Making (Love To) Comics: Prologue: Getting It Up


There comes a time in every young person’s life when

Your mother and I thought it would be

Who’s seen The Last Tango in Paris

Let’s begin with a troubling letter from a misguided youth:


Dear Mr. Montgomery, [That’s my dad’s name. Just call me Paul or PMoney]

I like comic books. My favorite guy is Green Lantern Killowog(sp?) because on the cartoon he reminds me of the sensitive but authoritative man from the Allstate Insurance commercials on TV. I also like the series Criminal because it is good and the nakedness in it. I would like to write comic books some day. I got paper from the printer to do pages and I asked to borrow my dad’s stapler and he said as long as I wasn’t backyard wrestling that would be ok. I would like to write about animals who become powered by electricity or rocks and who are sarcastic. My brother said that you have to live in New York New York or in Oregon to write comics?  Is this true? I ask because you write about comics every week and I am sure you have written some but maybe they’re not popular so people haven’t heard of them which is why you have to write about comics now instead of just writing them.

Toby, Age 8, Cottonwood, Arizona

P.S. If George Clooney has puppies can I have one. [Josh?]

 



This is just one example of the many emails and letters I receive each week regarding the process of writing comics and the innate charm of television’s Dennis Haysbert. I think a lot of readers, myself included, want to develop a more active role in this medium, whether that means writing or drawing comics casually or as a career, or simply gaining a deeper understanding of the creative process to better appreciate our weekly stack of books. We already like comics, but we want to take it to the next level. We want to see comics naked. Salacious? Hopefully.   

I’ve never written a comic, but… how shall I put this? In the months since I started writing this column, I’ve seen more of comics than I ever had before. In commenting on comics, in reading and writing about the industry, I’ve had the occasion to pass through the backstage dressing room. I wasn’t trying to peep, I swear. But comics are pretty visible, stomping around with things undid and undone. The process is all there, hanging out. Draped across blogs and spread open on Twitter. We talk about this all the time. The industry is a small one, and so much of it is transparent. We have more and more access. We should take the hint.

One of my resolutions this year is to learn as much as I can about the making of comics and to document that process. It irks me when that smug Josh Flanagan looks at a page and can immediately assess its economy, its rhythmic qualities. I’ve seen him do it and I’ve heard him talk about it. It’s like backpacking across Europe and ending up at a hostel in Germany. And you’re at one end of the table idly stirring your porridge or whatever and he’s at the other end talking to the triplets from the gift shop. Laughing. In whatever language it is they speak in Germany. But you don’t know that language, so for all you know they could be talking about anything. The size of your ears, say. And you have no idea because smug Josh Flanagan, not you, is the the keeper of the secret code. Just because you turned down that free trial of Rosetta Stone: That Language They Speak in Germany Level One. What an awful vacation.   

I’d like to be able to take a comic book page and view the mechanics, to deconstruct it in my mind and value the choices the writer and artist have made, wouldn’t you? We need to gain the same kind of intangible X-ray glasses that that pervert Josh Flanagan uses to see the unmentionables of sequential art. It doesn’t require the mailing of any proofs of purchase. It’s there for the taking.

But that’s only part of it.

I think that, given your individual level of interest, we should start making some comics. and showcasing that work on iFanboy. If you have any desire at all to create a comic, whether it’s a simple comic strip or a complete graphic novel, this is an ideal opportunity to do so. Because you’re not dead. And I’m willing to believe that all you need is the desire and a pulse. Maybe it won’t get finished this year, but start making a list of all the things you need to make it happen sooner than later. As long as you’re headed for that goal, that’s progress. 

Last night I started reading Making Comics by Scott McCloud. I’d already read Understanding Comics which is as comprehensive a primer on the anatomy of a comic book you’re likely to find. But Making Comics is that definitive turn into actively pursuing a mastery of the techniques. Making Comics is geared towards full-on cartoonists, those who want to create a comic book as writer and artist. Me, I’m interested in scripting. But even still, I value the opportunity to learn about illustration as well. As writers, we need to know what’s possible, and we need to know how best to visualize the information we’re relaying. The most significant lessons to be gleaned from Making Comics pertain to clarity and the understanding that, if a story is information, the success of that story is in how we parcel out that information. Imagine story as a balloon full of air. The storyteller attends to the opening of that balloon, letting out the air in a Morse code series of puffs. The art of revealing information is in the way we release that information. And if you prefer the sexual analogy I established earlier to this nonsense about balloons, release is probably the key term.

