My little space on the web where I blog about comics and comic books, drawing and illustration, graphic design, writing stories, and a few tips and tutorials from time to time about them. I'll also share bits about movies, theater, music, (maybe even cooking!) and whatever strikes my fancy.
How To Make Comics: A Summary of Steps for Comics Story Development
Below are the steps that summarize story development for graphic novels and comics limited series. It collapses everything that we've talked about in this series of blog posts that began with How To Create a Graphic Novel Story From Scratch Part One. If you haven't read the series of blog posts, it's advisable that you do so.
STEP 1: If you're starting from scratch: Take a character, any character you've created, and follow him through his ordinary life by listing a series of Story Events.
STEP 2: As you list Story Events, identify a Disturbance that will rock your character's ordinary life and make him decide to fix it. (List the Disturbance as another Story Event.)
STEP 3: Continue to list Story Events after the Disturbance until...
STEP 4: ...you can jump all the way forward and deduce a Possible Ending to the story. If you can't find an Ending yet, continue adding Story Events to what you have so far until something inspires you.
STEP 5: Based on what you've done so far, and how much time and money you have, determine how many issues you would need to complete the story. (In the example below, we have six, but you can have more or less.) As much as possible, the Disturbance should take place in the first chapter or issue (or at most the beginning of the second), so that the reader will immediately know what the story will be about.
STEP 6: Fill up the chapters or issues with Reveals that your character needs to learn or discover, plus the Challenges he will have to overcome. Adjust your Ending as much as you want to make sure it cleanly connects with your story's beginning. You can even go as far as adjusting the beginning of your story if you find your ending too cool to change.
STEP 7: Now that you've decided on an Ending, take note how each issue or chapter will end in a cliffhanger. Cliffhangers are usually an intriguing Reveal, the beginning of a seemingly difficult Challenge, or critical point in the Challenge itself.
STEP 8: Let's zoom in on a chapter/issue. Since you know the Challenges and Reveals that will be presented, list down a series of Story Events for this chapter/issue. Don't worry yet about page count or pacing. What's important right now is that you get the Story Events down pat. You can even think about the dialogue that will accompany the Story Events.
STEP 9: When you're done listing the Story Events, its time to think about compression and decompression. If you're working with 20 pages per chapter/issue, with one Story Event equaling one comic book panel, which Story Events do you think you can delete, combine, or expand? Which Story Events would benefit from fast pacing, or slow pacing? It's always best to start by cleaning up the first chapter/issue, deleting/combining/expanding those Story Events as necessary.
STEP 10: Write the basic script.
And there you have it. Building a graphic novel story from scratch. Is this all you need to know? No, there's a whole lot more! But you can already start fiddling with ideas using the above steps.
NEXT: One of the first concerns that come up when it comes to building a comics story from scratch is, "I can't think of a Disturbance! What will my story be about?!" This concern can be addressed by Backstory, which is everything that happened before your story even started. By knowing the background of your character and your world, you'll have the necessary ammo to help you make your story more interesting. But there's also one more important benefit of Backstory. That comes in the next part.
There are a lot of people who want to make comics, or have tried to make comics but end up frustrated. I certainly struggled some when I started out, and it's no secret that there have been bumps on the road now and then.
I'm just curious to find out from you: What aspects of making stories and comics do you find yourself struggling with?
If you write your questions in the comments section, I'll see if I could answer it.
I'm opening up my schedule to accept art and design commissions! This is to ensure that I don't end up as a starving artist. Har har. :-)
While I prefer to draw feminine forms and poses, I'm also open to drawing male characters. However, I won't be able to accommodate highly detailed characters (like Swamp Thing, or Michael Bay's Transformers designs). The images above show my default art style. It's similar to the styles of Frank Cho, Adam Hughes, and Terry Dodson.
I don't accept caricatures or portraits. I can't guarantee that I'll be able to copy accurately.
Below are the details for art commissions. These are rates for non-commercial artwork.
(If you want me to illustrate something for commercial use, please fill up this design inquiry form instead.) TRADITIONAL MEDIUM (for Philippine Residents only) Format 16cm x 25 cm Uncolored (black inks and grey) Canson watercolor paper or Bristol Board (depending on availability)
It's been more than six months since I posted. I blame the time-sucking black hole that is social media. :-)
Here are some of the highlights from last year:
1) "I Heart Davao," the 40-episode television series aired on GMA 7. I was given the opportunity to write a number of episodes for that show, but I insisted that I could only do ten. My primary reason was that I had never written for television before, so I didn't want to dive headfirst into unfamiliar territory. Our headwriter was Chris Martinez, and the writing team had me, Dwein Baltazar, and Eljay Castro Deldoc. Our director was Marlon Rivera.
I wouldn't consider my experience as representative of what really goes on in television writing in the Philippines, but it was an eye-opener. I never imagined that I'd be able to write more than two hours worth of script (five episodes) in two weeks. It was thrilling, to say the least, seeing how the script was brought to life in the finished product.