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December 24, 2012


Replies: 9

Any help for comic book newbie?

DemiPav Featured By Owner Dec 24, 2012
Hello everybody,

I am new here, and am not totally sure if I'm posting in the correct section of these forums, so please feel free to move the thread if there is a place for it.

I have finally decided to buckle down and do some drawing. I'm 23, but I stopped drawing around 10 years ago, so any skill that I had then is pretty much gone, therefore I want to teach myself to draw now using the technical side of things. I'm mostly interested in comic book style/character drawing, and have some ideas for comic books that I would love to develop someday, if this take off is going to be at least half successful. [B]I was wondering if anyone would be willing to help me out with the following questions that I've got in mind?[/B]

- Any [I]ONE[/I] book you would suggest to read on drawing comic and/or manga style? (I don't know towards which style I will be leaning, as I'm kind of a fan of both; maybe a mixture of the two, actually, if such a thing exist)
- Any [I]ONE[/I] book on drawing in general, and would it be beneficial? I've just picked up "Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain". Seems pretty good, anyone has any opinions on this book?
- Any [I]ONE[/I] book you would advise to read on how to structure the plot of the story for the comic book? (There are different techniques for books, and screenplays, plays, so I'm sure there's a specific way - the best way - for comic books too)
- One more: I have a few ideas, plot-wise, for the comic book and they are constantly being developed [I]in my mind [/I]- characters, story lines, history, style, etc; at this moment I don't really have the skill to put them down [I]on paper[/I], and really doubt that I will have it any time soon. How do YOU write down stories for your comic books, if you ever do? Do you just open WORD, and start typing, as if it would be your diary?

I have so many questions, but as I am new here I don't feel like spamming this forum. I would very much appreciate a response and any additional advice on how to proceed with this burning desire to "draw a story".

Thank you! :)

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Devious Comments

Lucy-Merriman Featured By Owner Dec 27, 2012  Student General Artist
I'm recommending one book to you that helped me immensely when I tried doing one-shot comics for a while. It's called Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud, and you can get it here: [link]

It walks you through how to make effective choices when creating a comic, and talks about everything from dialogue to frame composition to character design, all in terms of how each step helps you convey the story you want to tell. It doesn't advocate for one style over another, so if you want to learn to draw a specific type of manga style, you might want to find some additional books. However, it will give you a lot of insight as to why different styles are good for telling different kinds of stories.

That's about as far as I can go on the advice front, I'm afraid. Hope it's helpful!
BlueWingedCoyote Featured By Owner Dec 26, 2012
I would urge you strongly to keep a notebook/binder for your ideas, it might not seem like the idea fountain will ever dry up but when you're staring at writer's block having a notebook full of ideas will kickstart you when you are stalled. Also writing down the ideas when you get them will keep the details from being lost. It may sound silly to write down things related to a comic but if you really want your story to have depth and breadth to it, it can be important. Even the details that might not make it into the comic, or might turn up much later than you think. The underlying structure is important and being able to lay your plot points on a map will help you get from point a to b.
FIRSTxAIDxKIT Featured By Owner Dec 25, 2012  Professional Interface Designer
I couldn't really respond with any specific answers to your questions, but I will say that the best inspiration and the best way to learn would be to read lots and lots of comics--both good and bad. Analyze what makes renowned and popular comics great, and what makes bad comics bad. A nice feature of several popular "deluxe edition" graphic novels is that they sometimes include the author's scripts, so this could be a good place to figure out how to structure your comic book.

Also, if you feel comfortable with it, show your friends and peers your progress! Sometimes when we work on a long project such as this, it helps to have a pair of fresh eyes to help us identify what's good, and what problems we are having in the narrative, composition, art, and of course, grammar.
SandroRybak Featured By Owner Dec 25, 2012  Professional Digital Artist

I'm not a comic artist at all. In my whole life I maybe did 2 short comics (3-4 panels), but I try to give you some hints anyway.

I will respond to every "-" with Question 1,2,etc.

Question 1: Never try to lean towards a style, as it might stagnate your process of learning. Style always develop from yourself. Of course you can imitate a style that suits your story..
Question 2: I think I worked with that one aswell in the beginning. It helps you to analyze life and translate it on paper much easier. It has some nice methods for learning. If you are looking for good anatomy for artists books, then I can recommend you some: Constructive Anatomy (Bridgeman), everything by Gottfried Bammes, Dynamic Anatomy by Burne Hogarth( Comic Artist). I also heard this can be found pretty easily online ;)... but that might be a might. I personally hated the Burne Hogarth book, as I don't like the way he draws.

