How to Write a Comic Book
Have you been asking yourself ‘how can I make my own comic?’ but not sure where to start? WTTB have put together some information for those at the start of their journey and we hope our insight and advice on how to write a comic book for beginners help you get started!
Much like book writing, comic book writing must include key elements to make it stand out from other comic publications, the things that keep people reading and indeed, coming back for more as new editions are published. This includes:
A set genre
Whether you choose science fiction, fantasy, comedy, action/adventure, horror, comedy, romance, or even adult, make sure you know what your target audience like and stick with it on each issue. Don’t deviate from the chosen genre (unless you know there is crossover opportunity). Most comic lovers like a certain genre and tend to stick with it, if they are fans of romance comics, they are unlikely to be blown away with elements of horror or science fiction creeping into the publication! This doesn’t mean you can’t create comic books of different genres, but each series should know what it is.
A strong storyline
Additional to the storyline being strong, it needs to be one that keeps the reader wanting more. Unlike a novel, the reader will need to wait for the next instalment, whether you print weekly or monthly, and you need to ensure they are chomping at the bit by time the next edition comes out so they continue to invest in your work.
A lead character or characters
Whether likeable, mysterious, or relatable, you should have a protagonist. Someone the reader is backing, or at least someone the reader is keen to know more about. Make sure you know their back story and MO – even if it’s not something that is portrayed to the reader at first, you need to know how your main character would react in certain situations and the reasons why.
Such is the importance of outstanding graphics in a comic that you should only attempt them yourself if you know you have the skill to do justice to your story. If you don’t, simply look online, there are plenty of sites where comic book artists advertise their services. Ensure you get eyes on their portfolio prior to agreeing any contacts or partnership arrangements and don’t just opt for the cheapest artist, remember – if you pay peanuts, you may just get monkeys!
How are Comics Written?
Comics are written first, with illustrations complementing the copy upon completion.The dialogue is often in speech bubble format but just as popular is to have the content placed above or below the image panels. Unlike traditional literature, the over-use of exclamation marks, question marks and other special characters is welcome in comic books, and it gives the content voice and feeling.
You can provide your illustrator with the full script from which they plot their graphics, or a plot script. A full script gives the artist a set task to fill each panel with the imagery they have been asked to design; the writer has most creative control. A plot script allows the artist more freedom, they are given the plot of the story and create the comic themselves, returning to the writer for the addition of the dialogue. This can be great if you have a fantastic plot, but you are unsure of your vision.
How to Print a Comic Book
Years ago, the idea of being able to print your own comic book was somewhat pie in the sky! But if it’s your life’s ambition or you are serious about starting a career in comics, there is absolutely nothing stopping you! With a plethora of print options and binding types such as the most popular - saddle stitched binding or even wiro-bound for something a little different, you could soon be holding your very own comic book creation!
The big question of course is, how much does it cost to write and print a comic book? Well, this very much depends on the volume you are printing (litho or digital print) and the paper type you opt for.
What is the Difference Between Litho and Digital Print?
You can opt for digital print for smaller quantities of your comic and you can also ‘print on demand’ using this method, additionally, copies can be personalised. It is quicker as it is printed digitally and there is less set up time involved and no drying time required for the ink, this means that digital (also called ‘short-run’) printing, is the most cost-effective option. Litho printing, however, has a minimum volume and is a more ‘traditional’ printing method involving ink and print plates (and all the set-up time that goes into it!). Litho printing delivers high quality results and comes with a wider variety of paper and finish options, but it comes with a higher price tag than digital.
With so many options, we wouldn’t blame you if you still had lots of questions, so please reach out to our print experts for more advice and information on comic book printing.
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