My girlfriend and I met cosplaying from Scott Pilgrim and our first date was the premiere
of the “Scott Pilgrim vs. The World” movie. I am also the bass player /
Scott for the Sex Bob-omb cover band that Edgar Wright featured on his
blog years and years ago. Needless to say, we quite enjoy the Scott
This being the case, I decided I wanted to propose to my
girlfriend with a Bryan Lee O'Malley Scott Pilgrim homage in the form
of an 8-page mini comic. Pulling from the original black and white
release, I tried my best to mimic O'Malley’s style as best I could. Not
perfect but I really like the way it turned out and so did she! So, here
is the comic I used to propose to my girlfriend.
Here is an 8-page mini comic created in collaboration by participants of last night’s Saturday Night Drink n’ Draw at Chi Prc. Thanks to Allyson Frazier, Danielle O'Donaghue, Johnny Misfit, and Sarah Wawrzaszek.
Do you have any advice for those who really want to start their own webcomic or comic in general?
I think it depends on your personality. A little background, I had been putting off making Infinite Spiral since high school (that’s over 10 years). I would start then stop, because I had it in my head it wasn’t good enough-like it had to be this epic, perfect narrative. That’s not how learning to tell stories works … and the longer I waited, the closer it got to “you’ll never tell this story.” I was introduced to comics through a class in grad school, where I was studying serious game design. And it hit me there, if I don’t start telling this story, I will never, ever get it out there. I have to stop worrying about being “good enough.” And I’ve been writing and drawing now, and my work has slowly and steadily improved bit by bit in a world I have adored since I was a child.
So here are some things you can do (in no particular order):
1)Don’t be afraid to just get started. If you have a story and you think comics is the way to tell it, start writing it, start drawing it-find a way to get it out there. I’ve made 66 pages so far with 2 more almost done. I average something like 8 panels a page. That’s over 500 drawings in the course of 2 years with increasing complexity in characters and environments. Tons of practice! If you are afraid to start, you can only get better.
2) Choose a length and format that you can commit to and succeed (think game design, early success). For me, a deadline and readers are a great way to keep disciplined (barring my most recent hiatus due to some major life events) so I started a webcomic early. But, I took a class where I had to create a 28 page mini-book of shorter comics (2-8 pages). Short comics can build confidence, let you figure out a technique, and let you explore things you might not have a chance to once you commit to that long term theme, story, or topic for a webcomic or longer work. Not only that, but short works add up, and when formatted for print (I can share more on that if you like), suddenly you have something that you can sell too. And let’s face it, I love to make art, but it is validating to make money from your art (and it is hard work that costs time and resources).
3) Find someone you trust and respect to help you with techniques that will increase your comic’s professional touches early on—things like typography, composition, panel construction, bleeds and gutters. The little things that no matter what the drawing or story is like, can be well designed with the tools we have. And if you can trust them to critique the drawing and storytelling too, even better. We all need mentoring and feedback (and if you are too self-critical, sometimes that is positive feedback so you don’t blow up things that are actually fabulous!). If you can, take a class, join a local meet up group for creators, find a safe online community where you can share, learn, and ask for resources.
4) Don’t be too hard on yourself. I think art always attracts a perfectionist. But comics are a medium that is very deadline driven. This goes with 1.
5) On that note, don’t be afraid to do everything yourself (meaning, writing, penciling, inking, coloring, lettering)! It is hard to find a partner without compensation (as we know, good art and writing is hard work!) and you’ll, again, get better the more you do it anyway.
6) If you are doing a webcomic, build a buffer of 10 + pages. I did not do this (well, my buffer wasn’t big enough) and then life happens … When people subscribe to RSS feeds and the like to read your comic, if you aren’t updating then you lose them. (Sorry readers, I know I’ve been bad lately.)
7) Read Scott McCloud’s Making Comics. Not only is it a comic, but it is full of rich suggestions about technique, writing, and special ways to tell a story that exist because of the very nature of comics. If you haven’t had enough, many recommend Eisner’s books.
8) Go hang out with people who like comics. Most are awesome and will keep you excited about what you are doing. Conventions, comic book stories, meet ups … lots of ways to find some people that keep you wanting to tell stories in boxes.
9) Know your tools. Whether using digital or traditional mediums (and with traditional, there’s digitizing steps anymore), know how to work with them for the comics medium. Scott McCloud’s book can get you started there again, but really, get to know whatever tool you choose. The internet leaves us no excuses ^_^.
10) Read comics. This seems like a gimme. I’ve been slow to add to my reading list, but it is worth it. You’ll soak up things about visual storytelling you’d never get otherwise. Dissect comics after you’ve read and enjoyed them. As you get a more critical eye, you can deconstruct how they are put together in a way so you don’t go crazy thinking about how you are out of your league (no, really, the brain glosses over other people’s little … for lack of a better word flaws because you did not put them on the page! You can turn that into a total morale boost, as well as learning tool).
11) Don’t treat these as rules. Everyone is different!
I’m sure I could get into more, but this seems like a solid list to get started.