Comic books are awesome. What kid didn’t go through at least a phase of loving comics? From larger than life action heroes to simple and fun stories of our favorite characters, comics have a special way of capturing our imagination
But actually creating a comic book is more work than it might seem! So, when your son or daughter unwraps their My Comic Book Kit for the holidays this year, we want to make certain you’ve got all the tips and tricks you need to help them make an amazing comic.
Get to know your Kit
To help get you started, the Kit includes a book – Comics in Action – to help guide and inspire creating your comic book. The guide book goes into a lot of detail and provides numerous examples. Today we’re going to look at the process for creating your comic with these 10 Steps.
Start with your characters. Even if you don’t have a plot fully planned, the characters are the most important.
You need at least three characters (though there are no rules, so maybe you don’t!). Start with your hero, villain, and at least one more. Maybe a side kick, or a helper for your villain. Maybe a bystander who will inadvertently become involved.
Name your characters and spend just a few minutes writing a little about them. What is your villain’s goal? How did your hero get their super powers (if they have one!)? Knowing your characters a little before you start creating your comic will make it much easier to write.
Your characters might move around during their adventures, but you should think about the main location(s) for your story. You might find the next step helpful when thinking about your setting too, so we’ll jump right to it.
What happens? When does it happen? How does it happen?
For your comic, I suggest you write using the 5 Steps of Story Structure:
- Introduction – Introduce our Hero and Villain
- Rising Action – Something happens that kick-starts the story
- Conflict – This is the point when the Hero and Villain clash
- Falling Action – The results of step 3 should have an impact on the characters
- Resolution – We end with a resolution that satisfies the reader and ties up the conflict
The best way to organize your comic would be to write a sentence or two for each of these steps. It’s also smart to make a note about the Setting for each step.
4. Character Design
Okay, we’ve done a bunch of prep work already and I bet you’re ready to start drawing your comic!
Well, here’s the opportunity to get some drawing done AND finalize your preparation. Draw your characters!
This is possibly the most fun part of the whole process. You can just grab a sheet or two or three and draw pictures of your characters. Get some of the details out of your head and start to realize these characters on the page.
5. Story Board
Your story board can be pretty simple. Just write out briefly what you want to happen on each page. Just a sentence or two will do. Walk yourself through the story with words.
At this stage, it’s a great idea to get someone to review the story with you. Every author ever, be it book or comic book, needs someone to read and review their work. Before you start actually drawing your comic, get a reader to give it a look.
6. Plan Your Panels
This is a little different than story boarding, though for a lot of creators Step 5 & 6 blend together.
Story boarding should be broad. Planning what you want to happen on each page.
Now you plan your panels for those pages. Will it be a big, full page action scene? Or a six panel conversation page with back and forth? It’s important to have an idea about how each page will be laid out before you start creating.
This is it! Get those pages out and start drawing. Keep your panel planning on hand, along with those character designs and all the other prep work you’ve been creating.
Start with simple pencil drawings to outline and give yourself room to make mistakes and correct them. This is it; your comic is coming to life!
8. Add Text
Adding the text balloons can be a challenge. At this point, you should have a pretty good sense of what is happening and how the story is going to progress. Now you need to put the plot points into words and let your characters start talking.
I suggest writing the text out and drawing the speech bubble around it after. Don’t start with the confined space for the text. You need to work on keeping the text uniform so your comic is easy to read. That means no cramped words.
And we’re finally there. You’ve drawn out the panels, added text, and you’re comic just needs to be colored. Again, stick to your Character Designs to make sure everything is consistent.
10. Final Review
You’ve done it! You’re comic book is ready to be sent in and printed. Before you do, give the comic one more read through. Maybe have a couple of other people do the same.
And there you have it! 10 Steps to help make sure your Comic Book is amazing. Once you open up that My Comic Book Kit, you’ll find our complete guide in there too. Give it a read (the example comics are fun!) and you’ll get even more ideas and advice to help make your comic book the best it can be.
Paul is the Technical Writer at Lulu, responsible for all the words you see on our site (misspellings included). He also manages the community site – http://connect.lulu.com/en/ – and in his free time, he’s an avid reader and short story writer.