Top Tips on How to Write a Comic Book for Kids
Using Your Artistic Skill to Add Fun to Learning
Kids love colorful images. They are drawn to them like how bees are drawn to flowers. If you’re an illustrator or a cartoonist, you have the skill and ability to give kids what they want. However, there is an even better idea. Why not incorporate their interest with learning?
Kids who read comics are more likely to have better reading comprehension and speed compared to those who don’t. According to Sierra Filucci, a mother of two and an Executive Editor of www.commonsensemedia.org, her son became the top reader in his class because comic books were introduced to him at a very early age, even before he could read. Progressively, through the comic books, the child learned how to read, pronounce, and understand the language, as well as identify with the comic characters.
If you worry that you may not be as talented as a writer as you are as an illustrator, these five tips will help you find your way:
Look for plot ideas in books, movies, and the internet.
Not everyone can be a talented writer and artist at the same time. If you doubt your writing skills, it doesn’t mean that you can’t fulfill your dream of writing a comic book. If you don’t have an idea for your plot yet, there are many sources from where you can get your inspiration: books, movies, and the internet.
Before you start seeking for inspiration, you must first decide on your story. What will your story be about? With comic books, you won’t have to worry about getting into details as you will have illustrations to explain your story too. You just have to have a basic idea of what it is about and where you’re heading with it.
Read books, watch movies, and browse the internet for anything that is related to the concept you have planned for your comic book. The more you do, the better your plot ideas will be. You’ll know what your characters are supposed to do, know how your story is going to end, and many more. Are you planning to write a comic book with a new breed of super heroes in it? Then find resources that will tell you about super heroes, super powers, villains, etc.
Keep in mind that you must not copy other people’s ideas. Make them your inspiration instead. Before you start to write a comic book, always think about how you can improve the ideas that have been used over and over.
Start with an outline, not a script.
Writing a comic script can become more difficult than it is if you don’t make an outline of your story first. This is because an outline will serve as your guide when it’s time to
write your script. It will help you plan your story’s beginning, middle, and the end. Whether you are writing a stand-alone comic, or a series, an outline must be made.
While you create your outline, you must also consider on the format that you will be using. Decide on how the number of panels that you are going to have. For example, the popular 1-row comic strip, Garfield, has 3-4 panels. Keep the sizes of your rows uniformed. Have each of them in the same height and width, regardless of whether you are going to print your comic book or upload it online.
Start sketching your ideas.
As an illustrator or cartoonist, you already have the artistic talent in you. You have the option to create the illustrations for your book first and see where they will take you.You can write the script later. Whenever an idea for the script comes to mind while you are working on your visuals, write it down for later use. Don’t be afraid to go random. You’ll have a lot of time to organize your ideas once your illustrations are done. However, if you prefer to write your script before you create the illustrations, you can do that too.
While you’re working with your illustrations, you must also plan each panel – what’s going to happen where, which character(s) should be at the scene, etc. Also, once it’s time to add the text, keep in mind that the shorter the dialogues in each panel are, the more engaging your comic will be. You don’t need to describe the scenery or what you character’s facial expression is because your readers will see it in your illustrations.
Craft your characters wisely.
One important thing to keep in mind when creating the characters for your comic book, or any book, is to make them someone that readers can
relate to. If you’re going to write a super hero comic book, you’ll typically have a hero and a villain in it. Your readers must be able to identify themselves with any of your characters – may it be in their traits, physical appearance, backstory, flaws, or any concept that you can think of. It is how your readers will get into your story. It is how you will make them feel that they are part of it.
Make your characters ‘real’. Give them goals and dreams, and craft your story in a way that they will do everything to get what they want. Give them imperfections that will make readers sympathize with them. Give them compelling backstories or interests that will make the readers relate to them.
Have a clear plan on where your comic book is heading.
Before you start your first sketch, you must identify what type of comic book would best fit your idea. Here are your options:
It is a collection of short stories – comic stories, that is. You can create a short comic story and give it to someone who’s creating an anthology. You can also make your own anthology of your best works.
- Action Comics
- Fantastic Comics
- Detective Comics
It is still a comic book, but the story is longer and is often already complete when published. Graphic novels have become very popular in the recent years. It takes more time and effort to complete on, so make sure you’re up for the challenge if this is the route you want to follow.
- Anya’s Ghost
- The Dark Night Returns
It is a series of single issue comics that often runs from four to six issues.
- The Overview
- The Killing Joke
Just like the Graphic Novel, it is also just one comic book that tells a finished, complete story. It isn’t as lengthy as Graphic Novels, however.
- Mystery Men
- Batman: Gates of Gotham
- Ozma of Oz
It has no definite end. Readers will not know when or how it will end. They just know that it will probably end… someday.
It is more suitable for comic authors who are well-known in the business.
- Infinity Gauntlet
- Inhumans: Attilan Rising
You can post random comic strips on the web. You can create a blog and use it as a venue for your comics. There are also websites that host web comics. What you need to do is share your works on social media to be able to generate a readership.
- Hark A Vagrant!
- Awkward Zombie
- Doghouse Diaries
So, what’s your comic book going to be? If you already have an idea in mind, learn about the process more by watching this video: