The Pre-Steps

Ideas are fickle and hard to come by- and motivation is likely even moreso. If you have an idea, though, and a minute amount of motivation, you may still be confused as to how to get started. If it feels like too big a challenge to undertake, you’re certainly not alone.

The fact is, looking at a comic- be it a Marvel comic or a manga straight from Japan, or even another webcomic- it’s hard to comprehend how an idea can become a completed work, and I can tell you now, it won’t be easy. In my last post, though, my advice was to begin. Easier said than done? Absolutely! But it doesn’t mean it’s too difficult.

I have a couple tutorials here that can help you take the first step, but before I get to those, I’ll tell you how I started the comic I have on hiatus currently, Self-Conclusion.

I was working at GameStop at the time, and since it wasn’t near any holidays and I mostly worked weekdays, I had some free time here and there, and of course breaks. I had a notebook with graph paper in it and started writing. Bullets are the best way to start, in my opinion. Mine look something like this:

Page One

          – Open scene: Rooftop, brown tones. Summer. A busy intersection nearby. Tim is standing on the edge of the rooftop. You just see the building in a large one-page spread and Tim looking small at the top.

                      >Tim: “Well, I guess that’s it.”

Page Two

           -Tim’s feet, edging toward the end, his toes are slightly hanging off the building’s wall. The intersection is in view, it’s busy and bright.

                       >Shadi, off screen: “Hey, you!”

            -Tim’s profile, just under his eyes and down. His hair is blowing in the wind, and his lips are slightly parted.

                       >Shadi, off screen: “What the hell do you think you’re doing?” (This bubble spills over slightly onto panel three.)

            -Tim’s turned, he looks only slightly surprised. His eyes are slightly visible behind his glasses- the different colored irises contrast a bit with the warm-toned (but dark) surroundings.

Of course, this is just what works for me. There are many other ways to set up your bullet points and the best way to do it is what works for you personally, even if it looks like a mess to everyone else. From my bullets I took it to OneNote to start working on thumbnails. I won’t go over thumbnails too much here, as we’re mostly focusing on writing, but I’m happy to show an example of what I mean and why I use OneNote over another software.

Barely legible? Absolutely. But it works for me, so it’s what I do. From here I can take a screenshot of the thumbnail and blow it up in Photoshop to start sketching over it. Then, when I get to lettering, I can just double-check what I had written next to it and type it in.

I promised you some tutorials though, and they’ll likely make more sense than my ramblings, so I’ll give you those before I leave you high and dry.

Comic Tutorial – PLANNING by Eisha on DeviantArt

How to Write a Comic Book Strip by Chris Oakly on

How to Write a Script for Your Comic by Todd Tevlin on

With all the world at your disposal, what excuse do you have not to get started? Okay, other than a million things. As always, if you’re looking for something specific you’d like to see or if you have any questions, let me know! I’m happy to help you out. 🙂


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