Along with the “Why” is “How”. Like any business you need a plan even if it’s just a few notes jotted down on a napkin.
I’m going to move forward with this blog “as if” you want to create a comic to be shared with readers (Super Fans).
How are you going to accomplish your goal? (We’ll come back to actually setting goals in a future blog.)
Is this adventure going to be a solo act or are you going to put together a studio?
Let’s start with the “Solo” act. If you decide to do the comic completely by yourself you may want to consider doing a webcomic. The reason is that it takes so much time and so many processes to create a professional-looking comic book and I have found out that getting fan reaction helps to keep you motivated. So by doing a webcomic it can help to build a fan base and help you stay excited about your project.
I’ll come back and take a detailed look at webcomics ( I’m research webtoons.com as I write this blog).
Now let’s take a look at all the basic steps to creating a comic book. The following is a list of processes that you need to have some knowledge about:
-Writing a comic book,
-Illustrating (drawing, inking, coloring),
-Production (sizing everything for publication either in print or online, lettering),
-Promotions (social media, setting up at conventions),
-Building a online home,
-Store (some place online to sell your comic and mechandise)
-Updating and staying in touch with your readers.
See? Doing it solo is a piece of cake. Okay, no it isn’t.. but seriously I’m always impressed with creators that take on doing their own projects. Most of them team up with outlets that help them build an audience.
Solo is one of the mentally hardest ways to create a comic book. One of the best ways to stay focused is to set up a schedule to keep your project moving forward so you don’t spend three months writing it and then have no time for illustrating and production.
I have found it’s best to set up a yearly/monthly/weekly schedule. The yearly schedule is basically a publishing plan. What do we want to get finished for the year? This also helps keeps you from over plain what you can expect to finish. If it takes you three months from start-to-finish on a comic book then you won’t get eight issues published in a year. Plan on three issues because there’s always something else that may come along, family, day job, etc. to throw your plan out of whack. When you can publish three issues then you can set your next goal to four. As you work on each issue you will be getting faster at many of the steps, especially at coloring and lettering.
Monthly helps you to reach the yearly goals. If I’m taking three months (at an average of 12 weeks) to create a comic then I need to look at the different steps in the process. I may only want to spend one to two weeks writing so I can have more time to get my illustrations done. So two weeks to write and script, six weeks to illustrate and four weeks to color, letter and do finish production for delivery either to the printer or digital outlets.
How can you shave the time frame down so you can produce more comics per year? What usually takes the most time is the illustration. Depending on your style of artwork whether you’re working in a tradition comic book style, a Manga-style or something of your own, the quicker you can produce your artwork will determine how frequently you can produce a comic book.
Next: setting up a studio.