After writing for years, when I pivoted toward comics, it surprised me that there was no real “standard” way to write and create a comic. There are common practices and trends, but it’s an area that provides the writer/creator with a lot of freedom. I always want to share what I’ve learned because I firmly believe that rising tides lift all boats, so I thought I’d share some of the resources that have helped me over the last few years.
Scripts Archive – Comic Experience
This archive has a ton of different styles of scripts from a variety of authors. Ideally, if you want to study how comics work, I would download the script of your choice and read through it side by side with the comic that was created from it. One of the best ways to learn how to format a script is to look at these examples.
Ultimate Comic Writer’s Workshop – Kelly Sue DeConnick
I attended one of DeConnick’s workshops a few years ago and, I still refer back to my notes to this day. Someone on the internet was kind enough to compile her advice over on Tumblr in the link above. It has some great tips on improving your comic writing/comic observation skills and the nuts and bolts of creating comics.
Side note for writers: In the workshop I attended, DeConnick encouraged writers to submit shorts to anthologies. I followed her advice and got my first traditional publishing credit that way. If you’re looking to build your resume as a writer, it’s a great way to do just that.
Online Comic Classes Taught by Comic Creators
I’m not sure if it’s because I miss school or miss people, but I love taking short online classes right now. The shift to online learning has also made classes that might otherwise be taught at colleges or other exclusive places a lot more accessible. I’ve been able to take courses from writers, editors, and creators who have worked in the industry for decades.
Here are some of my favorite ( and often reasonably affordable) places I’ve taken classes:
- TalentTalkLive – They offer various courses on comic creation and other subjects. Some are relatively cheap, considering you get to ask questions and learn from very talented professionals. I’ve gotten great value out of each class I’ve taken on their platform.
- Skillshare – I’ve taken short classes on lettering, coloring, writing, and more at Skillshare! Not all of these classes center on comic creation, but most of them helped me improve my skills as a creator and learn new platforms.
- The Hero Initiative – They sometimes offer live classes/experiences. They also support comic creators in need, so they’re a great platform to support.
Gail Simone did a basic run-through of comics creation on Twitter during the start of lockdown in 2020. You can find PDFs of the daily lessons here. She walks you through how to create a springboard and then step-by-step create a short comic. You can also check out the #ComicsSchool hashtag on Twitter to find writers and artists who participated in Comics School. Many of them have gone on to create their own comics and sell their work.
Panels at Conventions
I miss going to in-person panels, but several conventions have moved their experiences online. I’ll be honest though, there’s nothing quite like watching a panel or taking a workshop face-to-face with a creator and then later being able to talk at their table (be mindful if people are trying to purchase items) or chatting at events surrounding the con. One of my favorite experiences was going to an after-party at a small con and just talking and having fun with many creators I admired. It made me feel like I had a place in the industry and that someday these folks could be my friends and colleagues.
I honestly can’t wait until we’re able to do it again, but for now, it’s a great idea to check out conventions that have moved their experiences online. It also gives you a chance to support conventions that support comics as an industry.
If there are other resources you think would help add to this list, please let me know and comment below!