I’m still going through Making Comics, a book which impresses me at every turn. A comic book might be the ideal medium for teaching and instruction because you can read it at whatever pace you’d like. And you know, pretty pictures. I’ve looked at other books about the process, but this is honestly the only comics specific text worth mentioning. For me, this is the definitive guide to the way that particular medium works. That said, it’s not the only book I can recommend for writing story, which is a subject that encompasses many mediums.

Personally, I’m trained in dramatic writing, and I want to recommend a book from that end of the spectrum. Screenplay: Writing the Picture by Russin and Downs is a great investment and provides a fundamental education in structure, character, and dialogue. It’s important to understand the mechanics of storytelling before then delving into the techniques specific to the medium you intend to use. But more important than theory is practice. We have to understand how all these rules and tips and tricks are applied. That’s where reading scripts comes in. I think movie scripts (avoid ‘transcripts’ which are useless) are worth looking at at the start because they’re a little more rigid than comic scripts (mostly because they’re intended for a wider readership and not tooled towards an individual artist with a unique relationship to the writer). But it’s obviously important to see how a comic writer communicates with an artist for our purposes, so I refer you to the Comic Book Script Archive.

This is just the prologue to the process. I wanted to get the gears moving and to gauge your interest in this idea of actively wooing comics. Do you dream of writing or drawing comics some day? Are you already working on something? Can you recommend any resources for those of us trying to get our toes wet?

Let’s prove Toby’s idiot brother wrong. Let’s try.

Allow yourself to be god awful. You have to be willing to be a terrible writer before you can be damned good at it. So, let’s get to work. We can compare notes next month, when we’ll talk a little more about scripting.


Paul Montgomery writes romance novels under the pen name Norah Hess. Contact him at paul@ifanboy.com. You can also find him on Twitter.  

 

 

Comments

  1. George Clooney used to have a pet pig, which I believe died not too long ago.  Why do I know this… I have no idea.

  2. It was a vietnamese potbellied pig. I believe he also has a bulldog, or did until recently. Also, I can guarantee, save divine intervention, my George will not have puppies.

    As far as my "abilities" go, I might be able to recognize the economy of a page, but I haven’t mastered recreating that yet.  It’s a lifelong pursuit.

  3. Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    Don’t listen to Josh, people!  He just wants all the comic making to himself!  We can do this! 

  4. The saying goes, "Everyone in America is writing a screenplay," and I think that applies doubly for comic book fans. I know I’ve given it a thought or two over the years, so I appreciate you and Josh (a few weeks ago) supplying for us a starting point for us.

  5. I totally just stole Toby’s idea for a series about Sarcastic Rocks and sold it to Vertigo.

    Phillip Bond is drawing it. It’s coming out in August.

    Suck it, Toby from Cottonwood! Instead of talking about it, you shoulda been writing!

  6. The most difficult part of any creative process is getting past the confidence issues.  How do you find the arrogance that says someone will want to see these ideas in my head?  Further, how do you over come when and if those ideas aren’t accepted?

  7. On a more serious note: Paul — you’re a student of the craft (of writing, not the Wiccan kind) — I don’t think you need to worry too much here. You just need to, as you say, DO it. I had a similar feeling years ago when trying to write film scripts for the first time. I had studied prose and poetry, but I felt like I just couldn’t figure out how to think like a screenwriter, from the structure to the format. It bothered me. I felt like I couldn’t play at the screenwriter’s table. Thing is? it was really all in my head. I just needed to write and I would figure it out. And it turned out it wasn’t really as difficult as I thought. And I understood it better than I thought I did.

    My point here is: you read comics. You take your art seriously. You’ve read McCloud and you’ve read comics scripts. You have everything at your fingertips. Don’t let The Language They Speak in Germany get in the way.

  8. Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    @Luthor – I guess it does take a bit of arrogance.  Which worries me sometimes because I don’t have a drop of vanity in my veins. 

    Stop laughing.  

