Monthly Archives: January 2016

Story boarding and Scripting: Part 1 of 2

Hi all!

This is part 1 of a 2 part post on story boarding and scripting your comic book or graphic novel. As I’m moving out of the development stage of my book and will be starting the production phase, I wanted to catch up on how I’ve gotten to this point. As I’ve said before I’m learning as I go, and I’m sure there is other methods of going about doing a book, but these methods are how I’ve worked along.

Story boarding is a way to sketch out your ideas into a story. Story boards or thumbnails are just rough sketches of the visual end of you book. An idea, if you will, of what you want it to look like. This is done with pretty much all comics and graphic novels, as well as TV shows to films. It doesn’t have to be a work of art or perfect, just rough sketches. It helps lay out how you want the flow of you page to be. This can also be changed as you go along. I found myself going back and changing storyboards because I either felt like their were missing elements or the flow was a skewed.


Story Boards

I’m more of a visual person so I started out doing my story boards before I had my script done. I knew the story I wanted to tell, so I started sketching out how I thought would be best to tell the story without any words. As the art form of comics is vastly visual, I felt that I should try and tell the story with visual elements rather than literary elements first. This allowed to to create a flow of story telling by imagery and paneling. Clearly, I knew that some of the images would need some sort of narrative to understand what was going on in the visuals, so I had to make notes within said panels. As you can see in the page below I made some notes within the panels to give brief idea as to what I wanted.


Story board with some notes written in to help me with the narrative. 

Story boards or thumbnails can be sketched on anything. I would recommend a cheap A4 sketch pad, as you could find yourself tearing and shredding pages as you work along. You probably don’t want to use any expensive paper or Bristol board for this stage as it’s counter productive and a waste of good material. If you’re anything like me, money is definitely on the tight side so I use inexpensive materials for this and I’m a bit of a perfectionist so I found that I re-did a good few pages.

I kept all my pages sequential as I went along by numbering them. This allowed me to see the book as I wanted it to look. It also helped me when I got to the scripting phase, which I will cover in my next post. Again, this is just the way I found easiest for me, but like I’ve said before there is other methods out there. So in conclusion, sketch away and don’t be afraid to make mistakes or changes, this is purely a development phase of making your master piece. Once your happy with what you have on the paper and the script is drafted, have someone, a friend, family member, whom ever, read it over and give you feedback. This is essential as it might make sense to you, but not to someone else.


Story Board of Page 2


Story Board of Page 20

Thanks again for taking your time to read my posts!!! My next post will be about scripting your book and putting it together with the story boards.



Reference Images

Hi all,

Just a quick post regarding reference images for use when drawing. I think this can be a bit of a grey area when drawing or sketching your work. What I mean about a grey area is that some may think that this is not being original or is copying someones other work. I just want to put my thoughts out there about how and when to utilize reference material. Whether it be a photograph, model, exterior elements like buildings, etc., that are used in creating your work the main thing is the question of “isn’t this copying?”.

All artists use some form of reference. Whether it be as simple as getting a perspective right or shading of a subject or specific details. When I worked in the scenic industry we had volumes of reference images to use. The use of reference images isn’t to copy, but to provide a guide or another tool for the artist to use for their work. Copying another persons work shouldn’t be done as it can be viewed as a form of plagiarism.

Another way to look at reference images from say other artists, would be as more of an influence. The amount of times I’ve seen artists use high contrast black and white work such as Frank Miller’s style, is quite often. This is more of an influence of the artist by someone who is inspired by that artist. This influence can add into the development of someones own personal style of work. However, for this example, if one was to replicate the drawing style and imagery this is not an influence but reproduction of work. This I would say is fine in a respect of it being for personal use only but in publishing it would cross the line into plagiarism.

I use quite a bit of reference images when I do my illustrations. For each project I keep a file of everything I use for that particular project. I find that handy in case I ever go back and do any additional work on it later on. You can find various resources online for stock imagery, or alternatively you can get images from taking your own photos, or the use of live models to do your work. Alex Ross is renowned for using his friends for modelling his characters.

I hope this is helpful, and as always thanks for taking the time for reading my posts.




Worth a Read!


This is article that is definitely worth a look at. The final paragraph has some basic lines of thought that we should always keep in mind.

Portfolio Review: Valiant Pencils, Inks, and Production Techniques

Drawing on Inspiration

Hello again!

As I’m working away on my first graphic novel I reflected back on what my influences were that inspired my story. One of the hardest things to do is begin your story. Pulling from your personal interests and experiences are the best material to harvest from. But compiling them into a narrative story can be daunting.

I happened to be driving home from work daydreaming, when the basis of my book popped into my head. My story idea was triggered by a time that I was driving through open country many years ago and seeing an old abandoned roadside motel. This then perpetuated a series of ideas. I started to write down these ideas. They started simple as the landscape, my first car, music and the type of films I had interest in.

Before long my story had characters, setting, beginning, middle and end. It was truly a rough draft but it really had a concrete narrative. This then was read to my wife who is an English teacher and she pointed out some very helpful guidance. Plot holes, character development, and some narrative that was needed. I took all this on board, and refined the story and gave it back to my wife along with some sketches. As I’m not a writer by any stretch of the imagination, I was extremely grateful for her feedback. She got me in the right direction. I’m a visual type of person meaning that I see my story in visuals rather than literary. But in relying on solely visuals to tell my story, I needed more narrative.

Once the idea you conceive is inspired and you can pull from your influences, the story will begin to fall into place. So have your idea as a foundation, then start to build with your past experiences, art, literature, music, films, ect. But remember to get early feedback to catch anything you could very easily overlook. It’s easy to assume you have created a masterpiece until someone else reads it and notices pitfalls that you may miss due to being intimately close to your project.

I hope my personal advice will help you in your development of your future endeavours.

Stay tuned as I will be looking at storyboards in my next post.

Bearded Tree

Here is another Illustration. This one I utilised Gimp photo editing software. I don’t normally use software as a means of heavy editing but for this piece I used it to edit a photo I took of a tree in the national park. I always liked the photo and started to see a face within it. The inspiration took hold and this is the result.