There is no wrong way to start a comic and it takes time to figure out a stream lined process. Here are some tips on how to breakdown your story into thumbnails. An approach very common in the comics industry.
When working on the initial breakdowns of your script you will want to have your script handy as reference.
A very useful feature of the Comic Draw app is that you can work on your script and comic art at the same time. You can even drag the lettering straight onto the pages and adjust them accordingly.
Templates are useful because you can rough out multiple pages in an organized manner. Its the quickest way to plot out your story.
Feel free to make your own templates according to your needs or download the one below free.
Drawing small forces you to focus on composition instead aesthetics. You will be able to quickly see what works and doesn’t. Good storytelling is key in sequential art. Style is a result of your process.
The first line you draw whether mentally or physically is the reading line. You’ll want to control how your reader views your page as much as possible.
In the West we read from left to right and down similar to a Z. Mangas are meant to be read in the opposite direction.
Think about how the reader will read your page. The goal is to grab their attention, guide them through the panels and leave them wanting to keep turning pages.
Your page layouts consist of telling the story through panels. Divide your page according to the pace you deem necessary.
A full script is very specific to the number of panels and activity happening on a page. If you are just working from a plot or looser script calculate your panels according to the rhythm you want the story to have.
As an artist it is your job to bring the story to life. Your decisions will be drawn from your drawing ability, influences and knowledge.
The top priority is to make sure you able to show the story in a clear & engaging manner. If your art is cool looking but doesn’t tell the story clearly your reader will be lost. If you place your panels in a non-consecutive manner it will also confuse your reader. Keep your readers engulfed in your stories. Don’t let artistic decisions disconnect your audience.
People easily relate emotionally to facial expressions. Master as many different facial expressions as possible.
Body gestures are imperative to have convincing acting in your characters. Take on poses you are unfamiliar with drawing to be as accurate as possible.
How you place the camera angle in your comics impacts how your reader interprets the story. Be conscious of how shots affects the storytelling. All sequential art employs specific shots to control the narrative.
The thumbnail stage is the most thought heavy phase of the comic creation process. Remember that its just the initial brainstorming phase. Get your story nice and clear before moving on to refining your drawings.
Be satisfied with the pacing, figures, and shots before moving on to finished pencils.
The foundation of building a solid style and good storytelling is to nail the gestures. Gestures control how the reader views your art. Simple shapes help you create solid compositions using abstract thinking.
Your readers will not know nor care very much for this very important aspect of the creation process. Nonetheless the results of strong thumbnails will gradually improve your productivity and sharpen your thought process so that your end results will be effective and consistent.
Thank you for tuning into this week’s tutorial. I hope this has been helpful for you on your comic journey.
Check out the additional resources below for links to the references & materials I use.
special thanks to our official sponsor Plasq for providing the invaluable app Comic Draw!
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