thrice great hermes
by stanley lieber
start with a blank sheet of paper. common sizes include: 5.5" x 8.5", 8.5" x 11", 8.5" x 14", and the venerable 11" x 17", though sizes at the larger end of the spectrum can be expensive. a fully realized comic book may be created for around five dollars if the artist isn’t picky about materials.
next, the page must be laid out in pencil. some clever artists skip this step, and work directly on the page in ink, but for our purposes roughing out the page with any non-permanent graphite lead will do.
at this stage the lettering of word balloons, captions, and sound effects (onomatopoeia) is added in ink, whether from a pre-written script, or, less frequently, improvised by the artist. performing the permanent lettering immediately after the pencils are turned in also allows for any last minute adjustments to the artwork to be decided upon before it is committed to its final form in the next step.
finally, the page’s linework is tightened up by tracing it in black ink. most artists tend to prefer india ink, but any form of black line (including, it should be noted, thick, dark pencil markings) is acceptable, so long as the result is reproducible by mechanical means. modern production techniques, often involving computers, are more forgiving on this point.
color is optional. a typical self-financed, self-published comic may find color reproduction to be prohibitively expensive.
at the end of the project the artist will find he has created a comic book story of however many lovingly, painstakingly assembled pages comprise his completed graphic narrative. the satisfaction of crafting a tale well told is found by most artists sufficient to quell the pangs of loneliness typically suffered by those who exhibit a sensitive nature, including some of the most celebrated practitioners of cartoon art in the modern era.
drawing comics makes you crazy, but if you follow these steps, we guarantee you’ll hardly even notice.