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Kenny Cappuchino's avatar

Anxious Lunatic

I'm wondering how everyone goes about planning the comics they're making/will be making. I tend to inquire about this from a lot of comic makers, writers, and artists because, while what they are able to create is amazing, I find the process of getting to the creation (from inspiration to character designing/concept art and script writing) to be fascinating. Kinda like the behind scenes you see for awesome movies; it's difficult to realize how much goes into something until you see past the final product.

My own planning process started extremely messily and impatiently, with little notes and details scribbled everywhere from my sketchbook to in the margins of school worksheets cuz I just wanted to DO something. But I've been getting it more organized and less rushed after seeing how some other artists do it (These are just a few examples I know of, I'd appreciate being linked to see some more if you have them :3 )

Now, I have a comic script specific sketchbook and a notebook for more detailed notes. But I'm still curious about how other people go through their process so I made this post. How thorough are you in your planning? Is every single page of your comic planned out with sketches of panels, or do you visualize how it's going to go and roll with it?

If anything, I hope this helps other people when they think about plots and developing concepts. I know from experience that artists can create characters they love so much and just want to throw them into a situation without thought (I did this myself a few times in both writing and comics before realizing, 'Well s**t; this isn't working' xD ). Sometimes, just jumping into it can help with short, practice comics, but on the long term, it doesn't seem like a good idea...
Kaxen's avatar

Dapper Dabbler

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Usually draw a random character, then suddenly decide I want to do a story with that character. Alternatively, some trope is irritating the s**t out of me and I want to use it somehow (90% of the time, it involves vampires...).

Then I will doodle along for somewhere between one and six months. If my story is historical themed, I've probably watched more documentaries than is sensible during this time and spent a lot of time googling when the zipper was invented and whether the Manchu had ice skating and how the FBI works or whatever weird junk pops into my head.

Then I will talk myself into a comic.

I will jot down story notes and plot points.

I thumbnail and script.

I make a comic... or at least do one page and then give up... sweatdrop
Lucentas's avatar

Hygienic Humorist

My process varies from comic to comic; I'll touch on my three current projects here.

- For Adventures of Mitch, my writer and I had an extended brainstorming session some years ago where we just sat and wrote down silly ideas for a webcomic we weren't sure we were ever going to do. We also occasionally just come up with new ideas while we talk, and she writes everything down in a notebook dedicated to the project. She's responsible for going through those notes and weaving everything into a coherent narrative with depth. The day before we update, she gives me a short summary of the page in one or two paragraphs (basically "they go here, they do this, she says this and he says this, maybe show this" wink . I read the summary and start formulating the page layout in my head, so in the morning when I actually start drawing it I usually have a pretty good idea of how I want everything to look. And then I draw the page.

Also I'm bad and usually don't do concept art beforehand unless I'm in a doodling mood anyway, but I usually tend to make character reference sheets and such after the fact.

- For TRAINER Wants to Battle!, I play Pokemon Blue in short spurts (usually an area/town at a time) and talk to/battle with every NPC I possibly can. I try not to force the humor, just think of my natural reactions to/interpretations of their dialogue, and I write these reactions in script form (with directorial cues as needed) on a notepad. Then, whenever I have some free time and feel like drawing more strips, I work off of the scripts, sometimes tweaking things slightly to make the writing tighter.

- Knights of the Old Republic: The Comic started out as my reactions to the game, which I would simply sketch in my sketchbook and scan on occasion. After the first few were online, a friend of mine suggested that I make finished versions of them. I did, and they took off. I've run out of ideas of late, though, so I'm trying to finish up the few sketches I have left. However, I've also gotten a lot of comic ideas from fans, and I try to find ways to use those (and tweak the humor as I see fit) as often as possible.
tuna yo's avatar

Eloquent Explorer

I am that sketchbook jotter-downer. I'm just not nearly an organized enough person to have a "specific" sketchbook for comic content (I'd probably lose it), which is a little bit difficult for me when I'm trying to remember what happens next in the comic, or even the basic rules of the universe...

when I used to write science fiction, a lot of research went into what I was doing, but butterpaws in cattylan isn't supposed to be anything serious... it's more a project I'm following thru with for the SAKE of following thru with something. I have a habit of starting things and never finishing...

I've been forcing myself to write pretty detailed scripts in order to get pacing down and not leave anything out, and I do my storyboards in the margins of the script (which I print out - I have a problem with text on a screen)
then I sketch the panels out in SAI, print that... and ink by hand. scan it in again, add colours and tones, and voila. comic page.
Xiam's avatar

Anxious Humorist

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Uh... for me, I just start with an idea. However vague it is. Sometimes it's even just a title, or just a sort of in-the-mind shot of a character, or scenery. Or a character in scenery. Or some scenario that I'd love to see. Then I expend on that.

Self-indulgent example: Power Rush. I started with the idea of some bizarre sort of Scott Pilgrim thing. The main cahracter just charges up his fist with power and punches the hell out of bad guys. That was it, that's all I had. Then I started to expand upon him (Milo) and his friends, and the scenario in which he has this power. So now I've got a comic series to run on.

It's weird, the actual character designs usually come last just before I actually start the comic.
Inu Harrlance's avatar

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For me I have so many characters walking around in my head for possible stories but I can never pinpoint how to make an overall plot with them in it. The one I have now I am debating on keep drawing it or scraping it. All I can say is try forcing yourself to make each page. Because at some point you are going to run into a problem or become so busy with life you forget to draw. Do not be like me and forget to draw a page for month. (going on two months now). Oh, Never let your ideas get stale. If that happens take a break and find some inspiration. last but not least do not change too much of your story to the point it gets too complicated to work with. What I mean is keep the story and plot simple enough where you can handle i and can still throw a plot twist in it. It happened to me once and I ended up paying dearly for it. Good luck everyone in you all's own stories because making one is not easy. smile
HanaeX's avatar

Demonic Bloodsucker

For me it starts with randomly coming up with a story and sort of playing it in my head. In the story the names also come up and then I decide when I have time to write out the whole story. I make this big a** summary with the most biggest and important details in it. Then I make a section for the characters and start writing up their names, ages, interests etc.
When I have the time I'll draw them. But for now I'm at around 11 stories and still haven't written all the summaries, haha.

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