Making A Webcomic From Ideation To Execution

By September 17, 2014 19 Comments
Millie Ho Webcomic

Idea Map for Friend Badger‘s design.

When I first started SORROWBACON, I couldn’t find any resources online that gave me insight on how webcomics were made, so when I finally made my own webcomic, I promised myself that I would document my process so that others can benefit in some way.

So here it is: making a webcomic, from ideation to execution.

1. Ideation

This is the most difficult part. Now, I know my strengths, specifically that I’m capable of seeing one idea in multiple ways, but the downside of visualizing so many possibilities at once is that your brain starts to sputter after a while and you get mad analysis paralysis. So I switched gears and started making Big Picture Idea Maps.

Sorrowbacon Ideation

These Idea Maps can be in either list form or as an expansive visual spread. Idea Maps aren’t so much storylines as they are micro-ideas. And these micro-ideas often come to me at the most unexpected moments, which gives me ample opportunity to look like a total weirdo in the middle of a conversation as I get out my sketchpad and document them with wild abandon.

2. Illustration

OK, this is the fun part. This is where facial expressions rule and the laws of gravity no longer applies. Of course, some webcomics don’t need that much art to convey an idea (XKCD, anyone?), but I love drawing strange-looking critters in moral quagmires, so that is what I will do.

Sorrowbacon Webcomic Drawing Process

After I select the unlucky idea for execution, I draw faint outlines using pencil. (Ruler not actually used, but to give off an aura of precision and finesse.)

Sorrowbacon Drawing Webcomic Process

Then I outline in ink. Notice the change in table background. I don’t draw in one setting, and would usually do something else before jumping back in. That’s one way of keeping the mind fresh.

Drawing Sorrowbacon Webcomic Process

Close to completion! Now I pop this into the scanner and use Photoshop to do minor touchups before publishing online.

And there you go. Father angst in two-dimensional six panel feline form.

3. Execution

Execution, to me, means how this whole webcomic business all comes together. Yeah, I’ll admit it, I don’t like planning storylines in advance. Similar to how I write my novel, I have a general idea of where a story is going, but don’t care much about the details. Execution is everything, and details can come later.

And, let’s face it, if you planned your webcomic to the Nth degree, where’s the fun in writing and drawing? Writing and drawing is about taking a baby idea and seeing how far you can take it. Or how far it can take you. And that’s where spontaneity comes in.

If you look at earlier SORROWBACON webcomics compared to more recent entries, there is a very noticeable difference in style. And that’s the way it should be.

So add a little spontaneity to your routine! All that matters is that you have an idea, draw, and get the work out there as soon as you can.

I hope this very simple guide helped!

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