If you’ve been considering writing a comic book or graphic novel, you may be feeling a bit overwhelmed, and with good reason. Writing a graphic novel is a serious undertaking that involves creative and technical skills to pull off.
Here is an idea of what steps you will take during your creating process, from start to finish.
The Difference Between a Comic Book and a Graphic Novel
The main distinction between these two genres is the length. Although there are some other minute differences, like the tone or narrative arc, you can certainly tell a graphic novel from a comic book when you look at how long it is.
Graphic novels tend to be longer than comic books, and each book is a complete chapter in the narrative. Comic books are part of a series and should be read in that order for full comprehension.
Sometimes it’s challenging to read a comic if you haven’t read the one directly before it, as there will be necessary plot points in the previous issue that you may miss. A graphic novel, on the other hand, has a beginning, middle, and end.
Step 1: Get an Idea
A graphic novel format is the same as a comic book format – it combines a narrative with images to tell a story. Although graphic novels may be longer and more serious than comic books, the general formatting rules apply to both.
The very first step, of course, is to have a great idea. Sometimes it can start with a character or a setting, and sometimes the whole plot will occur to you instantly. There’s no right way to have an idea for a story; the only requirement is to think long and hard about it.
You need to know your characters’ backstories and everything about the world you’re building. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you will put all these details into the graphic novel, but they help inform your writing.
Step 2: Write a Script
You don’t write a graphic novel out in novel form, even though it has the word novel in its title. The most accepted format for a graphic novel in its beginning stages is to write it out in script form.
Your graphic novel script will look like a script you would use to film an episode of a television show or a short film. Include all the setting details and descriptions of characters, what is said in conversation, and the ever-important sound effects.
If you need to, check out a sample script until you get the hang of it. There is no set number of pages for a graphic novel script; it depends on how involved it is.
Step 3: Sketch It Out
The next step is to add the artistic details to your script. Sketch out the panels of your story with all the requisite information, including thought and speech bubbles.
Sketching out your script helps you determine how many panels are in a row, if there are any splashes or spreads, and the general tempo of your graphic novel. Don’t worry too much about the sketches’ quality just yet, even if you’re both the artist and author.
Step 4: Black and White Ink
In this step, your graphic novel will start to take shape. You won’t be adding color to your panels yet, but your sketches will become cleaner, more precise, and easy to read.
In this stage, scrutinize the emerging images, looking at the point of view, 180˚rule, and landscape shots to make sure everything is well-balanced and makes visual sense.
Step 5: Coloring and Lettering
The final two artistic stages of creating a graphic novel entail adding color (when creating a color graphic novel) and the letters. Coloring is an integral step of the creation process, but the lettering is of equal importance.
The letterer makes sure the font and point size are appropriate to a graphic novel; if the job isn’t done effectively, then the graphic novel will be confusing and jarring to your readers.
Step 6: The Printed Page
The last stage is crucial as it will influence the way your printed book will look. You need to pick a printing service you can rely on, and that has a proven track record.
A reliable printing service can offer you multiple options regarding the binding type, page properties, and the number of copies you want to have printed.
Creating your graphic novel is a transformative experience. From the first inkling of an idea to holding the actual book in your hands, Comix Well Spring will be there every step of the way.
If you’re thinking about making your idea become a reality, contact Comix Well Spring to begin the creative process.