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I have been working on a comic for the last, oh, 8 years probably. It started out as a collaboration project with a friend and I have since taken it over as she has had some problems in her own life. problem is that I can't seem to get it to go anywhere. I have characters that have developed and changed and grown since i have started this, and the plots have developed and grown with the characters, so everything works well. Problem is it's all stuck in my head right now.
I want to get it out but I don't know what I should be doing to do that. I was thinking writing a full story to do it, but I also don't know if writing it like that would just cause problems later on, and I've never really managed scripting it, but if that is generally the better options I can make up it, just not panel by panel, page by page, just in general and figure it out as I go.
I had started it and had gotten the first three pages done, but telling a few friends at work, they kept saying I really need to plan this out and work it all out before i start and it kind of... got me put on hold again. I'm just over thinking things with this and am looking for some advice to help me set myself straight. Any other advice would be like totally fab too. :3
Plotting story is one thing.
CREATING comics however I can tell you from what I've already learned just attempting pages, the more you plan the easier it goes and the better it will be. Doing things panel by panel is definitely a terrible idea. Every page needs to have a flow and purpose to it. Your telling a story not just drawing pretty pictures.
Based on the info above though it makes me think you haven't done many pages. How many pages have you done if you don't mind me asking? Because like anything it takes a ton of practice, studying, experimenting, learning etc. I have not seen anyone just from page one be amazing at comics even if they're good at drawing in general.
Looking through your SB also and the fact you've said you've been at least drafting this comic for 8 years. I'm guessing your thinking of this as your big project, but I can tell based on where your at that your going to restart a lot. You'll start grasping perspective more, seeing form better, etc etc if you actually try to improve. Look back at old pages see they're completely wrong and restart. Hell I've done comics where I've done 5 pages, 10 pages, 20 pages before I look back and see how much things have changed. I've restarted the same premises over and over as I learn. I'll probably do it with pages I do now and in the future some until I reach the point where I tell the story I like well.
The only real advice I can give you is to actively think of every page as a learning experience. Think of it as an outlet since comics pretty much use every aspect of drawing. It's not just figures, or environments, portraits or objects, you have to draw everything for a comic to draw the viewer in. Use every page to work on your figures, use them to draw environments and practice those, try various perspectives as you study them and incorporate them in the panels as practice. Look at other comic artists and see what they do. Why they do it. Experiment with types of comics. Some comics do full color. Some simple line and tone. Some heavy black and emphasis on notan. Use it work on your planning as well. Do thumbnails think of composition and flow etc.
But it takes a ton of practice. You have to have foundations to even reach a point where your able to tell a story with your pictures hence why not use pages as an outlet to practice them.
8 years is a long run on one comic title...it seems like your friend has moved on and if your having a hard time writing for that comic maybe it's time to move on to somthing else..may be something like a 50 page one shot graphic novel to end it all would be cool lol.
It's helpful to know where the story is going next so that you don't stall, but otherwise the best thing to do is *whatever works*. If it works best for you to improvise the page three hours before the deadline, go for it. If it works best for you to write the story out, do that. At the end of a month ask yourself if your method has resulted in actual pages coming out and if it didn't then do something else.
Tell no one about your comic until you're on a roll. Seriously. Comics are difficult, it's easy for people to mess you up, and if you tell people about the story it feels like you've done some "work" and you're less likely to channel that energy into something really productive like drawing pages.Originally Posted by MriannaI had started it and had gotten the first three pages done, but telling a few friends at work, they kept saying I really need to plan this out and work it all out before i start and it kind of... got me put on hold again.
Remember, no one is ever going to read whatever's in your head unless you put it on paper. Why worry about problems that might never happen when your giant enormous elephant-in-the-room problem is that the comic is not getting done at all? 100 pages + a problem beats 0 pages + a problem any day of the week.
It's not clear what part of this comic you've been working on for eight years... Is any of it drawn? Is any of it planned or written?
If the main thing is to get it out of your system and make it a real thing, but you're finding it too big to plan in advance, one thing you could do is turn it into an ongoing Webcomic. A Webcomic is flexible enough to give you room to experiment and make plot changes as you go, and if you change your mind in the future and decide to scrap it or start over, well, it won't be the first time that's happened with a Webcomic...
Personally I recommend some amount of advance planning so you don't write yourself into a corner with the plot, but you don't necessarily need a complete script written out in advance (I have a comic with a technically infinite plot, so writing it all in advance would be impossible. Usually all I have prepared before starting a chapter is an outline for that chapter and rough ideas for following chapters, and then I script and thumbnail as I go along...) Some webcomickers literally make it all up as they go along and manage to do all right. It all depends on the nature of the comic and your personality, really.
And inevitably if you start drawing a regular comic, you'll find your skills improving in both art and writing. If you haven't done many large-scale comic projects before, I can almost guarantee the experience you gain while doing this comic will make you want to change whatever plans you started with halfway through the story. So a flexible approach might work best in this case.
i think i misunderstood your post i thought you have been publishing a independent comic for 8 years...this book mite help you http://www.amazon.com/Drawing-Words-...ef=pd_sim_b_72
Last edited by creeptool; November 18th, 2012 at 11:27 PM.
Yeah sorry for any confusion, I wasn't feeling good last night and I wrote that before I went to bed. I tend to get nervous and ramble too sometimes. Especially when starting a post.
I've worked on Characters and the story for the last 8 years really. Going over everything again and again. I've got a pretty good idea of where I want things to go, and which plot points I need to hit. Basically Major events or big character development things, but other than that most of the story and how the plot points play out can be flexible.
