Working with comics is not easy. But believe me, creating a comic book and publishing it was already something much more complicated and much more difficult than it is today.
I grew up surrounded by some of the most powerful and famous superheroes in pop culture, seeing cartoons like the Amazing Spider Man of Marvel on TV Globo, the Justice League from DC on SBT, just to name a few, in addition to the extinct TV Manchete that started showing animes such as Knights of the Zodiac, Shurato and the "armor fever" that came soon after. All this made me want create my own comics, create my own characters and scripts draw like artists like Alex Ross or be a mangaka like Masami Kurumada.
For a while I went to conventions anime and manga, such as Anime Friends and Anime Dreams as a 'fanziner', distributing my own hand-drawn and photocopied comics to sell at R$2,50 at most.
Creating an alternate reality through the art of visual storytelling has always fascinated me, but being a comic artist was something that required a lot of dedication and, unfortunately, the bills kept coming and they didn't want to wait for me to succeed as an illustrator. But today, with Facebook pages for outreach the situation is quite different.
- Ways to make money from comics
- How to Start Your Comic Book Step-by-Step
- How to calculate the value of my work?
- Don't make these mistakes! Make a good script and layout
- Get to work! draw the comic
- Websites to make comics online
- How to do all this in practice?
- Quick FAQ
Ways to make money from comics
When you think about working with comics, we mainly think about working in a studio like Maurício de Souza, Marvel or DC, but, honestly speaking, working in these places is very difficult and here we are talking about how to turn your art into a source of inspiration. extra income, for you who are an amateur, to be able to publish your strips while developing your trait. Of course, there are several designers on the internet who make very simple drawings and get a good audience, thanks to good ideas like Any Saturday and the Support Life.
Learn to draw and improve his stroke to the point of becoming an illustrator for major publishing houses is the goal of anyone who likes to draw. Until then, let's see how to make money with your drawings:
Publish your own comics on the internet
Of course, the most obvious way to profit from a comic book is to sell your own copies. There are a number of free comic creation apps (see below) that can handle the production of your comics. To publish, sites like Social Comics and the Tapas, which has subscription for you to read some stories and even pays authors to publish there, are some alternatives.
Design Niche Comics for the Internet
While it takes a lot of hard work, determination and perhaps a stroke of luck to become the next Charles Schultz, you can still earn a healthy income from traditional strips. Make a name for yourself by producing topical comics that address cultural or economic issues, like the cases mentioned above. Any Saturday plays with figures from Christianity and other religions (which generated some controversy and visibility) with a light humor and Support Life makes fun of the routine of IT professionals Who knows, your current job doesn't have some absurd situations that can be turned into comics?
Sell prints and posters
If you are a talented animator or illustrator, you can earn a lot of money by selling your art in other mediums. Framed posters of your creations are an easy way to maximize profits if you're willing to do a little online marketing. The key is to establish price points within reach of potential buyers.
Sell t-shirts with comics
The great thing about t-shirts is that they are some of the easiest products to sell online, regardless of your target audience. T-shirts with designs are an easy-to-sell product for nerdy audiences who love to show everyone their love for anime, manga and comics. Of course, there are laws and regulations that prevent you from opening a t-shirt factory with illustrations from the The Marvel movies and DC Comics, but when it comes to something handmade, these laws are a little more “soft”.
Write stories for other cartoonists
Comic books and truly epic comic books rely as much on great story writing as they do on amazing artwork. If you're a good writer with a talent for creating compelling narratives, partnering with an artist is a smart move. Make up a unique story, write the dialogue and ask your partner to handle the illustrations.
Publish a comics podcast
These days, even niche podcasts with limited audiences can be highly profitable if properly monetized. All you need to get started is a laptop, a microphone, a Twitch account and a passion for comics. You can interview prominent comic book creators or discuss comic book topics with like-minded fans.
Create a comic book review style website
With so many comics to choose from, many comic book enthusiasts have a hard time choosing a new series to follow. Solve this problem for them by reviewing the comics and offering your thoughts on the merits of each. Over time, you will find that comic book authors will submit their work for free in hopes of constructive review.
The only limit is your imagination
Considering the recent rapid growth of the comic book business, revenue opportunities in this industry are not hard to come by. While the ideas covered here are always surefire winners, they are hardly the only options. Do a little brainstorming and you will undoubtedly come up with potential moneymakers that no one else has thought of yet.
