Although this article is intended to help you make comics more quickly, I’m going to have to talk about “The Charity Case: A Harvey Delford Mystery” again for the simple fact that I made an eight page (including the cover) comic in just two days. As such, it’s taught me quite a bit about making comics quickly.
As a project it was exhausting, but fun. So, how did I do it? And, more importantly, how can you do something similar?
1) Plan it first: I know that I already mentioned this a couple of days ago, but one thing that really helped to speed this comic up was the fact that I planned the whole thing (or most of it anyway) out in advance before I started.
If you plan out your comic in advance, rather than making it up as you go along then all you have to focus on when actually making the comic is on drawing all of the art and copying the dialogue from your plans.
In other words, you don’t have to worry about what will be in the next panel because you can just look at your plan. Seriously, you’d be surprised at how much this can speed up making a comic.
2) Make it over a weekend and know your limits: This one is pretty obvious, but it’s probably worth mentioning. If you make a comic in just two days, then you’re probably going to have to devote several hours a day to it at the very least. So, make it over a weekend or on two empty days.
Personally, I find it best to make “quick” projects in one continuous session (eg: two consecutive days). But if you find it easier to pick things up and put them down, then the two days you spend on your comic don’t have to be consecutive.
3) Make it in black & white: Yes, learning how to draw well using just black and white can take a bit of time to learn, but once you know how to do this well – then it will speed up your comic immensely, as well as making your comic look a lot cooler and more atmospheric too.
Making your comic in black & white speeds things up since the only thing you really have to pay attention to is the balance between light, dark and shaded areas on each page (rather than trying to work out a good colour scheme for each panel).
Plus, although you can use black paint to fill in large dark areas, making a comic in black & white means that you only have to draw, rather than draw and paint (or draw and colour with pencils). So, making your comic in black & white removes one time-consuming step from the creative process.
4) Backgrounds: One thing that can really slow a comic down is having to draw detailed backgrounds for each panel. So, try to get away with as little as possible when it comes to adding the backgrounds. In other words, the focus of your quick comic should be on the dialogue, characters and story rather than on the locations.
To give you an example, just take a look at this page from “The Charity Case”:
As you can see, most of the panels just use a plain black background. The third panel contains a set of blinds in the background, to establish the fact that this scene takes place in an office – but, apart from that, I got away without having to include any real backgrounds in this page.
If you need to learn how to make minimalist background work well, then just take a look at a few classic syndicated newspaper comic strips like “Garfield” and “Dilbert” for plenty of examples of how to set the scene with little to no actual background detail. Since the creators of these syndicated comics had to make one strip per day, they didn’t have time to include detailed backgrounds. And, if you’re making a comic in two days, neither do you.
Anyway, I hope that this was useful 🙂