Create Your Own Graphic Novel

Saturdays, 11:30am – 1:00pm, Morean Art Center


September 10, 17, 24, October 1, 8 & 15, 

Oct 29, Nov 5, 12, 19, 26 & Dec 3

This fun six-class course will teach students the process for creating their own 5-page graphic novel, from writing the script, to storyboarding the panels, to illustrating the finished product which will be ready for scanning into a computer. The emphasis will be on creating a fun, pressure-free environment that allows students to experience a new way to express themselves creatively. All students, from teens to adults, are welcome to take this course, and all drawing styles are welcomed.

Students will learn how to write a script that will help them save time in the process, how to storyboard their panels using rough sketches and maintain a good visual pace. Most importantly, students will learn how to avoid getting bogged down by obsessing over perfection.

Students should have an interest in creating a comic-type story, an intermediate-to-advanced skill in drawing, and be prepared to work on their projects between sessions in order to finish the graphic novel by the the end of the class. To help students along the way, templates, visual examples, online resources and hand-outs will be made available by the instructor. A web page set up by the instructor will provide the goals of each class along with tips and helpful links to help students stay engaged in this fun process.

Class 1 – Creating A Story and Characters
Class 2 – Writing the Script
Class 3 – Storyboarding
Class 4 – Penciling
Class 5 – Lettering and Inking
Class 6 – Scanning, Uploading and Printing

The first class will start the process by generating story ideas, plot, and characters. Emphasis is not on perfection, but quickly whipping up a “blueprint” for the finished product. Students will focus on the following:

Describing their main character and the character’s personality and basic needs

A brief summary of the plot in two or three sentences – what does your character need/want and why?

A short scene-by-scene description of the plot, including obstacles the character has to overcome, and side characters who either hinder or assist the character.

The second class will focus on converting the plot created in the first class into the script. This class will involve:

Creating a “page chart” that represents the entire five-page story, to start planning the visual flow of the story. On each page, students describe the scene that takes place on that page in one or two sentences

Discussion of “camera angles”, the viewpoints that students will use for their panels 

Writing a basic script so that each page is mapped out, with action and dialog. Examples and templates will be available to help students in this process.

Emphasis is placed on eliminating unnecessary scenes or dialogue. Every single word and scene must move the story forward or develop the character.

The third class will take the script and convert it into rough sketches that will represent the finished page, which involves the following:

Discussion of panel types, what happens “between” the panels, and panel shapes to emphasize different types of action, using templates and visual aides 

Designing each page with rough sketches to create a good visual flow from panel-to-panel. Emphasis is not on polished, perfect drawings, but quick, rough thumbnails to plan the entire graphic novel

The fourth class will use the storyboards from the previous class to begin the finished project; this is where students’ art skills and styles will shine. Students will be working with higher quality art board paper and will learn the following:

Deciding what kind of tonal quality the book will have. Will the finished book have simple line drawings, pure black and white contrasts, or lots of shading variations? Detail rich backgrounds, or simple layouts?

The kind of lines that will be inked: thick lines, thin lines, brush strokes? Where will the shadows (if any) be? The penciling phase is where those decisions are made. Visual examples will be used as inspiration, with on-line resources to help students in the process.

Leaving room in each panel for the dialog and sound effects so that each panel has a good balance and visual look

The fifth class will take the penciled art boards and begin the process of inking them. In this class students will learn:

How to draw the letters, either manually or using Photoshop

Word balloons: the different types and how to arrange them for maximum clarity and effectiveness

Brushes, pens or both? A demonstration of using nib pens and brushes with India inks, as well as art and technical pens so that students can decide which approach is best for them. Again, lots of visual examples and online resources will be made available 

The last class will help students understand how to scan and upload their creations, and put them online so their graphic novels can be shared with others. In this class students will learn:

The different types of computer files and why it’s important to save each page in several formats

Optimum scanning settings for the best online experience, and how to “optimize” pages so they load faster

Discussion of various platforms for displaying the graphic novel (blogs, webcomic platforms, DeviantArt, etc)

Options for printing your graphic novel to share physical copies

 This video presentation has hopefully useful information in the various steps involved with planning a graphic novel; a lot of what is in this video will be discussed in class

My Character Needs/Primary Motivation:

⭅Find something he/she is missing
⭅Escape escape from a situation
⭅Solve a mystery
⭅Defeat an enemy/overcome a challenge/gain revenge
⭅React to a situation/change in his/her environment

My Character’s Personality:

Visit this link for list of positive, neutral, negative personality traits

The Obstacles My Character Faces

⭅Someone/something trying to stop him/her
⭅The character’s inner fear of failure/rejection/death
⭅Physical limitations (blindness, physical weakness, etc)
⭅Social pressure from friends, community, government

By the end of my story the character will have:

⭅Obtained the object of his/her quest
⭅Achieved inner peace, maturity
⭅Gotten revenge
⭅Achieved nothing