How to Start Your Comic Book Step-by-Step
With the internet, today it is possible to publish your comics, create your characters and make your dissemination through a page from Facebook or Instagram posts and much more. Until a while ago, internet memes were basically comic books with those little faces like “Me Gusta”, “Troll Face” and others. Several influencers nowadays started with pages and videos dedicated to these faces in short comic book format.
But how to start making a comic book? Before you start publishing your comics, there are a few important things you need to know, we'll give you some tips to start making your comics, but you need a complete structure to learn to draw for real. But just to get you started, here are some tips.
You need an idea before you start. All things start with an idea and your comic book or graphic novel is no different. As a storyteller, your best tool is a notebook (either electronic or paper). My advice: always keep it with you. That way, when an idea pops into your head, you can write it down.
Don't worry if your idea hasn't been fully worked out yet. It starts with that, and as you develop it, ideas, situations, and characters emerge. The things you started to make your comic book, your main line of reasoning may end up very different from where it started. You never know where this will take you.
So how do you start? Creating a comic takes skill, patience, and planning ahead, but it's exciting to see all the elements come together in the end. Follow this step-by-step guide to bring your comic book project to life:
1. Choose an idea you believe in
With all serial content being created online and in print, his creative vision is what sets him apart. Start with an idea you strongly believe in. Starting a comic book requires a significant time commitment, so you want to make sure you have enough interest in your characters and plot to see your project through to completion.
The brainstorming phase looks a little different for everyone, but you can expect your original idea to evolve a bit while you're just getting started. Be sure to keep a notebook handy to jot down dialogue, sketches, and story ideas when they come to mind.
2. Write the story first
As tempting as it may be to jump right in and start drawing for your comic book, try not to get ahead of yourself. You know from reading your favorite comics that creating a solid plot is crucial. Text drives the visual action and fills in key plot details and character traits.
If your goal is to make a comic book that looks cohesive and well-designed from cover to cover, develop your script before you start illustrating. Otherwise, you run the risk of creating a bunch of dashboards that might have to be reworked or discarded if the narrative doesn't line up with them. Beginners will very quickly realize that proofreading the text is much easier than redrawing an entire page. Consider the following story elements as you begin writing your comic:
|Scenario||Is there a clear sense of time, place and general climate?|
|Characters||Are the main characters fully developed and believable? Do they have distinct personalities, motivations and challenges?|
|Plot||Does the story follow a natural sequence or arc (background information, escalating action, conflict, resolution)? Are there gaps in the information that could confuse readers?|
|Narration||Is the point of view consistent?|
|Subject||What lessons do the characters learn?|
3. Research the craft of making comics
You might feel like you've consumed enough comics to know how to make your own. However, there is always a lot to learn from more experienced illustrators. In between your own creative work sessions, read books, interviews and blogs from your favorite comic book creators to discover their tips and techniques. For every step of this guide, you can find all sorts of in-depth tutorials and advice for artists who are new to creating comics. Use these resources as teaching and inspirational tools whenever you're stuck.
You can also do research on your own shelves. Think about what appeals to you about a particular comic book series and study it from a creative and technical point of view. Note the decisions the artist made regarding layout, drawing style, color, character, and story. Understanding what elements you find intriguing or effective in someone else's work can help you develop your own skills and style.
4. Plan the layout
You're almost at the actual drawing stage (I promise!), but the focus here is on working out the composition of each comic book page and the overall flow. Most comic book artists use thumbnails (very rough sketches of each page layout) to see if the content works.
You want to ensure that the text and illustrations fit into each panel, while also creating momentum in the story to keep readers interested. Does the dialog work? Is the action clear? Is there too much or too little happening on each page? Too much text or too little? Think about how you can create suspense at the end of a page so that the reader is compelled to continue.
If you run into problems with your first round of thumbnails, simply throw that page away and create a new sketch. This part of the creative process can involve a lot of trial and error – that's ok! It's always best to find out how the story progresses before spending time painting and coloring your comic book drawings. Otherwise, you are setting yourself up for possible frustration later on.
The more you draw, the better you will be able to determine how to sequence your panels and when to make cuts. For now, if you're just starting out in the world of comic book creation, stick to simple layouts. Leave complicated compositions for a future project when you have acquired more skills.
