Comic books, comic strips, and graphic novels are often underappreciated in the creative arts world. Despite their incredible story arcs, iconic character developments, and contributions to the entertainment industry, comic books fly under the radar in mainstream literacy circles. Since comic books are designed to be consumed visually, some assume they don’t contain the same level of depth as other written art.
True comic fans understand and appreciate the work that goes into every publication. In addition to the carefully crafted illustrations, comic book script writing must be meticulous. With limited space on each page, every word and image is painstakingly crafted to add meaning to the story. Comic book creation is a more subtle art than it’s given credit for.
What is a Comic Book?
A comic book is a printed and bound assembly of comic strips. The strips are typically put in chronological order or specific sequence to tell a story. While traditional comics were printed and sold as hard copies, there is now a significant digital comic market.
Most comic books are released as part of a series. However, there are also standalone editions. They are designed to be read in approximately 15 to 20 minutes but often take longer to fully digest and understand. A typical comic book is 22 pages long, with around 10 additional pages for advertising.
Comics originated in the 1930s, becoming regular features in newspapers. From the 1960s, they experienced a meteoric rise and became very popular among college students. Marvel and DC Comics, two of the biggest household names in comic book creation, introduced many of the famous superhero franchises that still exist today, including The Flash, Batman, Superman, and The Fantastic Four.
Japanese Manga added diversity to the scene, injecting even more content into the comic book sphere. Today, comic fans have thousands of exciting publications to read and collect. The industry is showing no sign of slowing, with growth expected to increase from $9.21 billion in 2021 to $12.8 billion in 2028.
In the past two decades, comic book movies have been some of the highest-grossing releases ever. Superhero movies have created a new influx of comic book fans, keeping the art form alive and thriving. If you’re interested in creating your own comic, you won’t be short of inspiration.
What are the Elements of a Good Comic Book?
There are countless approaches to comic book creation. You can dive deep into vector shapes, book text effects, and creative writing techniques.
However, understanding the fundamental elements is crucial before you embark on your writing venture. Here are five key aspects of a good comic book that will help you lay the foundations for an engaging read.
All comics are visual storytelling mediums. Style, layout, word building, and color selection help you convey your story effectively. Each section must be planned to ensure the idea reaches its potential. Consider how the reader will digest the information and adapt the story using multiple drafts.
It’s also important to consider what information to exclude. Off-panel action is often as important as sequencing. One of the most intriguing aspects of a good comic is how the reader pieces things together. While some details should be left to the reader’s imagination, the story must have a direction.
Regardless of your storytelling ability, a lack of plot will lead to readers setting aside your work. A good plot has layers and excellent sequencing. It builds suspense that eventually reaches a climax and an important reveal.
To avoid anticlimaxes, the plot should be laid out in advance. The story distribution can be filled with action tempo changes, subplots, setups, and twists. This ensures the journey doesn’t become too predictable.
There’s a reason Batman has been around since 1939. While there have been multiple interpretations of Bruce Wayne over the years, his distinctive character has a lasting appeal that has survived through several generations.
The most popular comics have great characters. They resonate with the reader and make you care. Many characters are flawed, creating common ground with the audience. Strong characters have personality, a voice, motivations, and goals. A backstory helps refine their traits, flaws, and individual quirks.
Dialog poses a major challenge for many beginner comic book artists. A blank sheet is one of the most intimidating sights for a comic book writer. With limited space, every piece of text must have a purpose. Dialog informs the reader of what’s happening and creates a personal connection with the visual story.
Spacing and positioning is also an essential aspect of dialog. Individual panels shouldn’t be overloaded with text but should have enough information for readers to understand the story.
If you’re an avid reader, you’ll understand that comics revolve around action. This is the main reason they evolve seamlessly into blockbuster action movies. A great action scene carries weight and consequence. The intensity can be delivered through background textures, quality illustrations, and effective wording.
Frank Miller, the artist responsible for several iconic Batman graphic novels, is a master at generating captivating action scenes. He uses common techniques, including close-up framing and sound textualization, combined with film noir-inspired illustrations to develop captivating action.
Choose an Idea You Believe In
When starting a comic book project, choose an idea or storyline that you believe in. Harnessing your passions and authentic ideas to inspire your story makes it easier to write consistently.
Writing a story you want to read also helps you generate original ideas and concepts. Take some time to think about comics or stories you admire and explore what makes them special to you. Next, brainstorm, and come up with a list of ideas.
Write the Story First
Whether you’re writing a comic, novel, or movie script, you must know that a good story has a beginning, middle, and end. When starting a comic book from scratch, begin by outlining the story. This helps you create the narrative before structuring other elements around it. This approach lays the foundations for a good comic.
From here, you develop a structure and begin to serialize the story. Many best-selling comic books are released as series, allowing the writer to create openings, subplots, and climaxes. However, these shouldn’t steer you away from the overarching storyline.
What Do You Need to Make a Comic Book?
