A comic is a string of sequential panels that are both literary and visual in their storytelling. Striking the balance between what is said with words and shown with pictures is essential to creating an immersive reading experience.
Write a short script for a one-page comic. A practical starting point is to think about a small event that happened to you, for example:
When was the last time you cried?
What was the last object you broke?
What was the last gift you gave?
What was the last cooking disaster you had?
Record the specifics of this event: where you were, what you felt, who else was involved, what the repercussions were. The text can be as meandering or blunt as you like.
Now, it’s time to switch roles – you’re no longer a writer. Take that cap off, and put another one on.
Take a sheet of paper and divide it up into a series of panels: 6, 9 or 12. Allocate lines of your script to each of the panels. The text may appear as captions under, or over the image in each panel, or be spoken as a bubble of dialogue. Then start to sketch some accompanying visuals. It’s important to be ruthless with your author self; remove any extraneous text that describes the visuals, carve up sentences; weed out unnecessary words and switch lines around.
You may be quite literal and draw yourself – but why not recast yourself as someone, or something else? Again, remember to indulge your visual interests in your artwork; fill your comic with the things you love drawing. Even if these seem at odds with the text itself, this can create compelling tension between the two.
Consider how each panel is composed individually, while being mindful of the panels around it.
Use repetition wisely, for example, if you have a character speaking dialogue for the majority of your comic, you may slip in to having a lot of similar panel compositions. Vary the framing, with wides and close ups, or even cut away from your character on an important line of text, to make it more impactful to your reader.