Sunday, April 21, 2013

How to create funny comics

So you want to get started as a world class illustrator and comic writer? Well, I'll tell you this, just by searching articles out like this one, you have already taken some of the biggest steps toward becoming an ace illustrator! You've proven that you have motivation and that you're ready to sit at the feet of the masters and learn from them. You've made a good move by making that first step, now you just have to remember to keep returning to that place of humility that allows you to listen to others and take advice. So many illustrators and writers, young and old alike, stop their growth because they are unable to learn from others! But that's not you! You are moldable and ready to learn. So here we go.

Draw and write every day.

Make sure you have an inviting space prepared for you to sit down and work. The kitchen table is good, but a desk space in an office or your bedroom is better. There are plenty of sleep professionals who will advise you against working in your bedroom. They'll say that working there promotes a psychic sort of tie to accomplishing tasks with the space and will keep you from sleeping. And they are totally right! This is exactly why you want to turn your bedroom into a veritable publishing house. If you truly want to improve, there is no better way than to trigger yourself to work at your craft unconsciously by putting psychology to work!

Check books out of the library and look at examples from blogs

Start by studying the big guys. Memorize everything from Calvin and Hobbes. Learn Peanuts by rote. Keep the Far Side close at hand. Besides those three, when I was a kid I read MAD, Garfield, The Family Circus, Batman, X-MEN, Spiderman, Daredevil, Transformers, and all kinds of stuff. Some of those titles weren't funny in the slightest but they helped me get a sense of what illustrations do. Graphic novels are another good way to pick up ideas. Read something by Alan Moore. You will be glad you did. As for blogs, I would strongly recommend that you bookmark but there are other good sites to go to as well. In fact, if you have one you really like, please post a link in the comments section.

Talk with other illustrators and writers

Making friendships with people is probably just about the most rewarding thing in the world. If you don't have any friends please do what you can to remedy that. It's pretty easy to make friends. Usually if you are willing to listen to people you can make friends. If you don't have friends that are illustrators, which is probably the more likely case, then you can use sites like Reddit that have nifty subreddits like r/comics brimming over with aficionados and artists alike. Talk to them! See what they think about your work and comment on theirs. You will be glad you did.

Don't criticize yourself too harsly or worry about whether you will ever rise to the top

Keep a good outlook. There are enough haters out there without adding yourself to the list, and Jesus' idea about not worrying is one of the better ideas you can adhere to in life. "Don't worry be happy," (Bobby McFerrin's hit that he won't sing in concerts out of frustration that no one appreciates his serious work and only want to hear the most silly song he ever composed) is a good mantra to recite to yourself when you wake up in the morning and when you lie down at night. Realize that you are where you're at right now and set reasonable but exciting goals for yourself. Work hard and stay focused on positive things and you'll benefit!

Live a healthy life

Drink more sparkling water and less soda pop. Eat more vegetables and fruit and less candy. Stand up straight and smile more often. Take a shower most days and be sure to always floss your teeth. Forgive people that are nasty to you. Don't be nasty to people. Work hard and be proud of what you accomplish. Smell the roses and then draw them. Remember, you should be drawing pretty much every day.

Break the barriers

So this has only been something of a preamble to getting you started toward writing and illustrating funny comics. I havn't mention much about being funny but that's a great topic to try to get your head around. Sometimes there are certain barriers that keep people from breaking into that mystical land of being funny. My German heritage often seems like a bit of a barrier there. You don't see a lot of comedians pouring out of Germany, but you do see theologians and madcap philosophers! I guess a big element that goes into being funny is sort of being able to enjoy life and seeing the good in it most of the time. So, anyway, keep working hard and one day you may see your comics smack dab at the top of the funny papers! 

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