3 ways to create a comic

Table of contents:

3 ways to create a comic
3 ways to create a comic

Creating a comic book from scratch can be a time-consuming process, but it's also incredibly rewarding and creatively satisfying. To do this, start by creating some characters and a plot for the story. Then write a script and sketch the storyboard so that you can easily see how you want the comic to look. Determine if you want to do the cartoon by hand or digitally (for a more refined look). To weaponize everything together, draw individual bullets and add color and texture as you go. There are no hard and fast rules so have fun and create something that is authentic.


Method 1 of 3: Developing the idea

Make a Comic Book Step 1
Make a Comic Book Step 1

Step 1. Design some memorable characters and create initial sketches

Start by thinking about who will be the protagonist. Next, sketch an interesting character with a distinctive visual style and decide what it will look like after you've drawn it, or choose 2-3 distinctive personality traits and draw a character that is according to what you imagine based on their personality. There is no wrong way to invent a character, so let your imagination run wild.

  • Characters can be animals, historical figures, or totally made up out of nowhere.
  • Make the personality traits as specific as possible to make it easier to come up with a plot idea, if you don't already have one. For example, "being willing to do anything to help your family" is better than "loyal."
  • You can start with the plot first and develop the characters later. The characters and the plot are equally important, so the order is not necessarily relevant. Just start with your best idea and work from there.

Step 2. Choose a setting for the story to unfold

Setting refers to the time and place where a story occurs. For example, if the story will be about a cowboy, the setting could be "the wild west, long ago" or "Kansas, 1880." Choose a setting that is according to your story and that you can draw.

  • The setting can be real or imaginary. If you don't mind and if you want to focus on the characters, make it something that is easy to draw, like the desert.
  • If you make a very simple story, you can simply leave the background blank and have a setting that is not clearly defined for the story. This measure is an especially acceptable option for comic strips where the emphasis is on writing.
Make a Comic Book Step 10
Make a Comic Book Step 10

Step 3. Create a structure for the plot and identify the conflict

What will the protagonist do and what is the main conflict in the story? Take a blank sheet of paper and jot down some ideas based on what you want the story to be about. Write the conflict in the simplest possible terms in order to create a basic framework for what the story will explore.

  • Conflict refers to the two people or ideas fighting each other in the story. It can be as simple as superhero versus villain or as abstract as freedom versus order. Comic books don't necessarily require conflict, but it certainly helps to ground the story into something concrete.
  • The comic does not need a resolution if you want it to become a series.

Step 4. Write the script and review it carefully to avoid mistakes

Since much of the storytelling is visual, focus on writing strong and forceful dialogue that conveys each character's attitude. Give each character a distinctive vocabulary and speech pattern to distinguish them from one another. Once you've written your script, go through it 2-3 times to check your spelling and word choice.

  • Speech bubbles in comics are very small. Try to keep most of the dialogue as short as possible. A single line of dialogue or a single speech may require several vignettes if it is very long
  • Make notes on what the illustrations should look like next to each page as you review. This measurement will make it easier for you to know what you want to draw.
  • Share the script with a friend, parent, or teacher to see if they have any suggestions on how to improve your writing.
  • Most comic book scripts are written like movie scripts. Just put the names of the characters at the beginning of a line and write their dialogue. Give each piece of dialogue a separate line to make it easy to read. Make notes about setting, tone, or theme between dialogues.
Make a Comic Book Step 14
Make a Comic Book Step 14

Step 5. Determine how many vignettes you will need to illustrate the action

First, take a red pencil and read the entire script. Draw a line at each point where you think you want to start a new page based on how fast you want the story to advance or how many lines of dialogue you have passed (16-20 lines of dialogue is normally the maximum for a page). Once you have separate pages, use a different colored pencil to divide the pages into bullets. If it's a particularly momentous or emotional moment, consider assigning it a large panel or even its own page.

  • More than 6 to 8 bullets on a single page will be too much information to process for most readers.
  • More than 3 speech bubbles in a single panel will be too much dialogue to fit in one illustration.
  • On an individual page there are usually 1 to 3 key actions. These actions can be part of an important dialogue, a character going from one place to another, or a character interacting with another character. Avoid overloading your pages with too many events in order to give readers time to process what is happening.
  • You can check the order of the bullets or the number of pages at any time. If you change your mind when you review, don't worry.


