When I entered secondary school in 2010, I got attracted to comics though I had read the Black Thunder and Archie series before then. I didn’t see it as much, till I saw hand-drawn comics by some seniors. Creating comics are not easy, but with my interactions with people in the field I have documented these steps to help you in creating the perfect comic book (including series and graphic novels).
Many websites will offer different, advanced and time taking methods to achieving this same goal. But our focus is creating the best in the shortest time possible achieving a wide readership.
STEP ONE: THERE IS NO PERFECT COMIC BOOK
This step sure contradicts what we talk about but just wait for my explanation before concluding. You see, the concept of perfection is an individual expression of taste. What do I mean? Seeing a comic book as perfect is just an expression of your own point of view. The sooner you understand this, the better your comic books will become.
A comic book you see as perfect may not be as good as it it seems in the eye of another. A perfect example can be seen in my opinion of Marvel’s The Oath 1, a comic book telling the story of the aftermath of the Civil War II series on the Marvel Universe especially S.H.I.E.L.D. I observed the excellent story but it sucked at inking and colouring (remember: my personal opinion). My Facebook friend however was praising the comic book’s perfect and complete nature. To him the book was just perfect.
In essence, in creating the perfect comic book, try to achieve your definition of perfect and not someone else’s definition.
STEP TWO: LEARN FROM WHAT YOU SEE AND FORGET WHAT YOU SEE
How do you learn from what you see and then forget it? Creating the perfect comic book doesn’t mean copying or duplicating the storyline of another good comic book out there. Sure, the publishers may never know about it our even react but you will have to live with that memory that the idea wasn’t yours.
Instead of doing that, pickup good comics (there are tons of free comics online and cheap printed ones) and study them. Compare their styles both in drawing, inking, colouring and lettering. Learn something new. Inspirations will come from what you know and not from a void. Remember, the eye is the body’s major source of data.
When you’re done with those comics, retain the NEW things you learnt and discard their stories (unless there is something special), art, colouring and lettering form your mind. Use the new things you learnt to build yourself and develop new skills.
A friend once commented on a Facebook post advertising African-themed superheroes: “why do we have African-themed superheroes in spandex costumes?”
I argued that the publishers and creators were allowing western influences into their thinking and methods. Instead of just learning the act itself they were learning the art too.
Someone else argued that the use of western-influenced themes brought the comic books “home”. It allowed new readers to identify with what they already knew.
In creating the perfect comic book, the lines between learning, copying and allowing unnecessary influence from others are very thin. Know when you are about to cross that line.
STEP THREE: DON’T ASSUME YOU KNOW IT ALL
The point explains itself. Creating the perfect comic book doesn’t meant you sit in your studio and draw, colour and publish. Even if you maybe good, there are people who would do better in certain things be it colouring, distribution, editing and story-editing. If you can afford it, get in contact with these people and have them do their part.
You could also talk to popular comic artists in your area and get some tips from them. This may not always work because they maybe busy, but it doesn’t hurt to try.
STEP FOUR: DO NOT RUSH INTO ANYTHING
Everyone wants to be a recognized comic book artist. So we (me too) are guilty of rushing into things. Once a little idea clicks we tend to think we have the whole story—we may have it though—only to start writing or drawing and find something lacking.
Now, instead of rushing into things I advise you to keep a notepad or a piece of paper with you always. Once an idea clicks, scribble it down. Keep doing this for some days, then come back and look at that first idea. You find out in most cases that it doesn’t hold the same appeal as it did. Try fine-tuning that first idea by adding bits from latter ones. Apply what you have LEARNT.
Whoever said creating the perfect comic book was easy?
STEP FIVE: YOU CAN’T COMFORTABLY DO WHAT YOU DON’T LIKE
As appealing as the comic industry is, the above rule is a MUST not just for creating the perfect comic book but for all business minded people. Doing what you derive no pleasure from is an equivalent of paid slavery/subjection.
Find what you like and get people to pay you for it.
The above rule has guided me for years as it will guide you. Go into things you like and enjoy then sit down then devise a way to convince people to pay you for it.
STEP SIX: REMEMBER THE FIVE RULES ABOVE
Keep these five rules above close to your mind as you pursue your dream to create the perfect comic book. Remember:
- There is no perfect comic book
- Don’t assume you know it all
- Learn from what you see and forget what you see
- Do not rush into anything
- You can’t comfortably do what you don’t like
- Remember the five rules above