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How to make a comic book?

To create your own comic all you need are sketching pens and paper and visual imagination. You could use a computer too. To make your own book of graphic stories start here.

Think up a story

Your story needs characters, a setting, and a problem. It must answer the questions. Who? What? When? Where? Why? How? Create a hero who has to achieve a goal and a villain who blocks the hero's every move. Create a story world that you can draw.

Draw a character

A comic hero can be male or female, hero describes their role in the story. What does your character look like? Use the whole sheet of paper to create a character, until you get it right. Then practice drawing the character on a postcard or small envelope.

Create a visual world

Setting is what the story world is usually called. The world of space is easy to draw because of its icons - spaceships and astronauts. A superhero story like Superman or Spiderman is often set in a cityscape with its high rise visual perspectives. War story comic books are set on the battlefield or in aeroplanes fighting.

Think about page layout

Some comicbook pages are divided into nine frames, three across and three down, with margins between frames both across and down. Others are divided into two columns of four frames. These frames can be disrupted by an expert comic creator, combining two, three or even all the frames into one.

Turn your story into a script

This shows three things, (1) dialogue - what each character says, (2) action - a description of what happens in each frame, and (3) continuity text which will move the story forward. Then you can start sketching out the pictures in the frames.

Design the front cover

Have a huge dramatic image on the cover to introduce the main character and her or his problem. Design titles and headlines to fit around the action. Even in black and white comics, the cover is usually in colour.

What's in each frame?

Draw the story frame by frame. Leave spaces to place speech balloons. Rectangular slots and space beneath the frame are where you place explanations or continuity information e.g 'When night falls...' or 'Next day...' or '... little did he know what was around the corner...' A commercial comic will have a professional letterer to write text for each frame. You can do this on a computer.

Using a computer

Scan the finished images into a computer. Use callouts from the insert menu/shapes on your PC to make speech balloons and drag them into place on each frame. Decide which font to use. Now you can print your comic onto paper or save it as in portable document format (pdf) ready for your readers.

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