Some links to resources I have found helpful.
My #1 recommendation: Making Comics: Storytelling Secrets of Comics, Manga, and Graphic Novels by Scott McCloud. The book IS a comic!!!! It’s gorgeous in some parts, and interesting in all. A super fun and informative read. Do yourself a favor and rent or buy it to get a look.
This was one of the first webcomic how-to articles that I read. It’s practical and a little scathing. (With enough build up, can’t anyone’s inside jokes become the world’s? But I see his point.) I was convinced to buy my own website. (which I sat on for too long.)
This blog has a friendly, practical format. “Draw Big!”
I found this article from io9 when I was looking for the first link. It already has a ton of helpful links. What am I doing here? *throws papers of un-written posts into the air.*
Well, on to things other than that then.
Tangent on websites:
I went with bluehost after researching, and, using WordPress because drupal is too hard for me, I tried the plugin Comic Press. I sort of hated it, like this guy. So I’m using Webcomic v 4.3.2 instead. It’s less frustrating for me, but websites are still hard. (For real. I respect web designers so much more now. Still holding out on paying one.)
Word of advice: make sure, if you buy [domain_name].com and .net, etc that you buy privacy protection for BOTH of them! bluehost, at least, does not hide your contact information for all of them automatically. So I was getting a LOT of emails from India, and even some calls. It resulted in a grudge against these web developers I respect.
Oh! And don’t start googling your dream domain to see if it’s available, robots will STEAL it, and hold it ransom. (Literally. $$$$$) You need to have your top choices written elsewhere and type them only when you buy the domain name. The registry will know if it’s free or not. Okay!
My beef: most of my google searches for “how to draw [manga anything, fight scenes, etc] come up with nothing, or stiff and unappealing work. How to WRITE brings more useful hits, but I still have to draw it. Seems my best source is just the finished product of others, or photographs.
To Google reference images: Do you have the RIGHTS to use that image? This is a serious issue. I practice off of references, [DRAW, draw faster, DRAW. You are better than you let yourself believe] which gets the perspective’s secrets in my Art Memory, but I can’t post the copy as my original work. If you know the owner and how to reach them, you can send a polite request letter.
There are some open source/creative commons image collections. I have not really tested them myself, since I’ve just been hiding behind “practice” and “backstory” pictures vs an actual chapter that may or may not be monetized in any way ever.
Wikimedia actually had images of a particular building I wanted, and it’s the familiar wiki format, so it charms me.
Google Maps Street view can also give you a good feel for your location (or “setting” if an action sequence.) You’ll feel like a total creeper. It’s great.
Here is an article that has wikimedia as it’s top site, and at least 4 others. Some commenters left new links on the bottom.
Sometimes, you just can’t win. “State capital office room” has yielded zero results. “office room” returns a legion of cubicle farms. Now, a picture of governors signing bills into law gets you ONE office, but that’s the pretty media one.
Sometimes what you want could be couched in industry lingo. “Fight Scene” -> “Action Scene” -> “Action Sequence” ->“Fight Choreography” Congratualtions! You’ve landed on a super amazing book, basically a bible on fights. So far I’ve only read its samples on google books, and already learned a lot.
(I’m a talker, not a fighter. Don’t get me wrong, I have a dark streak that squees when anime people explode in blood, but it’s a little different to set up a plausible altercation working with a half-baked magic system… out of nothing. I’m hoping that some very reality-based considerations will inspire the missing pieces.)
Thanks to my nano-wri-mo neighbor, I discovered storybundle.com. It had a nano bundle with a book for action scenes! I searched the book on amazon, and found two others for much cheaper, on of which was fantastic for someone of a graphic and scripting need:
Action! Writing Better Action Using Cinematic Techniques
I loved it, and it was a pretty quick read. The author also has his own website with more examples and advice. http://writebetteraction.ianthealy.com/
and, when looking the link up, I noticed he has a video channel on youtube. https://www.youtube.com/user/ianthealy
I also bought Writing Fight Scenes: Professional Techniques for Fiction Authors (Writer’s Craft Book 1) because it was a dollar. Very useful as far as weapons, written for skippers so a bit repetitive.
