The Best Tools to Create Your Own Comic
By Dion Harris, Pop Culture Classroom Instructor
There are so many reasons to create your own comics – career aspirations, social and emotional learning, literacy building, the love of art and storytelling. And there’s even more resources to help you do so!
Creating your own comics will require a diverse skillset.
But, with practice, you’ll soon find improvements with each of those skills.
Writing for Comics
As a visual story-telling medium, comic creation will require both writing and drawing abilities. However, writing is the more important of the two. You read that right: good writing is actually more important than good drawing in a comic!
Writing Resources to Create Your Own Comics
- Break into Fiction (Mary Buckham & Dianna Love)
- How to Write a Novel Using the Snowflake Method (Randy Ingermanson)
- Understanding Comics: the Invisible Art (Scott McCloud)
All three of these books are important tools to have in your arsenal for different reasons.
While both Break into Fiction and How to Write a Novel Using the Snowflake Method teach you how to build a powerful story, they do so through very different methods. I’ve listed both books so you can find what works best for you.
Break into Fiction focuses on the outlining method of creating a compelling story. How to Write a Novel Using the Snowflake Method uses – you got it – The Snowflake Method, which can be a bit more intuitive for some learners.
The third resource, Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art, is where you will begin to bridge the gap between writing and illustrating, find invaluable information on writing stories specifically for comics, and learn about cohesively connecting your words to your imagery.
Art Resources for Comics
On the drawing side of things, you can actually create a successful comic with minimal drawing skills — so long as you have a strong and compelling story. For a great example of this, check out the web comic Order of the Stick where the characters are literally stick figures!
However, if you’re looking to take your story to the next level with breathtaking visuals and improve your artistic skills along the way, here’s a list of free resources you can find online:
- Proko (YouTube Channel)
- Modern Day James (YouTube Channel)
- Sycra (YouTube Channel)
- Sinix Design (YouTube Channel)
- Max Grecke (Twitch Channel)
- IonicArt (Twitch Channel)
- Shilin (Twitch Channel)
- The Etherington Brothers (Blog)
In each of these channels, you’ll find vast resources to use regardless of your particular art style. In addition to these free online resources, here are some helpful books:
- Making Comics (Scott McCloud)
- Framed Ink Series (Marcos Mateu-Mestre)
- Force Dynamic Life Drawing for Animators (Mattesi)
- Color and Light (James Gurney)
- How to Draw (Scott Robertson)
- Successful Drawing (by Andrew Loomis)
While Making Comics is a highly regarded and widely recommended one-stop shop for all the visual techniques you’d want to use in a comic book, each of these books focus on specific aspects that can enhance your work. It’s up to you how deeply you wish to delve into each one!
- Andrew Loomis’ work can be found online for free, as well as in physical books.
- Pop Culture Classroom has our very own free resources to help develop art and writing skills, which you can find here
Now that you have some of the very best tools to create your own comics, get out there and get creative!
Creating Your Own Comics: Getting Started
- When making your comic, it’s important that you follow your passion. Ultimately, this is what will show through in your work, and your audience will feel that passion. This is YOUR comic, and it can be about whatever you want, superheroes, sci-fi, or any concept you want to explore in your story!
- Don’t worry about getting things perfect on your first try. If you wait for perfection, you’ll never finish. Remember; Finished, not perfect!
- Creating comics is tough. The process will challenge and improve your writing skills, vocabulary, research skills, and artistic abilities in ways that might surprise you.
- We’re here to help. Pop Culture Classroom has a growing library of on-demand video classes and other resources to make your comic book vision a reality.
- The more creations you finish, the better you’ll get at your craft. Stay persistent and know that if you put it out there, your audience will find you.
I’ve Created A Comic! Now What?
Luckily, we live in the digital age where you don’t even need a publisher to get your finished comic out to the masses. You can easily publish your comic online via your own website, Tumblr, blog, or twitter feed. There are also other online platforms, such as Webtoons, that are dedicated to hosting comics.
Opportunity for Comics Creators, Grades K-12
Are you an aspiring artist still in school, or know a creator in grades 3-12? Check out our Kids’ Comic Contest.
About the Author
Dion Harris is a self-taught artist and professional creator. Learn more about his work here: https://dionharris.carbonmade.com/