It’s Maya here, creator of Mimi’s Life on Mars! I’ll be writing some posts on SN Online in the weeks building up to the publication of Mimi’s Life on Mars, the book!
Have you ever wanted to make your own comic strip, but weren’t sure how? In this post I’m going to take you through the process of creating a page for Supernova magazine. I’ll be including some advice on creating your own comic along the way.
How to make a comic
Where to start? Every comic starts with an idea! You could begin by creating your own original character. It could be yourself, or something non-human, completely fantastical!
Another place to start is the setting. You could take a look at your surroundings, and make stories about your own life. Or you could think of a real place- South Africa, the ocean, the moon. What goes on there?
Inspiration can be found in the past, too. For example, Thor, the Marvel superhero, is inspired by ancient Norse mythology.
Or you could invent your own world that defies the very laws of reality!
In my case, my character is Mimi, and the setting is the planet Mars. The story is set in a future where humans are living on other planets in the Milky Way.
To get ideas I read a lot about Mars. I take note of facts about the planet and new discoveries made there. I think about my character, her personality and how she would react to things like this.
Did you know? Mars has two moons, Phobos and Deimos. How would it feel to go from a planet with a single moon, to one with two?
Once I have an idea and I’ve done some research, it’s time to get writing and sketching. I’ll jot down some key ideas or phrases and draw some pictures. I draw a lot of small pictures, called thumbnail sketches, to see what will work.
I have a sketchbook where I write and draw all my ideas. It usually starts out rough, and I try not to worry if things don’t look perfect as no one will see this stuff except me.
It’s OK if you don’t have a sketchbook- an exam pad or a piece of scrap paper can hold your ideas just as well.
I write out a ‘script’ for each comic. This is so that I know what’s going on in each panel- what I need to draw, and how big or small the drawing needs to be so as to fit the word balloon.
I’ll write a short description of what is going on in the panel, and what the characters are saying, for example:
Mimi is walking with her friends outside the Dome.
Mimi, surprised: Look at that!
You can try this method if you like, or it could be more fun to make it up as you go along! In fact, some comics are wordless. There are no strict rules with comic-making.
Now that you have your idea, it’s time to get drawing! I’ll be covering that in my next post, so keep an eye out!
If you have any questions about drawing or comics, or you want to show me something you’ve made, send me an email at email@example.com.