Question 3: I don't know what you will need here, but comics are a lot like making movies and photography. You need to know how to compose your comic panel, so the reader/watcher, can understand the scene. It should be very readable. What I can imagine could help is taking photography classes, or reading books about composition. What's good or bad that's directly for comicbook artist.. that should be better answered by one of them.

Question 4: I have a sketchbook. When I have ideas for a painting I write them down, or just make a little sketch, some lines that I remember the composition and some words. That helps, but you can do it the way you want. Write everything down, make little post-it's, write on your wall, tatoo it on skin, write it notebooks, order everything alphabetically. Thats really different from person to person.

Note: these tips don't come from a comic artist, but I think the approach I take isn't shoo different. Hope it helps you to stay fresh and don't be too " I NEED TO DO COMICS RIGHT NOW".

CreativelyCreative Featured By Owner Dec 25, 2012
q3 response is solid. refer to it as gospel
schris91 Featured By Owner Dec 24, 2012  Student Filmographer
Bryan Hitch's Comic Studio I think It's called. I liked that one personally especially for layouts.
hiyoi Featured By Owner Dec 24, 2012
The Books & Comics forum is for discussing already existing works. You'll probably get a better response if you post in the General Art forum.

1. I wouldn't get too attached to drawing in a particular style. Drawing from life and developing your own style in the end will yield far better results.
2. I'm half way through that book and in my opinion it's a good book for beginners to start drawing as it teaches you to observe things and not rely on symbols. You may also want to check out 'Natural Way to Draw.' And don't forget to actually DO the excercises.
3. I'm pretty sure those books for writing stories and plays will also prove helpful for comics....I mean comic book stories aren't really that different from any other stories. But I recommend 'Understanding Comics' and 'Making Comics' by Scott McCloud. Also: write short stories.
4. As soon as you get an idea(a name, character concept, story idea, anything really), write/draw it down on a notepad or something. Imagine how a scene might begin and end and how those scenes would connect to form a story. Saying you don't have the skills to write something down on paper is pure nonsense, unless you lack hands/arms/fingers. Anything you think of, even if it's a middle of a fight scene, just write it down, or make a sketch of it.

Really comics are more of a 'learn-as-you-go' type of thing. You may want to map out the perfect storyline with perfect plot twists and perfect pacing before even getting started on drawing it out, but that's like trying run before you've learned to walk. Reading books are helpful, but experience will help so much more so it's important to just start drawing.
Lastly, don't be afraid to ask more questions. There are many people in the Art Related forums that are willing to help out. :aww:
Slave2Karma Featured By Owner Dec 24, 2012
For drawing, don't worry so much about having to stick to a style when you're just starting out, focus more on anatomy and realism. Once you've got a decent handle on how to draw proper proportions and anatomy, style will look better and come more naturally. I highly recommend looking into anatomy books and taking a life drawing class as well as getting a sketchbook to do daily gestures/memory sketches. ^_^
Penguinton Featured By Owner Dec 24, 2012  Student Traditional Artist
Anything by 'Impact' publishing seems to be good for help on learning to draw comics/manga. But 'How To Draw Comics The Marvel Way' is probably the best book on the subject. Theres also Stan Lee's How to Draw Comics which is equally as good.

Anything by Andrew Loomis is fantastic on generally learning to draw. I personally like 'figure drawing for all it's worth'.

I do believe there is a book on the writing aspect by Impact...But I can't think of the title. There's also some book by DC comics on the subject. But once again I can't recall the title. And I know theres 'Stan Lee's How to write comics' but I have no idea if it's any good.

Since I write my strips for me I don't have to worry if it makes sense to anyone else. So the scripts are just written into my notebook with direction notes so I'd remember what I want to happen. Really unless someone else is going to have to work with your scripts I don't think it matters so much the format you write it in just as long as you can read and understand it.

You may want to look into Joe Kubert's School since it specializes in comics. [link] Theres a correspondence course so you could send your work to get critiqued. I did the correspondence courses and they were helpful.

Good luck!
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