Introduction: How to Make a Comic Strip
Hi! I’m glad you came here! Welcome to How to Make a Comic Strip! In this I will teach you how to make your own comic strip (hence the title) and characters. I will teach you comic strip arrangement and even how to draw the characters and many tips along the way!
-paper (preferably something sturdy and white, but feel free to use what you have)
-black marker/pen (tip: don’t use a Sharpie, they will bleed and can leave your comic illegible! I recommend the Fabre Castell Pitt Artist Pen, they are wonderful and come in all different sizes, including a brush. (Not sponsored, I just like them.))
-eraser (I prefer a stand alone eraser, but you can use the one on your pencil as well)
Step 1: Creating a Character
This step is very important! You have to do it or else there would not even be a comic! This requires an imagination! I can’t tell you what your characters should or shouldn’t be. There is no limits! I can, however, give you some guidelines for building your character.
First, decide what your focus is on. Do you want your comics to tell a story, deliver a message, or just be plain old fun? Is this a one time character or a character you use over again? Is your comic going to be in black and white or color? What do you want the character to be like? Sarcastic? Funny? Or maybe stern? Your choice!
Second, decide what you want the character to look like. Tall? Short? Skinny? Short hair? What is there gender? Male? Female? Or maybe even Non-binary? This is when you should focus on color as well, but since my comics are manly black and white, I don’t worry about it to much.
Third, start sketching! Draw your character (which I will teach you to do in the next step)! By now you should know what you want your character to look like and what your main focus is, now time to dive deeper!
Fourth, their name! Decide on a good solid name for your character. (Tip: I would keep it somewhat short because the name will eventually have to fit in a thought bubble.)
Fifth, what I like to do to start thinking of stories is figure out what they, as a character, are like. Some good questions are... What is their age? Likes? Dislikes? And possibly even what they are allergic to. This should help give you an idea of what your first story is about.
As I said, there are no limitations! Use your imagination! The possibilities are limitless!
Step 2: How to Draw a Simple Cartoon Character
DISCLAIMER: Keep in mind this is just the way I draw my characters. You can change or modify it in any way or use a completely different approach. IF YOUR CHARACTER IS NOT A HUMAN OR YOU ALREADY KNOW HOW TO DRAW A SIMPLE CARTOON HUMAN, PLEASE SKIP! Thank you! :)
First, start with a clean price of paper and a pencil.
Next, draw a circle, this will eventually become a part of the head. Draw little lines at the most outer point of the circle (as pictured). Draw a line down the center of the circle. Draw a slanted line from the shorter lines to the center. (Follow the picture for a more clear view.)
Then, draw two lines curved inward to form the neck. Draw a half crescent connecting the neck lines. Draw the shoulders as a drawn out half moon shape coming from the neck. (Tip: don’t draw them to high or tilted up it may make you character to tense, exclude this tip if that is what look you want your character to have.) Now, draw the ears. There are many ways to do this I will picture a few. Draw the ears right where the jaw lines where drawn.
For the body, draw lines down where the shoulders ended, these will form the arms, so don’t make them to long. Now draw a line for the body shape. Draw a straight line connecting the lines you just drew. Extend the arms a little further. Now draw the legs. They should be longer than the body lines. Draw lines in between those lines. (I know real specific, this is why I recommend you follow the pictures!) Draw the shoes. There are multiple ways to do this as well, I will again picture them. For hands I usually just do mitten hands because hands are definitely not my specialty, but you can do it however you like! (Tip: When drawing hands always remember which way the thumbs go!)
Finally, add detail! This is where you make your character specific to its self! In the pictures I will show some details you can do.
When done, outline in your small tipped marker and erase! DON’T OUTLINE GUIDELINES! And BOOM your done!
Step 3: The Story
The point of a comic strip is to tell a short story, usually in 6 panels or under. If you have an idea, make sure it can be told in this number of panels, for a comic strip. Here are some prompts if you need help starting...
- Your character discovers their favorite food
- Your character goes shopping
-They helps with dinner
-Your character builds something
-Their first plane/train ride
-They do an art and craft
-They make a comic strip ;)
There are many,many,many ideas you could do! The possibilities are endless!
Step 4: Laying Out Your Comic Strip
Think about your story and decide what the dest layout would be. Maybe the classic 6 panel would work? Or a 5 panel? Remember to keep the layout in a rectangle shape!
For my example I am going to be doing a 6 panel.
Get a clean sheet of paper, a pencil, and a ruler. Make one long top line with the ruler. Mine is about 7 1/2 inches long. Next draw another line with a ruler down from the edge of the previous line. Mine is 4 inches long. Repeat, but flip the direction to have a rectangle. Split into 3 different sections, evenly spaced. Then split the rectangle in even halves horizontally. Erase lines for different sized panels, if needed. And you have your self a panel.
Step 5: Draw!
Draw your story! (Tip: Leave room for talking/thought bubbles!) Give your characters visible emotion. (Tip: Don’t have your character say “oh I’m sad today”, show it! Draw them how they are feeling!) This step is sorta self explanatory, so be creative! And have fun! This step does take the longest, so be patient! (Tip: Don’t have to much detail! It will make it look cluttered.)
Now, trace everything with your black pen of your choice! (Remember, no Sharpie!) Now erase the pencil marks and everyone you have your comic strip! Congratulations! Don’t forget to sign it!
Step 6: Congrats!
You are completed! I would love to see you guys’s comic strips, so please share! If you have any suggestions, steps, or more tips please feel free to comment below! Thank you for letting me lead you through the comic strip journey!