Three Easy Ways to Create a Perfect Comic Book Page
A Guide on How to Make a Comic Book Page: From Script to Print
Along with the significant number of contemporary adaptation studies, the least appreciated comic book method has now found a place in line with canonical works of literature that develop critical reading, than merely providing entertainment (Beineke, 2011).
Moreover, a number of researches support that comic book adaptation aids to visual literacy among children. For instance, Leone Tiemensma, an expert in World Literature, found out in her study that comics plays a significant role in motivating reluctant readers, engaging children in reading, developing the comprehension and language skills of second-language learners, and teaching visual literacy.
In connection with the studies above, I am inspired to share my knowledge on how to make a comic book page. Remember, there is no standard in creativity. So, the tips that I’m going to share to you are based on my personal preferences.
Step 1: Conceptualization
The first step in creating a perfect comic book page is picking out a concept of your story or script. It literally means brainstorming ideas about the kind of story you want to depict in your comic. Conceptualization involves constructing the characters, developing the plot and the setting, and other story elements.
Most stories have characters modeled after these three archetypes: the hero/heroine, the villain, and the love interest. Archetypes are combinations of personality and character traits that people will relate to. If you are a beginner, it is best that you study the archetypes that are suitable in your story.
The timeline of your story should be precise. You should know the time and place where your story is taking place. Whether it is happening at a jungle in broad daylight or in the city recently attacked by a storm. You should have a clear idea as to how the illustrations should “look” and “feel.”
The plot is the underlying sequence of events in a story. You should know the pacing, action, motion, and closure of the story. Keeping your reader’s interest is important. So, conflict is one thing you should be never left out in your story. And remember to put a resolution of the conflict. After all, happy endings are kids’ favorite.
Step 2: Layout
Comic layout is as important as the storyline. A creditable comic book page layout can capture and hook reader’s attention. If you fail to lead on readers through your layout, it’s about time to master the art of maintaining their eyes on your work.
Before you proceed, you should note that the standard size of a comic book page paper is 11 x 17 inches and the standard dimension of your draw space is 10 x 15 inches.
Panels should be embedded strategically throughout the story. Panel sizes depend on the significance of the scene you are aiming. For example, bigger frames are appropriate than smaller ones for dramatic scenes. There is a variety of free comic book page templates online that will give you better ideas on which type of panel you’d like to use.
To avoid visual confusion from one panel to the next, you should establish a focal point in each panel. Remember to guide the reader’s eye from left to right to avoid disrupting reader’s concentration and focus. Lead them to the logical sequence of the story. Moreover, in designing your comic book, you should not forget to leave a room for your dialogue.
Speech Bubble Placement
Another way of subconsciously forcing your reader to follow a direction is through the placement of speech bubbles with respect to the character’s line of sight, position, and movements. Force the reader’s eye to move along with the horizontal axis from left to right, while maintaining a reader’s active interest in your story. I personally like speech bubbles for smaller kids.
Step 3: Inking, Coloring, and Lettering
What is the first thing that you see when you look at a comic? It isn’t the story, the lettering, or the line work; those things take time to read and understand. It’s the color, which give you an idea of the setting and the mood of the story.
Inking is the phase where you clean-up your drawings and emphasize or intensify your illustrations. Top inkers recommend brushes, but it really depends on what you’re comfortable with.
Coloring and Effects
Proper color selection and consistency can make or break a scene. The first thing you do when coloring is to define the light source. Then, you can drop complimentary shadows highlights to add warmth and interest in areas where you want to lead the eye, without distracting the main elements.
Lettering matters as well. You may have a wonderful story or magnificent illustrations. But, if your lettering is poor, you can’t expect people to read your comic. Don’t worry; you don’t need to hand-letter your comic. With a vast resource of comic book page fonts in the web, you may install and use some of them for free.
There! I hope this guide is helpful to you. Be well on your way to becoming a master visual storyteller.