With very few exceptions, the most important starting point when creating your small press comic should be your character. Don’t think you can get around this if your book is autobiographical, either. Comic characters have to look interesting, act interesting, and have interesting conversations with other interesting people.When you mention to other people that you’re trying to come up with a comic book character, most of them will inevitably assume that you mean “superhero.” Small press comics offer a little more variety in genre, but the type of character you’re creating shouldn’t affect the process. Whether they shoot lasers from their eyes, bullets from a gun, or snarky comments from their mouth, characters need to be able to stand up on their own merits, and not just a collection of interesting ideas.For comics creators, there are two types of books you should be looking at during the process: books on character design for comic and animation industries, and books on creating characters for writers. Your goal is to make these elements work together. If you’re going to be both writing and drawing the character, you’ll have full control over this process, which can be both freeing and terrifying. If, on the other hand, the character creation will be a collaborative process between writer and artist, you’ll need to work closely with your counterpart to make sure you’re not going off in opposite directions.Besides how-to books, you should also be taking in as many (good) comics as possible. Pay attention to how the characters look and act in these books, and don’t be afraid to borrow ideas during your brainstorming processjust make sure not to steal. How can you tell the difference? Show it to a friend and see if they catch on.Showing your character to others at various points during the creation process is always a good idea. After all, the goal of small press comic artists might not be unparalleled financial success, but I think it’s safe to assume that you would still like people to enjoy reading it. Otherwise, why go to the trouble of creating a character at all? Coming up with a comic character that will leap off the page and into people’s hearts and minds is no easy task, but it is possibleeven if that character does dress up like a giant flying rodent and swing from rooftops.The most important thing to remember is that if your character means something to you, there’s a good chance that he, she, or it might mean something to other people as well. You might have to make some changes along the way, but in the end you will hopefully have a character that you are proud to put out into the world.
Posted at March 23, 2011 by www.smallpresscomics.com
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