Comic Talk, Tips and Tricks

Making a long term comic
Metalbender92 at 10:48AM, Nov. 15, 2008
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I have a hard time making comics because I want my ideas to be reallly original. Also, because these types of comics stick around for many years, I'm under a lot of pressure to make a good idea. I just want to start making a comic, but what to draw is a big decision.

Am I taking this too seriously? Should you just start drawing aout anything and then let an idea form itself? And how do you tell if your idea is original enough?

A sketch comic filled with little comedic bundles!
The Meekler Files
Where every day is a hiatus!
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:59PM
Ryuthehedgewolf at 4:00PM, Nov. 15, 2008
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Usually, when I start up a new comic. I have a big base idea in mind.

Think about the kinds of stuff you are into. This is the VERY first step.
Think about the story you want to tell, and think of the setting of it, the characters, all that.

Then, I would most definitely start to develop some great ideas. Like, (just randomly throwing this out there) if you were into robots.

You could do one about giant robots fighting in space.
But then, you start to look a few things up, and realize, “oh crap, it's been done before”, so that's where you start to mold your idea, much like a piece of clay.

Say, instead of space, it could be different planets. Like the home planet could be a swamp. And instead of the usual good vs evil sides, it could be like, to where the reader could root for any team. It'd be like a government waging war on each other.

Oh, and names are VERY important. Just don't look up a name, and use something incredibly generic. This is where I definitely failed.
I used the name Ryu.
Honestly? That's the most unoriginal thing I've ever don- wait. Maybe not ever done. But close to it.
Come up with something that sounds cool, yet not ridiculous.


Now that you have the base idea, and some names. Start writing a script. I wouldn't so much start out by going straight to “Chapter 1…blah blah blah” I would probably take a week or two to get some brainstorming done. The reason why I would take such a long time (Heck, I'd even take a month) is to fully develop your ideas.

Invest that time by sketching characters, the robots (since I'm talking about a robot comic), planets, settings, weapons, all that good stuff. Maybe even start developing characters personalities, and write down basic ideas for how you want to tell your story.

Like, for instance, if you wanted to have the beginning be how the robots were made, and how the characters even got them. Just write down a few ideas of how they would get them. Not necessarily in script form, but just a little paragraph should do. After that, I'd write down what you want to happen at the middle, like, the robots are finally engaged in war. And do the same as above. If you're doing a long comic, I would have an idea for the end, but not so developed. Because if you focus too much on the end, you'll end up rushing through the whole thing, and you won't have a good result. Believe me.

Taking the time to develop a good comic takes long and hard work, you'll need to utilize all of your creative ability. It is also a good idea to do some ‘practice’ pages. To get your style down. Figure out what kind of paper you want to draw on. I know a lot of webcomic artists that LOVE drawing on Printer paper. I used to, but I realized that my preference is 11 x 14, which is decently bigger. Considering I have to scan my own comic into 4 parts. And figure out what tools you want to use. Such as pencils, pens, etc. It's all up to you.
Black or white?
Story or strip?
Serious or comedic?
1 update a week, or more?

It's all up to you.
But keep in mind, that every decision you make, will affect the outcome and turnout of your comic. So don't choose anything crazy that you can't handle. Like, if you're generally a really busy person, and are doing a color comic. I would NOT do more than 1 page a week. Definitely not.


Now that the rant is over. I bid you good day :)
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:16PM
Finer at 7:38PM, Nov. 18, 2008
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Oddly enough, I've thought of probably a good hundred different comic ideas (about ten of them complete enough to be made and everything) but I never seem to have the effort or time to start putting them into action.

In my personal opinion, there is no longer a truely original story. This goes for comics, books, movies, and the like. It's all been done in some form of another. Thomas C. Foster basically believes that every story could be considered the same story when you get down to it. In terms of your story, it will probably be heavily influenced (at least in my experience) on a story you already love. Then you take other stories you like and sorta throw those in there and also throw in your own twists and stuff and ideas. This is a very personal part of comic making. Best of luck to you.
Coming soon to a Drunk Duck near you. Angry Man!
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:29PM
lba at 8:58PM, Nov. 18, 2008
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I've found the best way to create a good story is to inject yourself into it. If you put yourself, your thoughts and make it personal on some level whether from personal experiences, beliefs or characters, the results generally tend to be more believable. However, that doesn't mean you should make a carbon copy of yourself as your main character. I would even go so far as to say that should be taboo. It's a little bit cheesy and cliched. You want to put your experiences and thoughts into everyone and everything involved enough to make the characters and world more fully-realized and human without putting it all into one person or place. If the characters and place are things people relate to and become intimate with, it will almost always endear a reader to them.