You should have an even number of pages unless you want to include a credits page at the end. You can also include a page with your post information at the beginning. If you have an odd number of pages, you may need to add a blank page, which can confuse the reader.

Make a Comic Book Step 12
Make a Comic Book Step 12

Step 6. Draw thumbnails to create a storyboard

Once you know how many pages you need, take a blank sheet of paper for each individual page you have marked. Draw a rough draft of the individual panels on that page and make simple sketches of what you will include in the final product. On these pages you can make stick figures and basic drawings if you wish (it's more about understanding the rhythm and layout of the cartoon).

  • You can find prebuilt templates with different bullet layouts online at sites like http://comicbookpaper.com/. You can also draw the vignettes on your own or sketch their layout in a digital program.
  • Use a variety of layouts so individual pages are not repetitive. For example, if each page has 9 bullets that are laid out in the same way, the reader can get bored.
  • Try to make the last panel on each page a special, interesting, or powerful moment just when tension or conflict is on the rise. This is called the "hang-in" method, which will keep the reader hooked on what will happen on the next page.

Method 2 of 3: Create the bullets

Make a Comic Book Step 16
Make a Comic Book Step 16

Step 1. Sketch the vignettes in pencil to get a preliminary idea of the action

If you're working on paper, jumping straight into ink can be disastrous. Start by drawing tentative structures for the characters and the action with a pencil. You can add backgrounds later, so focus on framing the characters in each panel. Use a variety of layouts to keep the visual information on each page fresh and interesting.

  • For example, in a cartoon, you can draw a close-up of the character's face that takes up the entire space. In the next one, you can draw it standing up to the left side of the bullet, leaving plenty of room for background information. Don't draw the characters floating in the middle of each panel to keep things fresh.
  • Pay attention to the different ways characters are framed in movie shots. You will notice that the characters are not always shot in the middle of the screen. Comics take a lot of visual cues from movies, so use movie shots as inspiration for images.
  • To focus on composition first, draw your preliminary sketches before you start inking or adding details.
  • You can use a simple style and keep your characters basic if you want to emphasize the story and don't know how to draw well. There is no rule that says comic magazines must be extremely detailed.

Step 2. Start with a location shot at the beginning to show the stage

A location shot is an image in movies or comics that shows the reader where the action takes place, which can be a simple drawing of a city skyline or a detailed representation of a clearing in the forest. Make the first 2-3 pictures pictures of the scene so readers know where the action is taking place.

  • Use a separate location socket for each new location. It is normal for a story to take place in 4 to 5 different places.
  • A common technique is the "zoom" of the action. For example, you can start by drawing the skyline of a city in the first panel. The second panel can show the street in which the story takes place. The third panel may show a single window in which the person sitting at a desk can be seen. This is a good way to establish where the character is without using written words.


You may notice that comics generally start with 1 to 2 large panels showing the setting. This is a good way to hook the reader and give him a clear first impression of the layout, style, and look of the stage.

Make a Comic Book Step 18
Make a Comic Book Step 18

Step 3. Add detail and ink to the characters, leaving room for speech bubbles

Once you are done with the design and have sketched what goes on in each panel, start adding the details. Use a pencil or tablet to sketch out more visual information and erase or remove the guidelines before inking the characters with black ink lines. Add essential textures, facial features, and details to give images some definition.

Add details to all bullets in chronological order for a consistent drawing style. However, if that doesn't worry you, you can ink and color the vignettes individually

Make a Comic Book Step 9
Make a Comic Book Step 9

Step 4. Color the characters and create the background textures

Once you've finished inking the characters, add color to make them stand out on the page. Draw the backgrounds and use a variety of drawing techniques to create them. Even if the action takes place in a city, you don't need to draw a detailed landscape in each panel. In fact, that can cause images to be cluttered and contain too much visual information.

  • If you're working digitally, watercolor brushes can make abstract backgrounds pop and keep the focus on the action.
  • If you draw the cartoon by hand, use cross tracing, which is a set of perpendicular lines that create interesting abstract backgrounds.
  • Once you've provided the reader with a location shot to indicate where the action is taking place, readers will assume that the characters are in that location in subsequent vignettes. You do not need to be continually reminded with itemized funds.
  • Hand-drawn comics can be made with markers, colored pencils, or a combination of the two. It depends on you.

