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Old 03-25-2016, 09:02 PM   #1
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Default Thinking about making a Graphic Novel: Advice?

As it says in the title, I'm thinking about making a graphic novel and would like advice.

In art college after I return from the Easter holidays, we're doing a project which basically, you can do whatever you want. I've got two main ideas right now, make an outfit and try and get into the fashion side of things, or more realistically make a graphic novel or comicbook of some kind. I've got plenty of good characters and stories to use so it feels a shame those going to waste on online forums, and seeing I'll have all this time and possibly resources at my disposal, now seems like a good time to get a start with that.

I know what general story and character's I'd like to use, the advice I want from you guys is how to actually make the thing. Like any advice on how to storyboard it exactly? The main thing though is how to physically make it, how to do the art, what tools to use and how to add speech in. Style wise I either want to use a similar painty style to that used on "A Serious House on a Serious Earth" and possibly Simon Bisley's issue on Batman/Judge Dredd, or the other style would be a more traditional comicbook two-tone then coloured in, sort of either like Batman: Year One or from Golden-Bronze Age Comics. What would you guys suggest? Even if I don't do this for my college project, some time in the future in my own time I could possibly make this.
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Old 03-25-2016, 10:53 PM   #2
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Don't.
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Old 03-25-2016, 11:05 PM   #3
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Thanks for the useful advice, much appreciated.
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Old 03-26-2016, 01:54 AM   #4
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You're barkin up the wrong tree Captain.

JohnnyV is the poster here who's made a graphic novel
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Old 03-26-2016, 01:11 PM   #5
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You're barkin up the wrong tree Captain.

JohnnyV is the poster here who's made a graphic novel
Yeah, I seem to recall. I was just wondering if anyone else here had...JohnnyV doesn't really come online much these days does he? :/
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Old 11-19-2017, 08:03 PM   #6
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The best approach is to write it backward. Say an issue will be 20 pages long. Then have a splash panel on Pages 1 and 20, and make each scene two pages long. The two splash panels don't count as pages. Thus the first scene will appear on Pages 1, 2 and 3, and the last scene on Pages 18, 19 and 20.

Write the last scene first, starting with the splash panel on Page 20 and working backward to the first panel on Page 18. Then start the next to last scene, on the last panel on Page 17 and working backward to the first panel on Page 16. And so on.

The storytelling process will unfold a lot better if you'll divide the pages into a six-panel grid, but you might have been indoctrinated by "decompressed storytelling" and blown-up panels to resist that idea. Try it though and see whether it works well. I guarantee it will.
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Old 11-20-2017, 12:26 AM   #7
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The building blocks of a movie, a television episode or a comic book are the scenes. Many aspiring writers don't know that. In the scenario I've described above, a 20-page comic would have nine scenes.

Write out what will happen in each scene, then write the panels backward. If you have trouble with a particular scene, then leave that one alone for a while and skip to the next scene.
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Old 03-07-2020, 11:27 PM   #8
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The best approach is to write it backward. Say an issue will be 20 pages long. Then have a splash panel on Pages 1 and 20, and make each scene two pages long. The two splash panels don't count as pages. Thus the first scene will appear on Pages 1, 2 and 3, and the last scene on Pages 18, 19 and 20.

Write the last scene first, starting with the splash panel on Page 20 and working backward to the first panel on Page 18. Then start the next to last scene, on the last panel on Page 17 and working backward to the first panel on Page 16. And so on.

The storytelling process will unfold a lot better if you'll divide the pages into a six-panel grid, but you might have been indoctrinated by "decompressed storytelling" and blown-up panels to resist that idea. Try it though and see whether it works well. I guarantee it will.
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The building blocks of a movie, a television episode or a comic book are the scenes. Many aspiring writers don't know that. In the scenario I've described above, a 20-page comic would have nine scenes.

Write out what will happen in each scene, then write the panels backward. If you have trouble with a particular scene, then leave that one alone for a while and skip to the next scene.
Quite a while ago since I posted that thread, I ended up going lazy and just designing a front cover rip. I've on and off not too seriously thought about writing comics tbh, unlikely to happen but i might dick about with something sometime.

Not heard that technique before but it makes sense, thanks Trey. One thing I was concerned about was trying to figure out how many panels, scenes etc. to do to fit a specific page count and how to time cliffhangers to make people want to turn the page so that could end up useful in that. Still I doubt I'll ever get around to it, but a nice mental exercise nonetheless.
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Old 05-31-2021, 03:06 PM   #9
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Wow, I just saw this.

When I said to write backward, that mainly means on each page. Decide what you're going to put in the last panel of a page, then fill in the preceding panels accordingly.

The only cliffhanger page you need is on Page 22, which is designed to make people buy the next issue. I'm speaking of course about single issues that would be collected as a TPB.

I recommend that you submit a completed first issue to a publisher whose comics are creator-owned. The first issue is a bitch because of all the designing that has to be done. After that it gets easier.

There are tutorials online about how to add speech balloons in Photoshop and I suppose other software. You can find free fonts online that look good in all caps.

If you're going to work with someone else you'll need a Dropbox account because a completed issue will be about 65MB, and is too big to be emailed back and forth while you're working on it.

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Old 06-05-2021, 06:17 PM   #10
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Oh, and make them an offer they can't refuse. Make it so good they can't say no.
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Old 06-14-2021, 12:36 AM   #11
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Plotting pages and laying everything out has been the hardest for me. There's the Marvel way of doing things which relies more on the artist to tell the story panel by panel, but if you have particular imagery in mind you gotta make sure the page layouts work with the written words. I'm trying to do a lot of my own page layouts and breakdowns, while getting a better/faster artist for the finishes. Taking a bit of inspiration from manga and older work of Jim Starlin with the page layouts.

For me I try not to get too word heavy like Bendis, and at the same time you don't want to cover up the art when it's really popping.
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Old 06-14-2021, 01:03 AM   #12
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^I canít say this for a fact (maybe someone else here can), but I get the impression that the Marvel Method is a relic of the Stan Lee years and is pretty much gone even at Marvel. Whenever I hear behind-the-scenes stuff (admittedly I hear more from DC) even the comics where artists have heavy input still work from a pretty detailed script (not a mere outline).
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Old 06-14-2021, 01:38 AM   #13
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^I canít say this for a fact (maybe someone else here can), but I get the impression that the Marvel Method is a relic of the Stan Lee years and is pretty much gone even at Marvel. Whenever I hear behind-the-scenes stuff (admittedly I hear more from DC) even the comics where artists have heavy input still work from a pretty detailed script (not a mere outline).
If you write a creator-owned comic, you can do it any way you want to. As long as it sells, that is.

But the fancy panels just camouflage a lack of story. They were fine when an issue cost 25 cents or less, but nowadays you need to advance the story significantly in each issue. An issue where nothing happens except for fancy panels is an invitation for readers to drop the comic.
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Old 06-29-2021, 07:33 PM   #14
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And prepare it so thoroughly that you even have the theme song picked out for the television series.
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