Your needs can vary depending on your goals as a comic book creator. Amateur artists can create comic books with simple software programs and a reliable printing company. Professional publications may require collaboration and a higher budget.
Amateur Comic Book Artists
If you don’t have a pro team around you, there are many online comic strip template generators to help you formulate visual ideas. A strip generator is an excellent way to organize and structure your story before you start working on the official artwork.
Amateur creators may also use graphic design software, like Adobe illustrator or Clip Studio paint, to make physical and online comics. These applications enable you to develop basic shapes for comic panels, ensuring you can create illustrations in various comic and graphic styles.
The adjustable frames can be resized to adapt to different comic book fonts and styles. You can play around with smaller or larger panels until you find a comic book format that fits your ideas.
Once you’ve finalized the design, it’s time to send your comic off to print. Use a printing company like Comix Well Spring to saddle stitch and print high-quality, professional-grade comics. We provide fast and affordable printing services at minimum quantity orders, making us an ideal partner for budding comic book artists.
Professional Comic Book Artists
Collaborating with other artists can lessen the learning curve if your goal is to become a professional comic book artist. The key members of a professional comic book team are:
How to Come Up With an Idea for a Comic Book
Creating a good storyline is often the most challenging part of comic writing. When you need inspiration, it’s crucial to have the right tools to help get you started.
The first step is to write about something you would want to read. Write your ideas on paper and use visual triggers to create potential storylines and character arcs.
If you can’t develop an original idea, create a modified version of an existing comic. Older ideas inspire many great comics, novels, and movies.
How to Structure a Comic Book
You can create the basic structure of a comic book either on paper or digitally, using design software programs. Use the following step-by-step guide to create a rough draft of your comic.
Create a numbered list of your pages
Collect 15 to 20 sheets of paper, staple them together, or open a new Word document. Write a numbered list on each page. The list should be a guide for what information goes in each section. Start each list by writing a beginning and an end.
Determine the beats of your story
A comic beat refers to a meaningful action or occurrence. As a guide, assign one beat per page, adding more if necessary.
Turn story beats into panels
At this point, you have the main outline of your story and have divided it into individual pages. Determine how many panels you need and work the main beats into your panels. Some beats may require larger panels to emphasize specific points. Experiment and try out different sizes and approaches.
Sketch out action and note dialogue
Create sketch illustrations and dialogues, starting with the most important beats or actions. Simple stick figures are fine for a rough draft as long as you can interpret them when you return to the draft later. You now have a basic storyboard on paper.
Write your script!
Using the outline, lists, beats, and sketches, start to develop your script. Pay careful attention to the dialogue and review it multiple times.
You can repeat this entire process over and over until you are fully satisfied with your comic draft. When it is ready, choose your fonts and color schemes before preparing the illustrations.
If you are passing the work to an artist, prepare a brief and discuss your ideas so they can bring them to life accurately. Once you have signed off on your artist’s work, the comic is ready for print.
How Do You Make a Comic Book for Beginners?
Beginners can make a comic book by establishing an idea, writing a story, developing characters, then creating a storyboard. They must serialize the story and create a panelized structure for each page. The comic can be printed or distributed online when the illustration work is complete.
How Much Does it Cost to Write a Comic Book?
You can write a comic book by yourself for free. However, you must pay editors, artists, letterers, or colorists. You may need to pay a monthly or annual subscription fee if you purchase design and editing software.
How Do I Self-Publish a Comic?
You can self-publish a comic by writing, illustrating, printing, and promoting it. This can be done in-house or using professional services. One of the best ways to market your comic is through social media. Follow other comic creators’ accounts and post your own art online.
Engage with fans’ comments on social media to develop a fan base who will purchase your printed comics. Then, create your comic and hire a printing company like Comix Well Spring to print high-quality comic books.
How Do You Make a Comic Without Drawing Skills?
If you can’t draw, write the comic script and descriptions for each panel, then hire an artist to complete the illustrations.
How Do You Make a Comic Book Story?
Create a comic book story by writing something you would like to read. If you can’t develop original ideas, take inspiration from other comics and modify one of their stories (but don’t copy it).
What Makes a Good Comic Story?
A good plot, interesting characters, intriguing dialogue, and action make a good comic story. It should also have a clear beginning, middle, and end.
How Do You Come Up With a Comic Idea?
Brainstorming, creative writing prompts, and inspiration from other artists are great starting points for comic idea generation. You could also consider adapting or retelling fairy tales, folklore, or urban legends from a new perspective.
Print Your Publication With Comix Well Spring
Creating a comic book is a major achievement for aspiring artists. Complete the process properly with high-quality printing from Comix Well Spring. We can provide you with digital or physical proofs making sure everything fits and prints correctly.
If you’re a first-time artist, we can guide you through every step. Our online ordering system and templates are easy to understand and use for a hassle-free experience. We have a low order minimum of just 25 copies, so we are the perfect printing company for upcoming artists.