    Here’s the thing.  You don’t know if you’re awesome or terrible unto you’ve done it.  And the more you do it, the better you get.  That’s just how it works.  So you can sit and worry about your hypothetical failure and produce nothing, or you can take a chance.  And keep taking chances until you inevitably get it right.  It’s trial and error.  Confidence isn’t so much knowing you’re going to succeed as it’s knowing that even if you trip up, that’s not the end of the story and you have the capacity to do it again.  And more people have that ability than not.  You just have to give it a shot.  It’s worth the gamble, because there’s no better feeling in the world than creating something.  And there’s no worse feeling in the world than wondering if you could have made something.  

    @Dave – Despie your best efforts I have not learned the dark arts.  I am returning the cauldron you sent me.  As for the writing stuff, you’re probably right.  Well, you’re definitely right.  But part of this is about working up the excitement needed to follow through in this endeavor.  And beyond simply learning how techniques are applied, immersing myself in theory and such is also a good way to inspire the need and desire to write.  It’s the way I get motivated.  And I’m the kind of person who needs that.  As I type this I am now worries about carrying over the analogy of performance enhancers and……relief pitchers and …..done.  No more.  Okay, you make a good point though.  People do get caught up in reading about the process and end up stalling from doing it.  So, let’s all agree to learn, motivate ourselves, and then attack the page with abandon.  The action of writing is the only part that matters in the end.  

  9. I concur that Russin and Downs = awesome.

  10. And Scott McCloud, too. But that goes without saying.

  11. @Luthor – I look at it as confidence rather than arrogance. We all have doubts, of course, but the trick is to really believe that what you have is worth saying. The flipside of that is that you have to be prepared to overcome when they’re not well-received. I don’t think there’s a trick to it — just maintaining the confidence that what you have is worth saying — maybe you just said it slightly wrong or to the wrong people. And so you remedy those two points and keep going.

    @Paul – I get where you’re coming from — I think that this can hinder us sometimes, too. We get too caught up in the theory and it actually creates more anxiety than necessary. It’s like reading a book about football. Sure, it can give you some pointers and some basic guidelines, but there’s no better way to learn than to get out on the field.

  12. I’ve been writing for a long time (Eh, or it feels like a long time?) and I’ve come a long way. Two years ago, I didn’t really know what I wanted to do with that though, as far as somehow helping to support myself goes. Then I started reading comics again (After the obligatory years and years not reading since childhood) and THEN the video show started up and that, combined with a job working with other comic lovers, made me realize that this comics were what I wanted to write some day.

    Last week I went to the library to grab McCloud’s Making Comics, but it was checked out. I own Understanding Comics, and love it, as well as some other similar books that I enjoy too.

    I cannot draw. At all, I have the visual artistic talent of a five year old. After a long while of skulking and moping that SOMETHING clicked and I realized that, at best, this just limited the type of story I could currently make into a comic by myself and, at worst, it meant maybe all my drawings would end up being is a rough guideline for a more mature artist I would meet along the way that would want a part in creating comics.

     It’s weird this article popped up today, as I have been up literary all night doing just that – creating a comic that looks like it was drawn by a five year old. Given my lack of drawing skills (Though they can only get better, right?) I decided that I should work on something sort of light hearted and/or humorous (Though I have no idea how to SIT DOWN AND BE FUNNY… at all! 😀 ) and I did a short 6 panel comic strip thing (I have a bunch of stuff with the same characters written but this was the first time I simply sat down and came up with a mostly finished product – if anyone wants to see my attempt haha http://www.cameroncallahan.net/static/antidrug/ ).

    I want to share some other comic related podcasts with everyone, if you don’t mind. In particular Art and Story, which is two people (Jerzy Drozd and Mark Rudolph – comic creators who have been published and self publish and do web comics) talk about the craft and dissect it as best they can. – http://www.cvcomics.com/artandstory/

    There is also http://minicomicsdumptruck.blogspot.com/ where they talk about making mini comics (And actually do it and at the end they share them and talk all about them, sort of interesting. 

     And important to note that you really can just do what that kid wanted to do and grab some printer paper, draw and write dialog, fold cut and staple. You can scan that and make a PDF to share that others can downlaod and fold and staple.  

    LET’S ALL MAKE AWESOME COMICS OKAY GUYS WE CAN DO IT! :D? 

  13. I demand satisfaction Mr. Montgomery, I accept your challenge! Key strokes at dawn.

  14. Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    @sgrsickness – You have a great conversational rhythm there.  The way that webcomic is presented, with page breaks, makes for a really funny button at the end there.  It’s also cool because you’re ending on a visual punchline rather than the typical spoken punchline.  You don’t see that a lot.  You should make more of these, showcasing your strengths as a writer and suggesting the potential for these stories in a visual format.  That way you have something to show to an artist if you’re looking to find a collaborator.  Thanks for sharing your work! 

