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Tutorial: Comic Creation Overview

Tutorial: Comic Creation Overview published on

If you would like to make animated comics, there are a number of ways to do it.  Here’s an overview of the process I’ve developed for my own comic.  Later, I’ll elaborate on the steps in more detail, with pictures.

Step 0: Plan Ahead

Ask yourself a few questions about your vision and your technical specifications.  What’s your story?  Why make it an animated comic?  Who do you want to reach and how do you want to reach them?  How much of your life are you willing to spend?  Do some research.  Decide on pesky details like aspect ratio and resolution.  You will be happier later.

Step 1a: Write A Script

For panels with animation, describe the beginning, middle, and end.  By asking your audience to click to continue, you’re asking them to expend more energy than normal reading.  Make sure it’s worth it.  On the other hand, don’t try to cram too much plot into one panel.  If you’re the animator, try to estimate the number of frames ahead of time so you know how much work you’re getting yourself into.  Hint: it’s a lot.

Step 1b: Design A Look

Make some decisions about style.  The more elaborate you get, the longer it will take in the Clean Up step, exponentially.  Remember how much time you were willing to spend?  Design with you in mind.

Step 2: Thumbnail Page Layout

Draw small, and draw to your aspect ratio.  Explore panel size and shape.  Storyboard your animations.  Tweak your script and frame totals if needed – the script is not set in stone.

Step 3: Thumbnail Animation

Get the poses, timing and spacing.  See if the action flows from one panel to the next.  If possible, test interactivity – the feel of animation can change when it’s interactive.  In this step, you’ll discover most of your estimations were a little off (or a lot).  You will get new ideas, and this is still a good time to pursue them.

Step 4: Clean Up & Color Animation

Make it pretty, but don’t take forever.  You have more work to do.

Step 5: Wire It Up

Put it through your favorite interactivity-building software.  Be mindful of the devices you intend to reach and optimize for them.  This is a costly time to pursue new ideas – choose only the ones that will significantly improve your story.  Otherwise you will be doomed to development hell.

Step 6: Get It Out There

Publish your comic someplace (you should already know where – you did your research).  Make sure the people who want to read your comic know how to find it.


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