5. Create a set of rules for drawing
A recommendation from experienced comic book artists is to establish a consistent style of illustration that is doable and efficient for the scope of your project. This could mean assigning specific textures, shading or coloring effects to certain characters or backgrounds. Or you can decide to limit the number of frames per page. These are your personal guidelines for creating visual continuity and avoiding making drawings so complex that you can't replicate the look.
For beginners, it's especially important to know your strengths and master the drawing techniques you'll use before going too far with your comic. You don't want to learn the basics or try to draw figures you've never tried before while making your first comic. This is a recipe for slow and frustrating work sessions! Also, if you experiment too much when creating your comic, the evolution of your drawings will show in the final version. The first few pages will look drastically different from later panels where you honed your style.
6. Draw the illustrations
You've done all the pre-planning and troubleshooting, so here's the moment you've been waiting for! The drawing process will differ depending on whether you use pencil and ink, tablets or drawing apps and software. No matter which drawing method you choose, you can find countless blogs, tutorials, and forums to answer your questions along the way.
Generally, you will follow these steps to complete your comic book illustrations:
|Drawing||If you choose to work on paper, the first step will be to draw in pencil. If you are using digital drawing tools or applications, start by outlining your illustrations. In this first pass, try not to worry about making each drawing perfect just yet; there will be time to add all these details. Just remember to leave space for any caption or text!|
|Final art||Fill in the designs, adding texture, depth, and shading effects.|
|Coloring||Select the color palette for your entire project – keep it simple. Then assign colors to each character or scene and make sure you use the same colors every time these elements repeat. Continuity is a big part of visual storytelling!|
|Letters||Decide whether you want to use handwritten letters or fonts installed on a digital device. Regardless, your text needs to be readable to make an impact.|
How to calculate the value of my work?
According to the site Glassdoor, an illustrator can earn, on average, from R$2,900 to R$6.000. Once abroad, a good illustrator can earn up to US$ 55 thousand per year (something around R$ 290 thousand ! Of course, this is a market average and getting a job that pays according to the category may not be an easy task. You, if you are starting your career, may not be able to work as a professional illustrator yet and need to start in a more humble way.
Calculating the value for your drawings
Let's talk about the financial issue so you have an idea of how much you can charge for your art. Of course, this is not a rule, but a basis for you to start and that, depending on your earnings goal, time and material invested in your drawings, quality of your work, these values may vary. Here we are going to do a basic calculation for you to define your values, according to an article published by animax.
1 – Decide how much you, as a designer, want to earn per month. Set your value according to the time you intend to invest in it. Will it be full time? Will it be in your free time? How many days a week? You decide!
Let's assume the value is $2.000
2 – Divide this amount by the days of the week you will work (whether you will work on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays is up to you). The average number of working days per month is 22 days. This will be the amount you intend to earn per day.
Let's assume that it will be 22 working days, the bill would be BRL 2.000 / 22 = BRL 90,90 (rounded amount)
3 – Now, divide the result of this calculation by the number of hours you intend to dedicate to the drawing craft. Will it be 8 hours? Will it be a few hours of free time? The result will be the value of your work per hour!
If you are going to dedicate 8 hours to this, then the calculation will be BRL 90,90 / 8 = BRL 11,36. This will be the value of your work in hours.
Deciding the amount charged
4 – With these values, you will now multiply the VALUE OF YOUR WORK PER HOUR by the number of HOURS IT TAKES YOU TO MAKE A DRAWING. Think about how many hours it takes you to make a black and white drawing? A full body drawing. Does adding an extra character take more work? Put that work in the amount charged as well.
If a drawing takes just two hours to complete, then its price would be R$11,36 x 2 = R$22,72
Additional artist notes and tips on commissions:
- Remember to get paid in advance (i.e. first payment for sketch, require second payment after approval before moving on to paints/colors – do not work without receiving compensation or a deposit of at least 50%).
- The low price hurts the entire industry, even for beginners. Be aware of how much you are really worth. If you're a beginner, charge reasonably for your work, but don't underestimate yourself.
- Charge based on edits (i.e. at each stage offer a few small edits - usually 2-3) and if they are not clear in your instructions/description/etc. and it causes a longer or more complicated work process, try charging half the hourly rate for each additional hour you work on a part.
- For more detailed commissions, get everything in writing – describe what you will be doing as an artist (i.e. miniatures, sketches, inks and color stages) along with what changes are acceptable at each stage. Offer them a contract so they understand obligations and expectations fully, or as closely as possible.
- For personal commissions, offer the ability to tip when submitting an invoice and you might be surprised at how many of your customers give you an extra 30-40%.
