When looking to begin the creation of a comic book, many people don’t know where to look for the basics. Scott McCloud authored abook called Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art
in order to help those looking to make their own comic books, delving into what makes them a unique medium. McCloud goes through the beginning of how to not only draw, but also dissect comics.
The process of creating a comic involves many different steps. After the concept is formed, the writer needs to create the story. Based upon the story, the sketches begin. The sketches are done on sheets of paper far bigger than the final panel will show. Once everything is sketched in pencil it is then inked. The inking is not only going over the pencil sketches in a thicker line but then copied onto a separate sheet to make the whole comic cleaner. The coloring of each panel takes place after the clear inked lines have been applied. Then, even though the speech bubbles were drawn in with the sketches, the lettering is done last and usually by a separate person altogether. Much more manpower has to go into comics over other forms of literature due to creating a full visual experience.
Creating comics is a topic that is very unappreciated. Many people don’t understand the effort it takes to create even one comic strip consisting of three panels. Looking at any detailed graphic novel and focusing on one panel, a reader realizes that it is, on its own, a piece of art. When cartoonists work, they often draw out a single panel on a large sheet and then size it down. This allows for them to create works with high levels of detail without sacrificing size.
Many modern graphic novels have a more experimental and artsy style to them. Watchmen, by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons, is an example of a satire on the classic superhero premise but, upon further inspection, has detailed and fantastical art in addition to its story. The book’s panels reflect one another throughout certain chapters, in addition to the vivid color schemes depending on the part of the story.
Another equally as intense of a story is a comic called Maus, by American cartoonist Art Spiegelman. The comic follows characters designed as mice, cats, and pigs through a taleof the Holocaust. When looking closely at the inking done in each page, the reader gets lost in the simple designs.Oftentimes, nothing is thought of the black and white lines. There are many pages, though, that use images to give double meanings.
This is only done by a talented artist and storyteller, which Spiegelman is. Scott McCloud may not reference Watchmen or Maus, but he helps people understand the inner workings of certain areas of visual communication.