Jan092019: Planning Comics

“hey!!!!! I ADORE ur work! How do u plan out ur comics? Do you plan most of it out before u start drawing, or do you make up the plot as you go?”

Hello!! Thank you!
I plan most of it before I even pencil in the first thumbnails. This is my process, but because of how the story (and dialogue) deeply influences the layouts, colours, pace and composition of the final page, I really need to get the majority of the script locked down. Plus my style of drawing comics is experimental and attempts a lot of off-the-walls panelling. I don’t feel comfortable unleashing all that creativity if I feel the story isn’t stable or going to have major changes, because coming up with unconventional layouts eats a lot of mental energy (doing 15 tiny scribbly thumbnails takes me 2 hours……..) and I don’t like changing visuals if I can help it.

Maybe it’s because I originally came into comics wanting to write prose first (then realised all of my ideas were heavily reliant on imagery), and my academic background, but the stories I tend to write have a lot of themes and messages and a central thesis. Like for The Carpet Merchant, its thesis is crafting a loving story that educates readers on an uncommon cultural setting (in Western media), and deconstructing the Vampire as Other trope. Seance Tea Party is about growing up and growing old and celebrating the two. Alexander is a dissection of his legacy and myth.

In order to achieve these theses I really need to know what on earth I’m writing beforehand. There’s a lot of thinking that runs through my head before I confirm anything in the script, but generally it’s:

  • what are the optics of idea XYZ? Will the interpretation of this idea be seen as harmful? By whom? Is there any alternative that achieves the same purpose but causes the lesser harm?
  • what do I want this story (or a certain scene) to achieve, emotionally
  • what sort of cool artsy gimmick I want to draw and how I am going to let the story accomodate this (or vice versa)

And so you can see why I totally can’t brain making up the plot as I draw. It works for some creators, but I hear the con of working that way is that later on, as you grow in experience as a storyteller, you realise that you could have done an earlier scene differently, or you come across a plot dead-end that you didn’t have the foresight to identify at the time. And it’s too late of change it. So yeah.

Hello, hello

Reimena Yee is a graphic novelist, artist and flamingo enthusiast.

She writes and illustrates quite a few webcomics and graphic novels. When not making books, she lulls away her time with essays on craft, life and experiences in the publishing industry. Some of her thoughts of art and life are rather unstructured and will evolve over time as this blog matures, as they should be.

Currently committed to being Alexander the Great's death doula. Is a nerd for all things spooky and historical.

Melbourne / Kuala Lumpur

Upcoming Events

Perth Comics Arts Festival, July 27-28

Comic Arts Workshop, September

Melbourne Comics Art Jam, every Saturday 1-3pm

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Reimena Yee is a graphic novelist, artist and flamingo enthusiast.

She writes and illustrates quite a few webcomics and graphic novels. When not making books, she lulls away her time with essays on craft, life and experiences in the publishing industry. Some of her thoughts of art and life are rather unstructured and will evolve over time as this blog matures, as they should be.

Currently committed to being Alexander the Great's death doula. Is a nerd for all things spooky and historical.

Melbourne / Kuala Lumpur

Upcoming Events

Perth Comics Arts Festival, July 27-28

Comic Arts Workshop, September

Melbourne Comics Art Jam, every Saturday 1-3pm

Follow My Blog

Pop your email in the box below and be notified of my next post.

Categories

Archives