- Don't be afraid to be selective with your work. You can refuse commissions that don't interest you or that you think you can't do with quality
- Don't work for free for friends and family unless you really want to. Offer a discount to friends and family, but never feel like you have to work for them for free.
Don't make these mistakes! Make a good script and layout
Forget the script! One of the most basic mistakes aspiring comic artists make is not writing the script. One of the most common mistakes is to start drawing your comic book before crafting your story. While you might feel like grabbing a blank sheet of paper — or opening up your favorite drawing app — and just diving in, by doing so, you're probably setting yourself up for failure.
Take the time to write a script. It doesn't have to be fancy and you don't need an expensive app to do it. A plain text editor will do and you probably have at least one on your computer: notepad! Get your idea off paper and put it into practice. When it's time to write your script, there are four main points to remember:
- Know the genre you want to write;
- Understand your main character's goals/challenges;
- Create a believable configuration;
- Include a beginning, a middle and an end;
Writing the screenplay may not be the easiest thing to do at first, but this is a tried and true tip that works and helps anyone start producing screenplays for comics, books, fanfics and even Youtube videos.
Another important point is to organize the layout before starting to draw the actual comic. Once your script is complete, it's time to start drawing. That means it's time to grab your paper and pencil, or tablet, or graphics tablet and start drawing.
When working on the layout, your goal is to keep the reader interested. One way to do this is to end each page (maybe not all, but some) with a “hook”. Attract the reader! Let them know that something interesting is about to happen, but don't reveal what it is until they turn the page.
I think the most efficient way to 'design a layout' is to use thumbnails. Thumbnails, which are similar to storyboards, help resolve any compositional issues before investing time in inking and coloring your drawings. Think of them as a rough draft of your drawings and of course your layout.
Note: Don't forget to leave room for dialogue! If you need, we have some suggestions. image editors here on the site.
Get to work! draw the comic
Whether you're working traditionally or digitally, drawing the comic can seem like a daunting task. But at this stage of the process, your work doesn't have to be perfect. Focus on drawing your comic. Think about your characters in the scene, the framing, the action of the scene, the background, where the speech bubbles, onomatopoeias will be, looking for references in other works, such as Marvel and DC Comics, manga and even movies can be important at this moment of creation, as it will help you to get inspirations and visualize a preview of how your work will look in the end.
You can work on perfecting it later during the colorization stage, but here's the thing to get started. There are several methods to perfect your comics and your drawing techniques, and only with study and practice you will be able to reach a satisfactory final result. And then begins the painting and colorization process.
Now that you have your comic drawn (in pencil), it's time to paint and color; two tasks that do not necessarily need to be done by the same person. This is where you clean up your drawings and add depth to your illustrations. If you are painting/coloring illustrations by another artist, don't be afraid to ask questions if things aren't clear.
Choosing colors can 'make' or 'break' a scene. In addition to proper color selection, not keeping your colors consistent can also hurt things. Imagine how confusing it would have been to see Superman's cape colored red on one page and green on another? The Hulk is green because the printer couldn't make the right shade of gray every edition and then, on each page, he was a different color.
An often overlooked task create a comic book is Letrization. You can have a great story. You can fantastic illustrations. But if your lyrics are messed up, people won't read your story!
In addition to planning the layout so that your speech bubbles don't get squeezed, over a character's face or covering up an important moment in the story, it's important to choose a suitable font that allows for fluid reading. Learning about the arrangement of speech bubbles is also important.! Don't forget that in the West we read from left to right from top to bottom. In the manga it's different and if you want to make one then it's good to make sure you put the balloons in the right place.
Websites to make comics online
Sometimes, starting to make comics by hand, or with a software, may not be so easy, so if you want to start with something more “ready”, just to test your ideas and script before starting to draw, there are some sites that allow you to create your comics online, easily, with a simple drag of characters, balloons and scenarios. Let's point out a few so you can start practicing.
O MakeBeliefsComix.com is a comic book creator easy enough for kids to use, but there are also enough options for adults to get a message across. Users can choose from 25 characters to fill a two-, three-, or four-panel comic.
The pre-set options that make the site so easy to use can also be a bit limiting. Your custom comics will look pretty generic. There are only about four different expressions for each character. The advantage of this is that you can finish a good enough online comic in about 10 minutes.