  15. One of my new year resolutions is to teach myself how to draw a little.  I was looking for a decent teach yourself manual on Amazon dot com not too long ago, but they had such a massive selection, I didn’t know where to begin!!  Anybody have any recommendations for where a true amateur would wanna start?  Feel free to contact me.

  16. @ Paul, Dave, and Luthor Arrogance can be a bad thing, I use to be arrogant as hell when it came to writing. The first thing I wrote, Darkside Blues, is god awful, but I thought I was writing the next great American Fantasy Novel. It was going to be a New York best seller (a list that I now no longer care to be on). When I showed the first 15 pages to someone who knew a bit about writing it came back riddled with notes and red marks. My bubble was burst. It took me months to get back to writing, I actually feared to write anything because I concentrated on getting it right the first time. That doesn’t work.

                 I like how Dave used Confidence instead. I’ve learned that my ability to come up with a story is above average and that gives me confidence. My writing isn’t near par to most writers or publishers out there but knowing that I’m not on par is a good thing. I can look at my own work with a critical eye and say “Yea that’s bad” or “I’m pushing that too much”. Also “allowing myself to be a terrible writer” does make in comfortable to write. It’s actually a confidence booster.

  17. Fk’n Josh Flanagan! That’s hilarious. It’s as if he’s taken on the role of Scott Fargas from "A Christmas Story", always giving us a hard time on our way to school. The backpacking story’s an arc in itself. Can we start there?

  18. Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    Just don’t expect to be Alan Moore on your first outting, and you’ll be fine.  The real goal is to finish a draft of a sort of terrible comic.  Then to make it better.  And better.  And better.

  19. @PaulMontgomery – Thanks! I had intended to spend the night creating a 16 page minicomic, having about two strips in it. However, I only finished that one. But that last panel was planned to be when you turn the page in the booklet form, and thought it needed to be preserved on here. I hadn’t planned on really showing it to people but then I saw this article. I’M NOT A RELIGIOUS PERSON BUT IF I WAS I’D SAY IT WAS A SIGN. I had planned on doing as many of these as I could find in my head, hopefully with each new one being a little bit better. So thanks for reading! And for writing these awesome articles 😀

    @robbydzwonar  – Well, I don’t have much to offer, sadly. I took an art class a few years back and had a BLAST and while the two big projects we did I think I turned out some decent work on my simple, day to day drawings were horrible. I’ve looked into a number of beginning drawing books and I don’t get much progress from those. Maybe that’s just me and has to do with how I learn or something, but I’d say if you can afford it take a beginning art class at the local community college. Aside from that, go toy our library and flip through some, check some out. I wouldn’t buy one until you see if a book is something that you can learn this artform from.

  20. I actually have a comic done.  Well, it’s sort of a comic.  As many know, I’m getting married this summer.  My fiance and I were trying to think of a cool way to incorporate comics without doing something completely dorky and off putting.  I have a friend who was an art major (and a comic dork like me), so I thought of the idea of creating a comic about the history of our relationship that guests could read at the wedding.  It will probably be part of the program, and it’s going to be boss!

    Once everything gets finalized, I’ll post it on the boards, or maybe mail it to Paul to put somewhere on the site…or something. 

  21. Neb, I love your wedding comic idea, how fantastic! 

    Paul — This is really interesting to me because I really enjoy reading about craft but I’m not nearly as experienced in, well, applying it.  I get so caught up in the theory that it gets in my way.  So then I react by ‘just writing’ and then I end up with a lot of beginnings, a few middles, and very few endings.   Because I don’t have a shape for what the final product ought to look like.  

    I should say I work in prose fiction, not comics — I keep saying comics and film aren’t my media so I can just ENJOY them, while comparing myself to other prose writers is stressful.  But then if you ask me why I’m NOT thinking about writing for comics, I don’t have a good answer.  Over the last few months, I’ve witnessed some of the process of people like Josh and my friend Sigrid make the transition into ‘people who write comics’ and it’s really inspiring.

    So what are your thoughts on finding a balance between the need for structure and the equally important need to just get the words out?  And what about the balance of working in different media.  There’s a lot to think about here.

