drawing graphic novels

Before you start drawing, you might find it helpful to storyboard your story. This will help you develop how each scene might look, and it will also highlight any weak or unrealistic plot points.

Also, be aware that in this day and age, there any many websites and programs out there that can be used to create comics and visual representations. (For example, we used Pixton.com, a free site, to create most of the original graphics on this website.) If you decide to use one of these programs, it’s up to you how you ultimately create the illustrations.

For those artists who decide to draw their own images, the process varies once again. You could choose to first sketch in pencil, then go over those sketches in ink, and then color them in at the end. Or you may choose to paint your images in watercolor.

Whatever you pick to create the images, make sure you keep your images consistent and clear to understand. Use “action” words such as “whoosh,” “bang,” “pop,” and “clack,” to represent noises.

Again, always show your work to your peers to make sure what you’re trying to portray is clear and easy to understand.

Storyboarding Your Novel:

Now that you know what’s going to happen in your novel, you have to plan out how to physically depict it. Each scene in a graphic novel must be worked (and reworked) to be graphically digestible to readers. This requires a lot of analyzing and thinking about how to portray actions, thoughts, and character progressions. Relying only on dialog will prove to make a stagnant and boring scene. Edit out heavy “talking” scenes and insert more action. Also, think carefully about how to show action sequences.

As you work, show your progress to other people that you trust. This will prove very important, as sometimes things that are crystal clear to us are confusing to others. In order to make your graphic novel accessible, you need to get input from outside sources.

In the process of creating a storyboard for your novel, think about presentations of each scene. Things to consider are scene length, how many panels you will use for each sense, how much dialog each scene will have, how you will portray action, and so on. Asking these questions will help define how each scene will physically play out.

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