A great way to get better at doing this is to take stories that others have already written and adapt them because it takes care of the plot for you, and allows you to focus on developing the characters, locations and artwork you create into fully-formed creations. It helps you learn to make every character you create realistic so that when you do start writing your own plot, the characters and other elements you practiced with adapting stories will support and make the plot believable because you can then avoid many of the cliches and characteristics of bad writing which make stories sound uninteresting or old.

If you're creating a story that actually comes from you instead of your influences and your elements of storytelling are believable, then I think that qualifies as original.

Just remember, every artist turns out a couple million crap drawings before they produce anything remotely like a masterpiece. The only reason the legends of comics, painting, etc. seem to make every single work perfect is that they have the luck of nobody getting a hold of their sketchbooks. Don't worry about making a few crappy comics at first. You're better off getting them out of the way now than halfway through a career.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:29PM
bravo1102 at 8:08AM, Nov. 28, 2008
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Good artists copy, great artists steal.

You take that decidedly unoriginal idea and make it your own. It doesn't matter how often the idea has been done as long as you make the story your version of it. You put your spin on it.

Then if someone says "oh this has been done before, but hey, I like his/her spin on it… it's not just another story"

It takes practice and don't be afraid to brainstorm and think outside the box. Do Various writer exercises. Write about your characters diong something mundane. What do they eat for breakfast? Sit down and do an interview with them. Know your characters and then work out how they act and react to the plot. Sometimes they change the plot or add details that you never imagined before.

Or for me, my muse visits and we talk. A beautiful woman in a diaphanous white robe is very inspiring. ;)
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:33AM
Druchii at 6:48AM, Dec. 5, 2008
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bravo1102
Good artists copy, great artists steal.

You take that decidedly unoriginal idea and make it your own. It doesn't matter how often the idea has been done as long as you make the story your version of it. You put your spin on it.

Then if someone says "oh this has been done before, but hey, I like his/her spin on it… it's not just another story"

It takes practice and don't be afraid to brainstorm and think outside the box. Do Various writer exercises. Write about your characters diong something mundane. What do they eat for breakfast? Sit down and do an interview with them. Know your characters and then work out how they act and react to the plot. Sometimes they change the plot or add details that you never imagined before.

Or for me, my muse visits and we talk. A beautiful woman in a diaphanous white robe is very inspiring. ;)

There isn't anything I can add that wasn't already put very well above. With my own, I do tend to have an outline of plot, but the dialog and scene by scene working is usually done as I go along. I love to storyboard it all out in thumbnails, and then go onto the full versions.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:17PM
CharleyHorse at 10:34AM, Dec. 5, 2008
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Metalbender92, originality comes from your particular take on things. Take humor, for instance. Your sense of humor will be slightly different than it is for everyone else. Ditto for telling stories. All of this means that you don't really need to sweat the ‘original idea’ concept.

Consider, if you will, how many hundreds of college room mate slacker strips there are floating around the Internet. Yet you can read any of a dozen such strips and find something new and interesting in each – if you like those sorts of ‘toons. The same can be said of ’adventurer or adventurers trekking across the wilderness or across multiple dimensions' strips.

So what's really important is that you tackle whatever calls deepest to you as an artist and writer. One way to discover what you want to 'toon about is to sit down and make a list of your favorite strips and note what you most like about them. Try to separate the ones that primarily appeal to you because of the way they are drawn from the ones that appeal because of the way they are written. Both are legitimate concerns, but they need to be listed separately to help you make up your mind.

When you are done then start putting something of your own together that really makes you happy because it hits a good number of your own personal pleasure receptors. Thus you will be engaged in something that really interests you and is therefore likely to be something that you will feel like sticking with for quite a while.

Best of good fortune.

CharleyHorse
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:40AM

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