Here are some articles I’d read a few months ago. TLDR: action for action’s sake is boring, write it to settle a conflict/move the plot forward, teach us about characters, or cut it. Also, have something more vague and plausible at stake, NOT your main character’s life.
Thriller: Writing The Action Scene , Keys to Writing Action Scenes That Will Captivate Your Readers , Writing an Action Scene? 5 Ways to Add More Punch to Your Novel , Why You Should Never Write Action Scenes For Your Blockbuster Movie
DRAWING THE SCENE AND STORYTELLING
Another super gem:
I found this more of a motivational video, but the one by Darius Britt was full of great advice.
Pull actors off of walls? I shan’t draw characters against walls. Same thing! It’s all about pleasing the viewer’s eye, so it applies somehow. Best of all: you can listen to their videos while you draw!!! This may see like obvious advice, but I’m that weird person who would rather zip read through an article then listen to people say it, because i read faster. I also realizedIt would be good stimulation for me to hear different people, as a resource for writing character voice. So if you’re like me, enjoy nofilmschool and all of their links.
On a similar vein, if you are writing this thing out, READ SCREENPLAYS! I discovered iMDB is not just for checking where you’ve seen that actor before. It has an amazing brother. The Matrix screenplay is incredible, and I really enjoyed Pulp fiction as well. If you’re any sort of osmosis style-mimic like I am, reading some clutch wordsmithing might be just the thing you need to break out of a writer’s block.
Here are a couple articles of buffs recommending the best scripts for noobs and videophiles. (Is that a word?)
This is a nice article about the authors’ script writing process. I can second Scrivener. Love it. A bit slower with all of the picture’s I’ve scanned into the project file, but not bad. I didn’t really “get” the article until after I read some movie scripst and wrote a first draft for Chapter 1 myself. From the article: “Like a movie-style pipeline, we recommend you focus entirely on the script until it’s done. One thing that Hollywood has proven thousands of times over is that the final work almost always suffers if you begin “filming” the story before you have a solid, finished script.”
I’m personally not a huge fan of Alan Moore’s Writing For Comics Volume 1, but last I read it was 2007, right when I was being dazzled by Scott McCloud’s comic book-book so maybe it deserves a second look. It just seemed incredibly dense, the only thing I remember is “backstory/world building is good. Too much backstory = no comic. Beware the backstory.” Good advice. If you have to spend money… ehhhh. Would not recommend.
DIGITAL ART HOW TO
Sorry, I looked. Seems that you can buy a book about ART, or you can buy a book about SOFTWARE for art. No one has gone out and said: Hey, you have no clue how to paint, like, AT ALL? And you’re just getting into Photoshop? Well, I am going to fill your eager little brain with color theory, AND brush settings: laid out clearly with beautiful screenshots and simple, thorough instructions.
It just doesn’t appear to exist. The good news is you can learn how to paint with an acrylic book, without buying acrylics. (Or so I’m told.) I plan on buying Color and Light: A Guide for the Realist Painter. Because one thing I’ve notice about my favorite anime/manga styles, is that they are grounded solidly in reality, then simplified and slightly stylized. Why not do that with color? *I don’t expect to paint all of my comics, at all. lol. It would never get done. But I want to learn to color for special pictures, and just for myself.
Behold the pretty
The one thing I have personally found to really, really inspire me to new heights with my comic… is to be avoiding something else unpleasant. Either Finals *cough,* homework, cleaning the kitchen, or thinking about going to work in an hour. I was getting LOADS of ideas when studying the dry topic of electric circuits in the home. Now I’m getting ideas about wizard dynamics by researching the principles of automated machines. (Mine metaphors for all they are worth, I say.) If I focus too much on the comic as a “need to do” goal, I realize what a titanic and nearly impossible thing I’m trying to accomplish, freak the flip out, and quietly shut down. Keeping it fun while maintaining consistent progress is the name of the game for me.