Published On: June 19, 2023

I don’t like to brag.

How to make a comic.

Here's the behind the scene's look, of what it took to make this weeks episode. Each episode starts with the writing or in my case loose thumbnails. Each issue (10 pages) are written months in advance from the penciling of the comic. This is to let the story breath a little and to come back to the writing with fresh eyes when its time to draw the page. I don't rewrite the entire comic each time, but I do edit it as needed. There are times where the original dialog is to long to fit in the panels, so I have to edit down the ideas and us my illustrations to tell the story.

The next step is in the process is to pencil the pages. I also letter the comic in pencil during this stage. I layout each panel to make sure there's enough room for the word balloons and that anything visually important to the story will not get covered by the word balloons.

[caption id="attachment_677" align="alignnone" width="300"]striped-bandits-penciled-comic-book-page-3-issue-5-by-sam-mccauley Penciled Page from Striped Bandits issue 5 page 3[/caption] [caption id="attachment_678" align="alignnone" width="300"]striped-bandits-penciled-comic-book-page-4-issue-5-by-sam-mccauley Penciled Page from Striped Bandits issue 5 page 4[/caption]

The first panel on page 3 is an establishing shot. It's important to add establishing shots when the story changes location that way the reader knows where the story is taking place. I also like to bounce the camera in and out from panel to panel to create variation and interest to the images. Panels 2 and 3 on page 4 are close ups of the character heads used to emphasis the joke being told. Then the camera pulls away from the characters in the birds eye view (camera is above the characters) in the last panel. The reason for pulling the camera away from the speaker is to help create the dramatic reveal on the next page.

Penciling Comics is the part of making comics I enjoy the most. The penciling of this comic is kept pretty loose and each page takes about an hour from start to finish. I still pencil my comic pages traditionally on letter size paper using lead pencils on a clip board. The traditional size of comic artboards are 11x17, but for this comic I have decided to use 8 1/2x11 paper. I make my own "blueline" paper by printing the correct comic page proportions and boarder on my paper before drawing on them. (click here for the free template I use).

Onto the next step, inking the comic. I do most of the refinement to the images in the inking stage, adding details and background at this time. When I started making this comic everything was done traditionally, but I have recently changed to all digital except for penciling. In the beginning I used an ink brush on card stock paper and then colored with markers right on top of the inks. Now I use the iPad Pro and Procreate with the true grit monomania brush pack specifically the rough mono liner (as this brush mimics the ink line I was getting with the traditional brush pen I was previously using).


[caption id="attachment_679" align="alignnone" width="234"]striped-bandits-comic-issue-5-page-3-inked Inked Comic Page from Striped Bandits issue 5 page 3[/caption] [caption id="attachment_680" align="alignnone" width="234"]striped-bandits-comic-issue-5-page-4-inked Inked Comic Page from Striped Bandits issue 5 page 4[/caption]

The pages above were inked traditionally with a brush pen and mechanical pencil on card stock and scanned in with an epson scanner.

[caption id="attachment_681" align="alignnone" width="199"]striped-bandits-issue-5-page-3-colored Digitally Colored Comic Page from Striped Bandits issue 5 page 3[/caption] [caption id="attachment_682" align="alignnone" width="222"]striped-bandits-issue-5-page-4-colored Digitally Colored Comic Page from Striped Bandits issue 5 page 4[/caption]

Coloring the Comic is done digitally with an iPad Pro and the Procreate app. For an more in depth explanation of how I color my comics read here. I try to add mood and help panels I feel are more important or visually interesting with the color palettes I choose. 

Next I letter the comic, this was also done traditionally when I started making this comic but have since switch to doing the lettering digitally by hand on the iPad Pro using Procreate. I don't letter my comic using a comic font, but hand letter it using digital tools. I do my lettering in a separate file and then past them into final colored page (for a page based comic) and I also make separate digital files to make the webcomic and social media posts.


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