Today, we have a guest blogger who is sharing some knowledge about designing a comic book.  Enjoy!  ~EMP

If you are interested in visual art in any form, it is likely that you spent your childhood admiring the art inside your comic books. For me personally, comics were the first substantial artwork I ever attempted. It wasn’t long before my interests moved to other directions and eventually landed me a career in web design. However, I have not lost my love for comics and the change that has come in light of digital art. Mostly I do this to feed my inner desires, but I figure why not share my knowledge for all of the wannabe’s out there?

Please don’t take that as an insult. We all want to be something. Without those who have knowledge in the field aiding us along the way, it is unlikely that we ever make it to higher grounds.

I am going to outline the first steps to the process. By no means do I claim that by the end of this read you will be a genius or even well-versed in the world of designing comic books. However, what I can tell you is that by the end you will have a basic understanding of the drawing phase of digital comic book design.

As a side note, I recommend you take a look at a free comic book (such as BioWars, a well-designed digital comic book) or two and study the work as you will want examples to help you on your journey.

Study the lines

Upon looking at your favorite comics I am going to recommend you pay attention to the lines, textures and shading. You will see that some lines are broken while others are vibrant. It is imperative that you acknowledge the importance in each stroke as the final outcome could be drastically different if just one line is off.

Let’s give this a shot. Look at one of your samples and pick a spot that grabs your attention. Study that spot and try to draw it. You will first want to do this at a similar scale to the picture you are looking at. When you feel you have done that with some success try a smaller one and a bigger one. Make sure when trying the bigger version you add more detail.

Analyze the Motion

From there you will want to inspect the motion of the comic book. This is essential to the end result as well. You will want to lead viewers to believe that action is happening. Whether you are showing a running motion, flying or even a nice hard punch in the face there are different techniques to use. For this I suggest you check out some detailed guidebooks.

Develop Your Style

This can be broken down into two main categories. Are you interested in serious or fun comical cartoons? Serious cartoons require more intense and serious illustration, where fun filled cartoons tend to be cute with hysterical features.

If you aren’t sure which theme suits your style better give them both a shot and see which one works better. Just remember to find success you will want to have a recognizable style.

Once you have figured those few things out it’s time to really get started. Just remember there are some general guidelines you will need to follow:

  1. Storyboarding is essentially a rough draft or outline of your story.
  2. Paneling is the creation of the scenes. These will be distributed across the pages. They will contain drawings and text. The size is of the panel will depend on the scene. The more dramatic the bigger.
  3. Effects are used to draw the readers in and emphasize the panels. Popular effects are zoom in and zoom out.
  4. Dialogue bubbles are incorporated to show thoughts. Just remember you don’t want to take up too much panel space with bubbles.

Well, there you have it – the basics of digital comic design. Go ahead, grab your iPad or tablet and get to work!

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