I guess I just had too many different points of view by people who don't do comics about what needs to be done first that it was confusing me about what -I- need to do with it.
I did do the first three pages. I just inked and pencil shaded it, I rather liked how it turned out and felt it worked well for the comic at this point. Maybe in the future I can colour it. but that's something else again.
I think I'll take a peice of paper while I'm at work today and just make a list of what should happen in the first few chapters and start this baby.
Thank you for all your replies. They have been helpful. :3
synopsis first ..script second.. twenty one or thirty six frames ..two to four parts each ..when resting draw cover ideas as change of pace..best wishes..
Not sure what you mean by "frames" and "parts", but if you mean pages and panels, there are absolutely no rules about how many panels to put on a page, or how many pages per chapter, or how many chapters per arc, or how many arcs per story. It's entirely up to the creator and whatever works for the comic in question. (UNLESS it's for print, in which case there may be page limits per book, or if you're being hired to work on someone else's comic, in which case obviously you do what they want.)
Heck, if it's all digital, there are no format rules at all and anything goes. You can even do ludicrously long scrolling pages or animate parts of it. Try things. Go crazy.
I think it's pretty common for aspiring comic artists to get stuck in this 'development' phase for years and years and years. You feel like you're putting a lot of thought into it, but not much is getting done. The worst part of this is that as you get more attached to your idea, the actual process of scripting and drawing it becomes more difficult. You love your idea, so you want to get every detail perfect.
I would suggest playing around with some plot outlines for a short story. Write out some plot outlines, develop characters to go with that story, sketch out thumbs for comic pages, and then draw that comic. You'll be more willing to make mistakes and grow from them because you won't be so caught up in executing your idea that you've been working on for 8 years. It's more important to put the work in and improve from it.
my observations are based on a graphic novel i am working on at the moment..i have three scripts 3 parts.. it is onelong comlete story ..it is in 3 parts the first is drawn and approved ..i am working on the second part..
with the second part i send a cover idea..they want three cover ideas ..when doing a long comic/graphic novel the script always comes in parts as the author gets paid per part..
i sent my note as an example of an illustator actually working on a practical comic to be printed..i was not sending a theoretical dissertation..
by the way the comic/graphic novel is drawn in ink and coloured in photoshop..with colour guides sent by me as thumbnails...
p.s. i have been drawing comics and graphic novels for thirty-five years..not much changes only the medium...there are still difficult editors...redraws ? tell me about it..
There's actually term for that, it's called "brain crack".
Aside that useless tidbit of info I have an anecdote about how I used to be in the same sort of position, to the point that several years of thinking about the story mostly made me blind of the mistakes of it (I had the original idea when I was like 13 and boy did it show ten years later) and remove the freedom with all the huge amount of plot and stuff weighing down, so I found it much more easier to just start another one, a more of a blank slate that I could develop also during the comic itself, making it a lot more interesting and giving me more freedom to just try things and learn.
Since my earlier post was more towards creating the comic not plot guess I'll throw in the point I was originally going to make about plot.
There are different terms for the types of story writing. This is for writers but Comics might as well be the same. Architect Vs Gardener. Also called Discovery writer and Outliners. Architects plot out every detail, every event, every point in the plot. Gardeners start creating then make it flexible and watch how the story develops like planting a seed and seeing how it grows. There's advantages and disadvantages to both.
But like I said above if you haven't done many comic pages your going to restart a lot probably. So a Gardener approach where you kind of see where it takes you could be a good thing. You can still make general plans but one thing I can also say from messing around with pages is. You might have one idea going with how a scene will develop then as your reading the pages you've done your view might change entirely based simply on what you've made and you might think "hmmm.... actually... maybe this should happen instead that would feel right here".
This is still with the writing phase. Creating the comic, plan plan plan. Can't stress that enough. Do thumbnails, write the script a bit ahead of time make sure the text will fit since the text is a design aspect as well. Plot out where that text will be etc.
Last edited by JFierce; November 19th, 2012 at 02:34 PM.
Right, obviously if you're working for print, working for a publisher, submitting to an anthology, working with a writer who isn't you, or otherwise working on a comic with a team or working to given specifications, then there are going to be guidelines, of course. But the OP has a project which I'm pretty sure is a totally self-created, self-published/webcomic venture. For that sort of thing, really anything goes. If it's a webcomic, REALLY anything at all. And if it's a first attempt at a comic, it's better to just make something and get it out there and get the experience rather than spend forever planning and worrying about doing it "right".
i did a webcomic 3 years ago..the fellows put it online.. then asked if i could redraw it for a niche magazine..needless to say the renumeration was rather modest!
After reading this thread and checking out your sketchbook...I'd like to see how this unfolds and
that it unfolds soon. So keep us up to date on your progress. You have been given some pretty
sound advise that seems to make sense. As an artist, sometimes, we have to think outside the
box to fit our lives...now your miles may very or just get you nowhere with what I have to say
but at the very least you should be doing something...to get even a little more closer to what you
want to achieve. So here is what I think...though I think you have been given some pretty
straight advise already...
I think you need to get it all out. You don't have to spend time with the details, but perhaps
a sketch book where you just dump your thoughts into. It does not have to be the written
word, but thumbnails, panels with thumbnails, sketches, with tags and notes...put it all into
one book. The key is to get it out of your head and onto paper so you can look at it and
remember it and perhaps start piecing the puzzle together. This will help, I believe help you
"figure it out as you go". The worst that it can happen is that your ambition fizzles to dust
and your book get's thrown in the corner and is forgotten and you move on. Perhaps to be
discovered later to evolve or die. Or maybe this is how you would work to create your
Hope this helps and look forward to see what comes about this...