all, or be incredibly faint.

Digital editing–Once you’ve scanned the artwork, this can be done using a program such as Photoshop or Photofiltre or even Microsoft Paint. First edit out any traces of un-inked lines. Then create the panels around the pictures–they’ll turn out much straighter on the computer than they would by hand. Then type the dialog into the speech balloons. Maybe you’ve noticed, but all the words in comic books are typically written in ALL CAPS. They’re also, normally, in rounded fonts such as Comic Sans. Finally, add shading and any other special effects to make it look professional.

Printing–Print out each beloved page of the creation you, and probably others, have slaved over for the past few days/weeks/months. This may be done in color or black and white. Your manga/graphic novel is now complete.

And lastly, enter it in a contest or find some other way to get it published. Good luck!



1 Comment

Filed under comics, manga, william and mary comix club

One response to “Creating a Graphic Novel

  1. Pingback: Creating a Graphic Novel - Graphic Novels

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