Monday, December 22, 2008

Creating an Indie Comics - 1. Plot and Script

I am often ask on how to start their own indie comics. Instead of answering them one by one. It would be better and beneficial to many just to write it down here in my blog. Because I do not want to repeat my self. And I know in the future, I will also be asked with the same questions :D.

I will write down a series of post here, regarding on that subject matter because I cannot answer this huge topic in just one post. I also want to stress out that this is not the only way to create you own comics since there are other comics tutorial out there. It just so happens that this is how I create my comics. So this is basically from my very own experience. You are very much welcome to skip some of the steps here when you think that you are not comfortable with it or simply you already know about it. And you can also make your own way as well. I will not pretend that I am such an expert on this subject matter since I still feel that I am a rookie (which I am) in comics making. So please bear with me if I occasionally type in some mistake here and there.

Creating the Plot and Script

It start with an idea. You cannot create a comics without having a story first. If you already have an idea or character in mind. It is better to write it down. Even how small or insignificant it may seams, write it down! And when an inspiration hits you. Do not stop or wait a while before you write it down on a piece of paper. This thing comes very rare so better make the best of it as much as you can. Because you just never know when the next inspiration of idea will come (or if it will ever come). This idea does not entirely means a whole complete story. This thing can also comes some small bits of pieces of idea for a story that you can patch it together later on to make a seamless story line. Your reader (and even you) will have that "Ahhhhaaaa, I see" factor and amazement of unpredictability of the story line that you made. That is assuming you created a very good script.

One of the hardest thing that I found in the entire comic book production, is writing the script. Making a plot (story with no character dialog) is much easier for me. But creating a script and breaking down the entire plot into 20 sequential pages with dialogs is very brain draining.

Many year ago, I always wonder why is the script writer always comes first before the artist. And now I know. It takes a lot of brain power to create a script. (silly me)

I often create the plot of my story, way ahead of the script. I often create the plot during my commute from office to our house. When I got that itch to create a story, I will write it down immediately. Those moments are rare and I tend to make the most of it. Even if the vehicle is moving, I will write the idea down and just revise it at home.

After the plot comes the creation of the script (the complete story with character dialog). I only create the script only when I am ready to draw the entire issue. It is hard for me to write a script without drawing a simple sketch (thumbnails) of the page layout. It is much easier for me, if I will create the page layout with the character dialog simultaneously.

I write my script (with thumbnails) on a short bond paper. I divide the paper into 4 equal parts as shown above. For one bond paper, I would write down 2 pages (script with thumbnails side by side) of my comics. Since my comics has 20 pages, I would need 10 bond paper in all. I like this kind of writing compared to the traditional way of a writer because if ever I would become a full time comic book writer. Artist would have a much easier illustrating the story that I have written because aside from the written down story, he will have a heads up on the visual because of the thumbnails.


Planet Markus said...

As an aspiring indie comics writer, I find your tips very practical and easy to apply. Thanks for posting this, Gio. Im looking forward to the next one! :)

Gio Paredes said...

Thanks Markus :D

Hazel Manzano said...

happy new year! Ayos tong post mo!

Gio Paredes said...

Hello Hazel,

Maraming salamat. Happy New Year din. :D

zafcom said...

i have the same way of doing it... i draw the whole comic book with the panels while the story runs on my mind. when the drawing is done that's the time i write sown the script and dialog.kanya kanyang trip talaga. (i dont sell i just write for fun pass time). salamat sa mga tips sir! i learned something new today.