How to Start a Comic

Learn all the logistics and art skills you’ll need to start a comic. There are many components to the process: coming up with the idea for the comic, determining the length, the panel format, designing the environments and characters, the drawing process, figuring out what art medium to work in, and more. Discussion led by Art Prof Clara Lieu and Teaching Artists Alex Rowe and Cat Huang.

Video Walkthrough

  • What is hard about comics?
  • The very beginning of the idea of a comic.
  • Cat’s comic about an antiques shop.
  • A huge part of making a comic is research; Cat spent time in antique shops to research the subject.
  • Alex creates a comic to tell a broader story than you can tell with a single image.
  • Writing is a major part of creating a comic.
  • The best way to improve your writing skills is to have other people read your writing and get feedback.
  • Alex’s one page comic that he created from art school.
  • What is the difference between a comic and a graphic novel?
  • The difference between using digital and traditional media for comics.
  • The more you draw your characters, the more they will continue to visually evolve.
  • You can never have too many reference photos for research.
  • Balance between a single panel vs. the way the entire page reads.
  • The word “comic” is sometimes looked down upon by critics.
  • Don’t start a comic without having a solid foundation of your story and writing.
  • Alex’s regret of skipping the thumbnail sketches in his comic.
  • How far in advance do you plan the comics panels?
  • Break down your comic into manageable segments.
  • There are similarities between storyboarding and comics.
  • Sometimes using someone else’s story is better than writing your own.
  • Writing a script can be very useful.
  • Printing hard copy comics.
  • A comic can begin with an image. In Cat’s case it was a swimming pool.
  • Cat’s nib pen drawing for inking.
  • Think about a character’s personality: what is their posture like, how do they look from the side?
  • Consider how to visually guide your reader through the way panels are organized.

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