I Don't Get It... The Importance Of Understanding Comics
|LENNY LIBRARY - I'm sure you've all been here before. You're casually browsing
through The Neopian Times, and you come across the comic section. You click the
first link, waiting for a laugh. You read through the comic. You read it again.
Its just no use. You don't get it. Don't worry, you're not the only one. Many
comics make it through, comics that nobody understands. Hopefully, this guide
will help aspiring comic writers and maybe throw out a few tips for the experienced.
Although its not as obvious as a story, all comics should have a plot. The
plot in a comic should lead up to the humour. Write down any ideas you have
for a comic, whether you use them or not ( Just watch out, Neopets have some
strict guidelines to follow, since it is obviously a family site). Soon, you
should have a few ideas of what you would like to base it around. Write out
a rough plot, adding some dialogue for your characters. Here is an example;
Scorchio and tree Scorchio talks to tree, 'Hello tree' Scorchio walks into
tree Meerca falls on Scorchio It's a good idea to show some of your close friends
or family your plot. Obviously it won't be as humourous as the finalized version,
but they can at least give you an honest opinion on it, so you do not waste
your precious comic drawing time on something nobody will understand. If you
are already confident with your plot you may not want to show it to anyone.
Once you have finalized your plot, and are happy with it, it's time to begin
creating your comic.
Roughing it out
Drawing is a large part of the comic itself. The facial expressions and the
poses will help bring your plot across much stronger. That is not to say you
must be a professional artist, just that it is important to keep the characters
feelings and body language in mind when drawing up your comic. The images help
give your comic its personality. It is always a good idea to draw up a rough
sketch of your comic, using the plot you have previously created, and putting
in the dialogue. Try and draw within your boundaries, if you can't draw Lupes
(*cough*) then pick a different pet. If your plot revolves around them, then
maybe you should think up another plot. Since comics are still images, exaggeration
is always good in your panels. If your pet is confused, be sure the emotion
comes across strong. See if the dialogue fits with the characters faces, and
there is room for the dialogue itself. Again, show somebody your sketch. The
plot should be much clearer by now, and if people don't understand, now is a
good time to adjust. It is also a good idea to show more than one person. If
one person understands, they could be in a minority.
When you feel happy with your rough sketch, you can begin the real thing.
The real thing
Firstly, you must decide how you will make the comic. There are usually three
main types people go for...
Number one - People sometimes draw their comic on paper, outline it and colour
it in using crayons or felt tips, then scan it. These are a rarity, but can
be very attractive. Often the artist uses a font for the dialogue.
Number two - Some comics are drawn and inked (outlined) on paper, then scanned
and coloured in by computer. To do this, it's a good idea to be able to use
your paint program well, and have a good knowledge of its applications.
Number three - Finally, the most common are those drawn completely on computers.
The comic is drawn, lined and coloured using a paint program. Like number one,
this takes no great knowledge, but it does require being able to draw with a
None of the above are better than each other, it just depends on which you
are most comfortable with. I personally enjoy drawing my comics completely on
the computer, although it can be quite time consuming.
Once you have your method chosen, its time to draw it up. Drawing the outline
first will make colouring much easier. Keep your lines neat and as accurate
as possible, using any tools necessary. Try not to use a copy paste method for
your characters, it looks much nicer if you draw each one separately.
Then its time to colour! Try and make the colours clear and bright, if you're
colouring it that is. Some comics look fine in just black and white, usually
the ones which are drawn by hand. But colour is always a nice touch.
Also, make sure it has an interesting background. Backgrounds are essential
in some comics, but not in others. Its a good idea to have a nice one nonetheless.
I usually copy paste my backgrounds. At this stage, your comic is almost completed...
Dialogue is probably the biggest downfall of many comics. Usually the font
is too small, or hand drawn ones have hard-to-read handwriting. When inserting
speech, or locations, or any text for that matter, make sure it is clear and
easy to read. Ask someone to read it out for you. Fonts such as Arial and Verdana
are extremely good fonts to use for clarity. Make sure the background or your
speech bubble contrast with your chosen lettering, or it will not show up clearly.
Black is a common choice. If you have drawn the comic by hand, its a nice touch
to write the dialogue out... but make sure its clear and legible.
Voila! Your easy-to-understand, clear and concise comic is complete! Just
to make sure, show someone the finished product. Ask them if they have any criticisms,
or anything they think worked well. Once you are completely happy with your
finished comic, submit it to firstname.lastname@example.org. Don't forget to put your
username, comic title and your saved comic as an attached file, or upload the
image and link the URL. Remember, if you didn't get in the first time, have
another go. Writing comics is fun, and getting responses telling you how funny
your comic was is even better.