It isn’t easy to dive into the world of making comic books. No matter if you are looking to write, draw, colour, letter, edit, publish…you name it, there are lessons to be learned before one dives in. Below, you will find resources that explain and give tips about the general process of making comics, specific topics and so much more. Some are print, some come from the web and some are even audio and video, and the information within them is invaluable.
WORDS FOR PICTURES
Written by Brian Michael Bendis
Topics: Writing, pitching, the components of a comic, working with editorial, promotion, business
This book is great, from its engaging content to its easy-on-the-eyes design. Brian Michael Bendis is one of the biggest names in comics and to gleam some of his wisdom is a great thing. Bendis writes this book in a way that is helpful and has no condescension – he’s legit written this to help people looking to learn more about comics and break in. Bendis’ love for the medium is obvious in every single page and it’s not just him doling out advice in this book: he’s brought along a ton of friends. When it’s time to talk art, you get to hear from Mike Allred, David Marquez, Adam Hughes and many more. When chatting about relationships with editors, Tom Brevoort, Sana Amanat, Stephen Wacker and more weigh in, giving readers a look at what the publishers at the big two are looking for. For each section of the book, Bendis has heavyweight players in the world of comics chime in with different perspectives and superb advice. Writing comics may not be what you are looking to do, but no matter what part of comics you want to work in, understanding the process of how they come together and the notes in this book from editors, talent scouts and seasoned pros is more than worth 25 bucks.
Topics: Scripting, penciling, collaborating, pitching, DIY tips, start-to-finish process
Pak and Van Lente are established pros and their combined wisdom in this tome is like solid gold. They’ve written some damn good comics, and what they’ve learned as they’ve grown in the industry is collected for your gain. This book is well laid out and their voices are encouraging. From the start of the book to the end, they take a concept for a comic, “Swordmaids”, and flesh it out, using it is an example as they progress through the process of creating a comic. Their friends are along for the ride, providing more wisdom and thoughts on each part of the process, which highlights nicely just how much goes into a single comic. Swordmaids acts as a great example for how things come together and helps take the words on the page and make them something tangible, for lack of a better term. There is a lot to like in this book and, like Words For Pictures, it is a well crafted, well laid out book with a lot to offer. Pak & Van Lente nailed it, as they usually do.
Topics: Art, art, art…and some more art. Freehand drawing, perspective, inking
John Paul Lowe, instructor at the Savannah College of Art and Design, takes a deep dive into sequential art and storytelling. This one is for the artists, and boy, oh boy, is there ever a ton of info for people looking to get into drawing comics. One of the more interesting sections, in my opinion, revolved around “Visual Problem Solving” and the sections on inking are very detailed. Art from Tradd Moore, Kristian Donaldson and Jorge Corona show the lessons put into practice…and they look damn good. This book covers everything from how to hold equipment properly to advanced techniques, so there’s most likely something for every artist within these pages.
Topics: Concepts, writing, art, colouring, lettering, publishing, marketing
Comfort Love and Adam Withers cover a lot of the same topics that Bendis, Pak & Van Lente do in the books mentioned above, but this book is certainly not a clone in any way. While some of the tips across the three books overlap, each has their own delivery method that works and helps drive some points home. This book is FULL of artwork to highlight what is being discussed and there are Pro Tips from industry heavyweights on the sidebars of pages add real life examples to the theory. This book is jam packed with information, including shortcuts and hot keys even, and lettering and colouring are given a lot of attention. The book even covers promotion of a self-published comic, down to what makes a good interview and some marketing strategies. This is an essential read for anyone looking to publish their own comic.
Topics: Hyper-realistic artwork
While this one isn’t written solely for the purposes of creating comics, the techniques and tips within are certainly applicable to comic book artwork. Crilley’s deal is realism, and many artists have shifted toward that goal with their comics work, especially in the realm of covers. Crilley’s Youtube videos have amassed millions of views so the lessons have been translated to this book, where the use of shadow, textures and reflection is covered with extreme depth and detail. This is an easy to access resource on how to render real world objects with lessons that apply to the comic book page, without a doubt.
Kieron Gillen’s podcast may not have run for over a year, but the information within these interviews is solid gold. Gillen talks with Becky Cloonan, Matt Fraction, Paul Cornell, Rick Remender and many more about single issues, the process of creating them and so many details about the creation of comics. 27 episodes can be found at the link above, filled with both information and entertaining tales of making comics.
WE TALK COMICS
The We Talk Comics podcast (sponsored by Comicosity) has talked process with several of their guests, and one of the newest episodes features Jim Zub (Skullkickers, Samurai Jack), talking about self-publishing.
CBR’s “Where The Hell Am I” by Jason Aaron
Topics: Pitches, and so much more
Jason Aaron is a force to be reckoned with and in 2010/2011 he wrote a column for CBR about his experiences in the industry, breaking in, and everything in between. Of particular note is his column about pitches, as they are seemingly an unholy riddle that all seek to solve:
Gail Simone’s COMICS SURVIVAL KIT
Gail Simone has launched a tumblr dedicated to resources that help people break into comics. It contains a wealth of information from creators, shops, and everyone in between. This is a fabulous resource that is up to date and being updated constantly. It’s worth a bookmark, for sure.
Topics: Economics, and everything else you can think of.
Jim Zub’s website contains an immense amount of information. The sidebar on the right hand side contains links to articles about every part of the comics making process, including the ever-important business side. He’s using real numbers from his own books and this information is critical for anyone who is looking to break in so that they are prepared for the realities of self-publishing.
Topics: Anything, depending on what is asked!
Kathryn and Stuart Immonen run a tumblr account and, depending on what they are asked, these pros dispense all kinds of valuable wisdom. This power couple are talented to say the least, and dole out some great advice on this tumblr.
Comics Experience hosts an online resource of scripts that writers have donated to the world for reference. Scripts from Bendis, Waid, Aaron, Bunn and many more are available here!
GONERS #4 SCRIPT AND ART SNEAK PEEK
Comicosity is proud to host the Goners #4 sneak peek and corresponding script by Jacob Semahn and Jorge Corona. It is a great resource to see the jump from script to pencils.
ROCHE LIMIT #4 SCRIPT AND ART SNEAK PEEK
Comicosity is also proud to host the Roche Limit #4 sneak peek and corresponding script by Michael Moreci and Vic Malhotra. It’s another great resource to see the jump from script to pencils.