Tuesday, November 17, 2015

How Do I Start Making Comics? One Great Story at a Time

We are going to dip into the mailbag, or in this century, our messages, for this one from J. Wagner in Rome, GA.

Do you make comic books for a living? My daughter wants to and she is a really talented artist. Any advice?

Sure! Work with me! lol They are part of my living. I am going to make more money in the short term from paintings, but meanwhile I'm drawing the comic I hope will break us out in a big way. (That's Integr8d Soul Comics Number One, for those of you who are late to the party!)

I've drawn quite a few and had a small sell-out run of my 2011 comic D'n'A: The Mountain, which, like everything from California days, I need to get back into print. (I just want to do it with its sequel, because getting on bookshelves via Diamond is like murder if you're not a Trade Paperback.)

But I could go on and on. Is her passion Manga comics, btw? What are some of her favorite titles? My advice will vary a wee bit depending on her heart's desire, which she'll need to tap to not only conceive projects, but complete as many as humanly possible, too.

I will start with this: however great your characters, however much you love them, remember you need One Great Story. People have to start somewhere, so think up the life of a given character for a while and see what part of that life seems like a compelling place to tell just one complete and not-too-ungodly-long tale that leaves anyone hungry for more. It will mean so much to her if she gets positive reception for one single complete effort, even if she envisions years of epics embodied in her cast. When you really care about telling that one story, you work through any problems along the way and enjoy bringing a full piece of your vision to life, in a form people can now share.

Just get together an interesting conflict that unveils the inner character in some insight, with a beginning, middle, and end.

Bring something to a conclusion and you will trust yourself more. You will have a template then which you can repeat the rest of your artistic life, throwing in all the new challenges you take up along the way, telling new insights you get about people and making characters that get hung up in people's minds.

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