Intro to Comic Craft: Step by Step: Introduction

This series was requested by my Patrons on Patreon.

If you enjoy content like this, and would like to help me produce more, please head on over to the Patreon for information on how to join the community.  Backers get early access to many videos, voting rights on new content, and sneak peeks into what I'm working on.  Backers will have access to the materials created in Chapter 7 so they may follow along with the comic creation process.

Every comic artist works a bit differently.  Some work with writers.  Some work with writers and editors.  Some work with writers, editors, inkers, colorists, letterers. 

I work alone on 7" Kara, although I've written for other artists ("A Story about Yakitori", in Ladies Night's sixth anthology, Let's Eat!) and I've drawn for writers (Gizmo Grandma: A Twisty Tale, written by Lenore Salazar).  Most of my work written, illustrated, painted, and lettered by me ("Satellite" in the SCAD Travel Anthology, "Small Blessings" in Hana Doki Kira, "Momotaro" in Once Upon a Time,  "Pretty Paladin Critical Missy" in Chainmail Bikini, "Knight School" in 1001 Knights, "Two Tools" in the Ladies Night Girl Gang Angouleme zine).  While attending SCAD, I was introduced several methods for producing comics, and refined a method that seems to work best for me.  In the Intro to Comic Craft: Step by Step series, I'm going to introduce you to my method of making comics.

What's most important is that you find a method of comic creation that works for you and your team, regardless of size.  My methods may not work for everyone- I know many artists who thumbnail rather than script, working from a very loose plot and notes.  I know artists who skip the roughs stage, refining their thumbnails into a finished page.  And I know artists who need more revision stages- roughs, tight roughs, pencils, then inks.   I encourage you to experiment with process by making mini comics- short, self contained comics anywhere from 1 page to 12 pages.  You may be surprised to find that a process that works well for a 12 page comic is overkill for a 1 page comic, and a process that works for a 1 page comic may not be robust enough for your 12 page comic. 

I do most of my work traditionally, with pencil and paper, although most artists probably prefer to work digitally.  Programs like MangaStudio (ClipStudioPaint) make creating comics digitally very easy, as there are several features (thumbnailing, entire chapter view, perspective grids, background assets, poseable dummies) designed to help with the comic creation process. 

Over the years, I've written a lot about comic process.  You may find these posts helpful:

Choosing a Comic Project
Introducing a New 7" Kara Story
Knight School Process Post
Foiled Process Work
Momotaro Process Photos
7" Kara Chapter 5 Progress Shots
Bravest Warriors: The Search For Catbug Spread (process)
Redoing Word Balloons You Botched the First Time
Creating Digital Bluelines
How to Drop Out Your Bluelines
Exploring Thumbnails

I've also hosted several guest posts on comic creation process that you should check out:
Amy Stoddard:  Fine Sometimes Rain Process
A New Online Comic Magazine: StArt Faire
Breakfast on a Cliff Process
Interview with Chris Paulsen, Creator of Precocious
Guest Post: Aisazia And Choosing a Comic Project

And here are some general posts that tend to be useful for comic craft:
All About Bluelines- Traditional Media
Basic Comic Supply List
Darc Sowers- Printing Gotchas
Using Pinterest as a Reference Tool (setting up a photo morgue)
Materials and Techniques: Comic Craft (slide show from a panel)

In my recent Intro to Comic Craft:  Process Overview, I share my general comic making process in a series of tweets, along with relevant examples.

My process:

Overall Story Synopsis
Chapter by Chapter breakdowns
Chapter Synopsis
Page by page breakdown
Character designs, environment designs, begin Pinterest chapter specific photo morgues
Script Form- Tiers, Panels, Shot direction, dialogue

Layouts and Thumbnails
Scan thumbnails, print out bluelines for roughs
Roughs (including constructive anatomy and perspective)

Print bluelines onto watercolor paper
Begin painting

Scan chapter in batch
Color correction
Dialogue/Speech Balloons

Posts in this Series:
Intro to Comic Craft:  Process Overview
Intro to Comic Craft: Step by Step: Introduction
Intro to Comic Craft: Step by Step: Developing A Script
Intro to Comic Craft: Step by Step: Turning Your Script into Thumbnails and Layouts
Intro To Comic Craft: Step by Step: Creating Thumbnails
Intro to Comic Craft:  Step by Step:  Converting Thumbnails to Roughs

Videos in this Series:
Let's Make a Comic: Concept to Scripting to Thumbnails to Roughs
Thumbnailing Your Comic
Roughing It
You Need Perspective
Perspective in the Panels
Teens Creating Comics at the Nashville Public Library

In this step by step series, I plan on sharing every step of my process, in hopes that will inspire you to create your own comics, or at least ignite an interest in comics as a form of literature.  As I prepare to print and promote Volume 2 of 7" Kara, I may also write about the publication and printing process.

There will be some overlap between this series and my ongoing Watercolor Basics series, as I am a watercolor comic artist.  The Watercolor Basics series will focus on the painting portion of those pages, whereas the Intro to Comic Craft series will focus on the planning and execution.  If you are interested in watercolor, I highly recommend you begin reading my Watercolor Basics.

This post was also sponsored by my watercolor comic 7" Kara:

7" Kara follows the adventures of lilliputian Kara, an 11 year old girl searching for big adventure.  When she discovers that humans are more than the stuff of legends, she sets out to meet one.  Big adventure awaits as Kara explores the larger outside world, rides cats, and tries new things.  7" Kara is a beautiful watercolor comic for all ages.  Volume 1, which includes chapters 1-4, a bonus story, and beautiful concept art, is available through the Natto-shop.

If you enjoy comic craft content, please consider supporting my comic.  These posts are populated by content created while working on 7" Kara.


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