Step 5. Touch up the illustrations and add textures and minor elements

Once most of the vignettes are finished, add minor details or textures to the images. Use a smaller marker to draw facial hair, beads of sweat, or special features of the characters. Go through each vignette and ask yourself "Does this image stand on its own as an individual work of art?" If the answer is no, you may need to keep working on the image and add more details until it looks like a complete work.

If you are doing a simple comic, there is nothing wrong with emphasizing the story rather than the images. Feel free to stop when you are satisfied with each vignette

Make a Comic Book Step 7
Make a Comic Book Step 7

Step 6. Finish the story by adding the dialogue

Add the dialogue to the bubbles digitally or by writing it. If you are writing it by hand, use a ruler and pencil to draw horizontal lines to write it evenly. If you add dialogue digitally, download a free comic book font that readers will recognize to reduce the chances that the dialogue will not fit the comic book aesthetic.

  • Common fonts for comic books include Komika, Adam Warren’s pro font, and Badaboom. These are universally recognizable fonts that people will immediately become familiar with. Using a non-traditional font can make the story look unprofessional.
  • Download free comic book fonts online by clicking the following link:
  • If you draw the letters by hand, be sure to space them evenly and keep the style even to avoid inconsistent appearance.
  • If a character yells or if you want to add a sound effect like "Boo!" or "Arghh!", feel free to put it outside a speech bubble with a different font.

Method 3 of 3: Choose a Medium

Make a Comic Book Step 11
Make a Comic Book Step 11

Step 1. Create a paper comic if you want to photocopy an original sample of the work

If you want to do it the old-fashioned way, feel free to create the cartoon on paper and by hand. While you can use standard printer paper, there are sketchbooks designed for comics in which each page is larger to make it easier to draw details. Some of these are designed to be folded in half for easy photocopying.

  • If you make an original cartoon on paper, you can photocopy it to reproduce it. You can even bind it and turn it into a book at the press.
  • If you use paper that is folded in half, each sheet will have two separate pages. For example, if the comic has 32 pages, the first sheet will have page 1 on the left side and page 32 on the right. The next sheet will have page 2 on the left and page 31 on the right. This is why thumbnails are so important. Each sheet will have 4 pages if you use the front and back of the paper. When binding the book, you should place the sheets one on top of the other and staple them in the center so that the pages are in sequential order.

Step 2. Work from a template or a blank cartoon to make things easier

There are tons of templates online that can be printed to draw directly on these. This method will save you from having to worry about the size of the bullets. As if it were to create a cartoon from scratch, this method will make it easy to reproduce it, since you will only have to photocopy the pages on a printer.

You can find many free templates online by clicking on the following link:


You can buy blank comics that are bound, but if something goes wrong you will have to start all over again. In addition, it is almost impossible to reproduce these books without distorting the images near the spine. However, they are a good option if you are making a comic for a school project or something similar.

Step 3. Use an online program to create simple digital comics

There are several free resources available online for making elemental comics; however, most do not provide the kind of creative control that most illustrators desire. However, if you're making a short story or working on a school project, these can make creating the story a breeze. You can use programs like Pixton, Strip Generator, and Make Beliefs to create simple comics in an online browser.

  • You can find a good program for making short digital comics by clicking on the following link: https://www.pixton.com/. Pixton uses predesigned characters that you can customize and give them original dialogue.
  • Make Beliefs is an easy-to-use site that you can find at the following link: https://www.makebeliefscomix.com/Comix/. It also uses predesigned characters and you can only have a total of 18 panels.
  • You can find Strip Generator at the following link: http://stripgenerator.com/. The program allows you to import images and draw your own characters, but the customization options can be difficult to take full advantage of if you are not good at digital illustration.

Step 4. Work entirely in Illustrator to make a professional-looking comic book

Most professional comic illustrators work entirely on digital programs such as Adobe Illustrator, ArtRage, Affinity, or Procreate. Through these programs you can draw each vignette individually and then import the images to resize them to fit the vignettes of a new project. This method is much more time-consuming, but guarantees full creative control and allows you to undo mistakes, rearrange vignettes digitally, and make major changes without risking ruining the original art.

  • If you're interested in self-publishing, you can import your templates into Blurb and pay to have the comics professionally printed. Visit Blurb by clicking on the following link:
  • Most professional illustrators use a drawing board that connects to the computer. This board looks like a big screen where you draw with a stylus. This is the most efficient way to draw digitally.


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