Already Pixton is a comic book creation website for artists. The site allows for as much customization as possible without the need to build from scratch. Instead of just choosing a character's shirt color, for example, there are options to adjust the collar, shape, sleeves, and shirt size.
Instead of relying on predefined poses and emotions for each character, users can click and drag character limbs into new postures and can customize eyes, ears, noses and hairstyles. You can also add images from Flickr or Google images.
Other online comic book maker free is the Storyboard That. It can be used for almost any purpose. As the name suggests, you can use it to create storyboards for making movies, for example. When storyboarding for a movie, rather than designing it yourself, and if you haven't already have good drawing skills, Storyboard That should be useful.
You can edit the character's head, arms, legs, beard and expressions. You can even use the preset. Storyboard That has so many characters: male, female. Scenarios like cities, jungles, parks, schools, you name it. Text balloons are also easy to edit.
O canva, in addition to being used to create other complex and advanced designs, it can also be used to create comics. Canva provides some templates for creating comics that you can use to create your own comic.
Canva is different from Pixton as it has no character customization feature. What you can do with the characters is to use what's available there, and that depends on your subscription. If you are using the free plan, you can only use limited characters, the free ones, but if you have the pro subscription, you can have a lot more options.
How to do all this in practice?
Congratulations! You made a comic book. What now? Now you disclose! Tell everyone about your work! Selling and marketing your comic is not easy and the best thing you can do is tell people you have one. Tell your friends. Tell your family. Tell the world!
This part can be the most complicated of the process, as it will depend on people's engagement with your comic and also on how you will distribute the posts throughout the days and, mainly, understand how the Facebook algorithm will distribute your publications to your fans or how you can organically boost your Instagram posts.
Making a comic book or graphic novel is a lot of work. If you have the skills and time to tackle this task on your own, great! If not, don't be afraid to collaborate with another artist. And don't be afraid to ask questions or look for a way to learn from those who really understand the subject.
So, for anyone who wants to be a comic book artist, publish their comics, whether in digital or print, with these tips you can start drawing and you will be able to take your ideas off the paper and turn them into incredible adventures. And if you need some more tips or have questions about this whole process, then you can meet the Drawing Course Fanart Method 3.0, which will help you improve your drawings, your painting and much more. Take advantage of the opportunity and learn about the course today.
maybe you are next Stan Lee, but there's only one way for you to know.
Do I need to spend money to draw?
Initially all you need to start drawing is a surface, be it a paper, notebook sheet, wall (babies love it) and something to scribble on, be it a mug or pencil. Anyone can draw wherever they want with the most basic things at hand.
Do I need to invest in materials such as colored pencil sets and special paper?
Having good material won't make you draw better. The best thing to do is to start training with what you have at hand and, if the need arises, start investing in materials.
Is drawing a gift?
Not. Drawing is not a gift! Anyone with training and effort can draw as well or better than those who claim to have a “gift”. In addition, even those who have "a gift" if they don't train or practice, will be limited to their initial stroke and will never evolve in their drawings.
Is it possible to live by drawing?
It is now much easier to make a living from drawing than it was a few years ago. You can make your drawings and post them on the internet so that other people can order characters or illustrations, you can create an art channel on Youtube or Twitch and other options.
Can anyone learn to draw?
Yes, anyone can learn to draw. You may think you have no talent, but others may like what you draw. A natural talent can facilitate the learning process, but drawing is both a skill and a talent. As with any other skill, this can be learned.
How long does it take to learn to draw?
It depends on your effort and goal. Do you want to learn how to make realistic drawings? Cartoon-style drawings? Manga-style drawings? A manga designed by who? Yoshito Usui, the designer of Crayon Shin Chan, or Hayao Miyazaki, from Studio Ghibi? North American HQ style? With who? Alex Ross or Rob Liefeld? A more elaborate and detailed style certainly takes longer to learn than a simpler style.
Is it easy to learn to draw?
Learning to draw can be difficult, but the process becomes faster and easier with the right resources, support, and dedication to learning the right skills. Learning can be a rewarding experience, which makes it important to focus on learning and not just the end result.
Is sketching an art?
Most people consider sketching a looser, less refined form of drawing. Sketches are usually created as preliminary drawings to prepare a more finished work of art. Sketches are often created with quick marks and often lack some of the detail that a finished drawing might have.
Now, talk to us: Do you have any comics already published? Do you like to draw and write? Talk to us and take the opportunity to read more about drawings on our website.