    And I also want one of the puppies.  

  22. i honestly don’t know why there aren’t more women on ifanboy.com

  23. Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    @Neb – That’s an awesome idea, man! Truly inspired idea and I think the guests would love it.  Keep us posted on the project.  Send it my way and I’ll make sure it gets showcased on the site. 

    @ohcaroline – As Dave mentioned earlier, theory and research and such can really get in the way of actual work.  It’s all about defining a balance.  I have the same problem, and I still struggle with it.  But here’s how I approach it.  Schedule yourself.  Set aside time for outlining and actual writing.  People like us have to set up partitions even within spaces of time.  You need a definied workspace and a defined time period.  Use one day’s outlining time to list all of your story kernels and ideas; evaluate which medium and format to employ.  Then just do it.  It sucks to say, but there really isn’t a secret.  Just sit down and get it done.  Accept that the first draft is going to suck and take consolation in the fact that your next pass will make it better.  We want to get around that, but the truth will set you free here; first drafts are crap and they have to be. 

    You can’t assemble a puzzle if you haven’t first coughed up all the pieces.  Sometimes it takes a draft to realize you’re trying to make a novel out of a film script.  It happens.  Go back and do it right.  Decisions aren’t permanent at this stage, so you can always go back and take the other path.  It sounds like a lot of work, and it can be.  But we put ourselves through it for a reason.  And really, as in any procrastinated task, it’s usually not as bad as you’re making it out to be in your head.  A friend of mine told me that once you get through those first 15 minutes, you’re golden.  Break through the cranky, whiny, tediom of sitting down and tuning out and getting the words out.  Once you hit your stride, it’s fun.  Just trick yourself into getting started.  That’s the worst of it.  The writing will happen.  The transition from crap to silk will happen.  You just have to show up.  

  24. Another suggestion: Make rough layouts. You don’t need to be an artist, but… if you read comics and enjoy them, you kind of already know what works. You may just not KNOW you know. And you may over-analyze. But if you stop and let yourself pretend to be the artist for a moment, arranging the panels on the page, you may find that you DO know what works. OR: frustrated, you’ll take a break, flip open a comic and suddenly find yourself staring at the panels because you already put yourself in the artists shoes and suddenly the invisible ink is now visible. Doing little rough layouts will also help you realize how big/small the panels are, and then you’ll realize how much/little room there is for captions and/or dialogue. That will help with the economy of storytelling.

  25. Another fantastic article.  Can I say I accept your challenge even though I am already done issue 1 of my comic and working on 2.

  26. Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    Yes.  

  27. Dude, Paul, your article is so inspiring. I have already started writing a script for a story that I have put off writing for a long, long time. I can’t wait for the follow up to this article. Keep it up!

  28. Well then…challenge accepted!

  29. P-Funk-a-diddle I’m down.

  30. Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    If anybody wants to share their work or briefly summarize their experience writing or drawing their own comics for a future installment of "Making (Love To) Comics," shoot me an email. 

  31. Lovely article.

    I don’t think I could ever be a comics writer myself — I’m not quite visual/spatial enough to come up with those kinds of ideas, especially at that rate. My ideal comics industry job is in editorial, which is why I’m currently looking for jobs in book publishing to get experience in related industries.  But I consider myself a writer, too, of prose, and that kick in the ass to actually write something, regardless of medium, is helpful in itself.

  32. Drawing Words & Writing Pictures is one of the best books on the subject I’ve read. It’s a true textbook on making a comic, much more than Making comics. DW&WP forces you to get to work and actually draw/write. also webcomics.com is a great resource. Here’s a thought for all interested–work to whatever level you are currently at. I mean this more toward the artists I think. If you can’t draw figures, fine, don’t do a superhero comic–but what CAN you draw? Make a comic around that. Yeah, keep working on the figures, but draw to your strengths when it comes to comic work. That’s what I’m trying to do…with pretty middling success currently…oh well.

  33. We’re all friends here. Can I unburden myself of a dark secret I have long held close to my bosom?:

    I feel like I am the only living human walking the earth who reads comics yet does not want to make them.

    I like comics; I love writing; and yet I feel like I have absolutely nothing to add to the medium at all other than a pair of eyes. By my estimate, roughly six out of every four people reading comics wants to break into the biz. Am I really as alone as I perceive myself to be? I can make light of it, but it’s genuinely alienating. I feel like every reader is analyzing the medium like the walls of a prison he hopes to break into. 

