By Alverne Ball
The other day a young creator twittered me a message asking how I started out in making comics. After relating a story where I tried to learn everything I could about the production of comics before jumping in feet first and learning on the go I came to the idea that this entry should be about how to start making comics.
Once you’ve got your idea, the job as creator is to either write the tale or find someone that can write it for you.
Nail down the script(s). Make sure you’ve got the story down before you move forward with any other aspect of production. If that means you have to write for a year then do so, but have at most 80-90 % of the story done.
Find an artist or a writer. This one depends on what your artistic profession is in the role of the creation of the comic. Since I’m a writer I’ll talk more towards a writer finding an artist. If you have an idea of the artwork you want for the book then that’s great! You’re ahead of the curve, but if you’re like me where you have no idea and usually wait for an artist’s work to grab you then you should probably have most of the story written. The reason I’m adamant about having the story nearly complete is because once you do find the artist you want to work with he/she will ask to see a sample of the writing. If you, as the writer can present a completed script(s) it makes you look more professional than the next writer to approach the artist and it gives the artist an idea of what the story will be.
Schedules. Once you and the artist either agree on a collaboration agreement or a work for hire agreement find out the artist or writer’s REALISTIC schedule for turning in pages. Once you’ve got an idea then create a calendar and count lets say two days for every page. This gives you a bit of cushion when it comes to the production of the pages and says that you’re considerate of the artist’s time. You can add or subtract days but it should all depend on the agreement between you and your co-conspirators.
Building your artistic team. While the artist is working to draw up character designs, layout of pages, and finally do penciling duties you as the creator should be out busting your ass to complete your artistic team. Namely, we’re talking about acquiring an inker, (which depending on the project can be optional) colorist, letterer, and possibly a graphic designer. These positions mean just as much as the penciler and writer, if not more, in the production of the comic.
Production schedule. Now that the pencils are starting to flow in you as the creator should create a production schedule in which you know exactly where the production of the book is. By this I mean that if pencil pages 1-5 have come in and you’re awaiting pages 5-10 then pages 1-5 should be with the inker, then to the colorist, and on to the letterer until they’re finished. The more you can keep the machine oiled and running the better for you because one never knows when life may shut down your production.
Game time. Now that you’ve got your first issue done, sit it to the side for about a week or two. In that time give your team that time to rejuvenate if you feel that you all have been burning the candle at both ends. After the timeout open the files for the first issue, print them out and go through every page with a red pen, looking for grammatical errors that may have shown up in the first past. Once you’ve proofed the book and you feel that it’s in the best shape possible then file it away and begin work on the next issue. Yep, you heard me right. No, you’re not going to release the first issue. Why? Because you want at least 3-4 issues of not more under your belt before you start to distribute the book just in case life should get in the way of production of it.
If you follow these steps you’ll save yourself a headache or two. In the next post I’ll try to get a little more in-depth about the production of the comic when you start to involve the inker, colorist, letterer, and graphic designers.
Thanks for reading.
One Response to “Writing for the love of it. #2”
[quote,Posted by Ted Bergeron | February 15, 2012, 4:52 pm __] That is pretty comprehensive! That’s a good point about having 3 or 4 issues done before distributing. That way you could keep the momentum going and retain readers by meeting a release schedule.