Making a Graphic Novel: A Quick Step-By-Step Guide

Tis the season to suit-up! Summer 2017 has been jam-packed with epic films based on graphic novels and superheroes, like D.C.’s Wonder Woman, Marvel’s Spiderman: Homecoming, and the upcoming sci-fi fantasy film, Valerian and The City of a Thousand Planets. Not only that, but San Diego Comic Con is also swooping in next Thursday, so there’s a lot to look forward to if you’re a comic-book and pop-culture enthusiast. 

InLiquid Art and Design has decided to join in on the hype. Coming up on Tuesday, July 18th, is the Opening Reception for Splash Page, a comic book and pop-culture themed exhibition at Vintage Wine Bar and Bistro.  The show features bold paintings of Batman, colorful portraits of cityscapes, and inky illustrations by InLiquid Artist Members Henry Bermudez, Chris Flune, and Krista Dedrick Lai.

In fact, we love comics so much, that we’ve gone a bit behind the scenes and penned a panel-by-panel description of the process that goes into making a graphic novel:

1.) Concept Development:
In order to make a comic book, you need to at first have a creative concept, an original idea that can be developed into an epic story that will capture the hearts of comic book readers.

2.) Plot Development and Script Writing:
After the concept of a comic book is made, the plot needs to be executed in detail, and a script needs to be written that dictates both the dialogue and the action. 

A basic example of a comic book script format:

PAGE 1
Panel 1:
There is an overhead shot of a figure cloaked in black, standing on the rooftop of a building. It is late at night, and the moon can be seen shining in the distance, it’s soft, gray light illuminating the mysterious figure in an ethereal glow. The cloaked figure is looking down at the city, watching the bustling streets below. 
1. Mysterious Cloaked Figure: …
2. Mysterious Cloaked Figure: They go about their daily lives in blissful ignorance. They know nothing of the horrors that lurk within the city’s underground passageways.

3.) Sketching out the Script:
Once the script is complete, it is handed over to the penciler, who translates the script into sketches. They map out the panels, drawing them generally on larger sheets of thick paper, with a size of about 11 by 17 inches. Types of pencils used range from mechanical to standard lead, as well as colored in some cases. 

4.) Black and White: 
After the penciler is finished, their sketches are sent to the inker, a line artist with an incredibly steady hand that uses a pen or a brush to trace the pencil work with extreme precision. They add shading and bring depth to the sketches. While most ink work is done by tracing directly on the original sketch, sometimes, the inker will use translucent paper to get the job done.

5.) Filling in the Lines:
If a graphic novel is not black and white like in Robert Kirkman’s, The Walking Dead, then it is the colorist’s job to scan the ink drawings onto the computer in order fill in the lines. These artists generally work digitally, and use programs like Adobe Photoshop to add color to the pages. It is essential, that the bold colors do not overshadow the line work. 

6.) Comic Sans MS – Speech Bubbles and Lettering: 
Once the comic book illustrations have been finished, a letterer adds in the dialogue and speech bubbles to the art, either through the computer or traditionally by hand, making sure to place them in such a way as to compliment the artwork. 

So, there you have it! These are the basic steps of making a comic book or graphic novel. Once all of the work is finished, the comic is then edited before it is printed and distributed out to an audience!

Bring your comic book-making knowledge and trivia to the Opening Reception of Splash Page on Tuesday, July 18th, at Vintage Wine Bar and Bistro! 

Bam! Pow! RSVP to Splash Page! 

 

 

 

 

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