  34. @Jimski: I don’t want to make them.

  35. Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    No, I totally get that.  Even still, I think it’s worth looking at the mechanics of making comics for reasons other than making more of them.  I’m a big believer in figuring out the why and how of something to better appreciate that something.  

  36. Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    @AlexG – I’ll seek out DW&WP.  It’s actually one of the only how-to books from my research that I didn’t get to look at in person.  

  37. I believe Tom Katers on AC has stated a few times how he’s a fan who has no designs on being a comic creator.

  38. You are not alone Jimski.  I have never had the slightest impulse to write or draw comics.  I think part of my enjoyment of reading comics is the fact that I don’t feel that I can do it.  I think the imagination that it takes to write and draw a comic is truly amazing.  I am content to admire up on the hill from a distance rather than entering the fray of the battlefield. 

  39. I think it’s wonderful what your doing here Paul, and I’m in.  I’ve made a real effort in the past year to focus on my art and writing, because there are so many ideas I’d like to get out of my head. 

    On the resources tip: I’ll never knock How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way. I’ve had a lot of great art teachers in my school years; still, none of them ever explained perspective to me as clearly as that book did. Everyone knows about that one though.

    Will Eisner’s Comics and Sequential Art is a really enlightening read, and it’s one in a series of fantastic books on the medium.

    Another book I’d recommend, not quite pertaining to the creative process of comics, but certainly inspiring to those wrapped up in it is True Facts by Larry Young. It’s all about the publishing aspect of comics, and it contains a lot of valuable information to anyone who has considered self-publishing.

  40. @AlexG: And that’s almost too bad. I love it when he speculates on Tom vs Flash about what became of characters, and artifacts in the DCU.

  41. JasonB35 – as long as you know you won’t write the next A Song of Ice and Fire you can create simple strips – you don’t have to jump to the 22 pages format. You can do comedic strips or weird ones and publish them online – it’s easy and fast and doesn’t cost a thing. Also people can try more of a American Splendor thing and not jump to fantasy.

  42. I’ve wanted to write a graphic novel for a while. I started the ball rolling by taking a short story that I had written and going through it page by page, paragraph by paragraph and trying to figure out what each panel would be on those pages, if i would take this entire action and draw it out (in length) over one page to give it more importance, as much as it had in just the text b/c you read it so slowly. It helped me to have the story to guide me to know what was going on, and since I already knew the pacing it was easier to know what i could breeze over in a caption box or what i had to linger on and get a great artist to detail the nuance in the scene for it to work.

    Unfortunately I think i’ve since lost all those annotated pages. D’OH!

  43. Maybe people can begin by taking a short story of someone else and transfer it to comic form to learn what works and experiment without needing to write something.

  44. Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    It’s a good way to learn something.  I’d also suggest, just as an exercise, finding the script for a single issue you like, setting it aside without reading it, studying the comic itself, and then trying your hand at scripting the finished pages.  Reverse engineering basically.  You’re writing what you think the original script might look like.  When you’re done with your own version of the script, compare it to the actual script.  The idea here is to get yourself used to the process so that when you’re working on your own original stories, you’re already accustomed to the mechanics and you can spend more time and energy on the story. 

  45. To be honest Paul, that sounds a bit like a waste of time to me.  Why not use that energy to just write something original?

    You’ll learn to script what you want by doing.  Think of what you want to do.  Just do it on one page.  Make it about anything, and don’t worry so much about having a great story.  But you can take out a piece of paper, and sketch out your panels or storyboards.  Then, go into script mode, and try to write that in a way that you think an artist could understand.  Remember, you’re really only writing for the artist, and no one else.  It’s not like a screenplay in that way.

    It takes a while to get into the style, and sometimes it’s really tedious, but I think the best way to do it is to try to work on translating the picture in your head, rather that what’s already on a page somewhere.  You know, if you’re going to make he effort anyway.

     

  46. Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    I’m not saying it’s right for everybody, but I think it can be helpful.  It’s how I learned screenwriting.  I neglected to indicate it in my previous post, but I meant to suggest reverse engineering a page or two and not a whole script.  It’s not intended to be a big project.  For some people it might be easier to explore the process backwards, even if it’s just a short exercise to warm up.