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Making a Webcomic

Making a Webcomic

by skyangel
Practical advice and useful hints for anyone wanting to start their own comic or are struggling with one they've already started.
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Last Update
6 Years Ago

Making a Webcomic

Practical advice and useful hints for anyone wanting to start their own comic or are struggling with one they've already started.


Recent Comments

@skyangel: yeah its pretty nice, makes making comics and planning faster haha :) wish i knew that 9 years ago. Just following manuscript makes me confused.
@Linn: Hi Linn, sorry for the late response but I've only just checked my emails! It's really interesting seeing someone else's planning, I'm so familiar with my own story that my timeline feels more like a reminder to make sure I don't miss out anything. I like the way how you've sorted the panels in the second link, I imagine you already had an idea of what art was going in those as you laid it out.
I've used your method (ill publish this since its already a finished chapter),
and I've made my own method by scetching and doing small instructions beforehand, like in a play.
It usually looks something like this without text:
(not trashed but still very far in)
Hi Linn, yea I totally agree, you have to do what's comfortable for you. when I did chapter one the skeleton was very simply:

1/girl meets girl
2/ misunderstandings and confusion
3/ Sarah gets her girl.

It was so simple that it enabled me to adhere all my ideas for the middle part without stressing how anything would fit and as you probably noticed it was mostly a set of cliffhangers whereby one worry was resolved and another one set up!

With later chapters I've still always used basic timelines for each character but because the number of characters grew it was clear they would have to criss cross each others at times or people would not always be where they were supposed to be to interact. It's interesting you mention the dildo scene as looking at the page above it reminds me that the orig scene was greatly extended but for some reason I changed it to fit with Janey's mum coming to dinner. Looking at the ideas above I can see several that I never used but also more importantly are many that were kept on hold and then reused later on.

The nicest thing about having even a basic skeleton is that it doesn't have to be rigid, if better ideas come along while writing it can be changed and adapted to keep all the best scenes still. I've had quite a few comic scenes where I've changed my mind about them at the last minute and then regretted it. Often it's time though and sometimes it's doubt but the worst is when I know the idea upsets the rest of the script and just has to be abandoned. The most cringey placement in Chapter 5 was Sarah explaining transgender to the Cranberry kids. I was happy that the page was a single standalone joke which could be slotted in anywhere but it's intended position was moved several times until eventually I felt I had no choice other than to use it or lose it but I think most readers would agree it's final position feels a little awkward.

The ending to the whole SS story has changed four times since the start, often going back to the original plan and then changing again but during the 'Weekend at Lucy's' section now running I was unhappy with the orig Laura story so kept rethinking it and eventually a storyline snapped into place that rippled right across the time line and just felt too good to resist. But even though it's caused a drastic change to the last part of the journey it still arrives at my intended ending in a way that feels far better than originally written, I think this is the comfort of working to some sort of structure however basic, just to make sure there always is a destination for the story to head towards.

You've got a strong storyline and a good structure too so although maybe not written down it's clear to see your comic moves in certain directions and that's so important to the reader too otherwise it feels like pages of filler material that are just buying time while the writer trys to work out what to do next!
Just had to go back to this thing its so inspirational.
I tried doing this in the start of sweets and giggles... its such a great idea, i think people find their own way of doing stories.
I've come to the conclusion that writing random manuscripts (love writing) and then putting small sections together works for me, its alot of work but it also flesh out the characters so much.
I've got so many manuscripts and stories now, obviously i dont draw them all but i love having them in case i want to re-use it later. I'm just curious but do you write manuscripts for your comic or do you just draw?

Last thing, that one particular 'arc' you got with Sarah climbing onto the roof and getting the dildo back and then May finds her and asks if shes going to a fancy dress party ....OH GOD YOU SHOULD'VE DONE THAT. But you did something a bit like it with Janeys mom.
@skyangel: Oh is my face red. That was supposed to be "writing as you go", not, "writing as you". Still, you're right about writing beyond your experiences.

I get the whole "write/draw what you know", but one does need to branch out eventually. It's why my characters don't all just wear t-shirts & jeans anymore.
@kidcthulhu: Your welcome Kidcthulhu. I have found that in my youth my world was very small in that most of my time was spent at home or school so it was hard to write about anything beyond those experiences but as you get older, travel more, meet many more different people it's amazing how much information and bits of conversation collect up in your mind to explore in your writing.
The internet is probably the greatest ref tool ever for inspiration and exploring ideas, something I never had in my teens!
This is the first time I've seen a guide like this that didn't come off condescending. Seriously, a lot of "how to do comics" books talk down to the reader A LOT.

The section about the pitfalls of "writing as you" rang especially true with me, as my first real attempt at a comic died after 36 pages, many of which were stalled talky "um, so now what?" scenes.

If I ever want to branch out from my one-a-day gag comic, there's plenty of gleaned from you here. So thank you ^_^
@EleanorA: Hi Elsa, thanks for your comment. Yeah I would never advise anyone to even start doing the art until they have at least some idea of how the story ends. Even now if I foresee a stumbling block in the writing and think 'I'll sort that later' it never works! I reach the stumbling block and find myself just as stuck as I was when I first noticed it so it's crucial to be able to backtrack and change something at an earlier stage before the pages become finalised. The plan you see above is never cast in stone. I start following this plan like stepping stones but on route new ideas cause old ones to be bypassed or even re-routed, it is really just a safety net to make sure that all my ideas do work without causing major problems later on. :)
I have to say I really admire anyone who can keep up with their comic. I'm still struggling to get mine started, but I can imagine the dedication it takes to run as long as even a hundred pages.

This guide has proven extremely helpful as I try to work from storyline idea to story to actual comic pages.
@Linn: Hi Linn, yea it really is. It wasn't until I reached the fourth chapter and had a lot more characters that I realised how useful the planner is as new ideas were popping up all the time I was doing the early pages and working them in often meant making small changes which worked really well with other characters in the story. And having the stories direction set in mind well ahead of time avoids all the brow beating and frustration later on trying to get around knots in the script that can bring it to a grinding halt.
This advice is so useful! I really enjoy your step by step comic-story plan!
Its easy to get stuck while making stories, either if it is comics or even in writing books. Its nice to have a plan ahead :)
A Quick Summary
This is the first part of a small guide I've been putting together to hopefully help anyone whose thinking about making a webcomic get started. Obviously everyone has there own approach to writing the storyline and doing the art so this is really more about how I work on my own comic (as you may have noticed by now ;) but this method has been honed over several years and works well enough for me in helping me to avoid some of the pitfalls other comics have fallen into over time.