In their material essence, comics are pieces of paper or digital print that have pictures and corresponding narratives and dialogues to go along. However, it goes without saying that there is much more to comics than that; the process of having both the visual and the written medium work together to communicate a message and leave an impact is truly complex and includes both, an artistic endeavor and technical skills. Let’s look at the steps that usually need to be present for a person to produce a solid comic.
Not surprising? Thought so. Just like with any other form of artistic expression, in order to say something in a comic book, a person needs to know what that “something” is. Few great artworks came to be from utter chaos and nothingness, and that is especially true with comic books that require at least a minimal storyline and development.
The Development and The Script
Speaking of comic books in particular, it is crucial to establish a workable framework for a storyline that will guide not only the writing process, but the drawing as well. This is the part where the creator puts together a plotline with all necessary, logical elements and from there begins the development of a script. There are two main ways to do it – the Marvel Method (only the basic aspects of the plot are touched upon initially, the rest is decided upon when the writer sees the finished drawing) or full script (a traditional script writing method where the plot and the actions are written out in great detail).
An equally important and defining part of a comic is its visual aspects – drawings, animations and so on. Sometimes it is the writers themselves who produce the artwork for their comics, sometimes they leave it to the masterful hand of artists who specialize in visualizing comic books. Oftentimes two or more artists produce samples of images for the comic and the writer decides which ones work best with his or her intended effect. Sometimes it isn’t even a one-man job; the so called pencilers determine the initial outline of the art – sketches thumbnails from the script. After they get approved, the inkers take the rough guidance of the penciller and produce the final look for the comic. A very important part that follows is deciding how the text is going to blend (or not!) with the visual art.
Printing and Marketing
There are several ways to go about this and there isn’t one that would be right for everyone. Some prefer to self-publish and follow one path, some prefer to have a name of a major publishing company attached to their work (if they succeed to get the publishing house’s attention). Whatever the person chooses, it is crucial to remember that unless the work is seen by the public, it will not be discovered by the public. So, depending on whether you want your comic to remain an underground read or if you want it to reach broad audiences, market accordingly!