The best resources I know to help you make comics
These books, websites, courses and videos really helped me in my path of improving my art, improve my mindset and starting and promoting my comic.
The links here go to resources I personally have experience with, or which I support because I have worked with these people before and believe in the quality of what they make and do.
Sometimes you need a little push to get started on your project. Watch these two videos to get some motivation and practical steps to start thinking about your comic project (and then just start!)
Starting a webcomic
This video is about the things to think about before you start your webcomic:
Tips for saving time on your webcomic – Lars Martinson
Martin has worked on his comic, Tonoharu, for 13 years and shared his biggest tips to save you time (so that it doesn’t have to take you 13 years). Very good video! And very good to know these things beforehand:
A good comic stands and falls with a good story. There are a myriad of different ways to write and I use a combination of different methods. The key here is to try out many different things and then see where it clicks for you.
These are the best resources that helped me, personally.
Invisible Ink – by Brian McDonald.
A very clear book on the function of story, what stories are, how they’re used in our everyday life. And a whole lot of practical tips on how to get started on your story and how to make it meaningful and logical.
Save the Cat – by Blake Snyder
A book on screenwriting, but it applies to any longer story, imo. It’s a little rigid in how it “should” be done. But I really love the clear structure it offers and what to pay attention to when writing, what to tie together to be as coherent as possible, and how to catch the attention of your audience.
The Snowflake Method – by Randy Ingermanson
There’s also a lot of articles and websites on story and writing. Another great, step-by-step way to write your story is by using the Snowflake Method. You can find that method on this website. There’s a book as well, which I haven’t read. But the website alone is gold.
My story videos
I have made videos on story as well, showing how I get started, from coming up with the initial idea for a story to how I start writing. Here is the playlist:
I’m sure I’ll be making more videos on story.
Making (web)comics in general:
These resources focus on the
Comic Quick Tips
I write a weekly email to my email list subscribers with inspiration, extra info on the weekly topic I talk about on my Youtube channel and any new finds I do on the web. If you want a weekly motivational boost, I suggest subscribing to my email list!
Not only will you receive the exclusive content, but my reward for new subscribers is my new PDF: “Comic Quick Tips”
It’s 10 tips that will help you improve your comic. Here’s what’s inside:
- How to be able to draw everything
- How to design and draw new things
- Make good use of shortcuts
- The most important part of your comic page
- How to keep your “camera” angles consistent
- Improving your pacing
- Instantly improve your lettering
- Find your style while doing your comic
- My best tip for choosing a schedule
- Two tips for staying motivated
This book is available nowhere else, so grab it here:
The books from Scott McCloud
A comic resource list can’t be complete without the books from Scott McCloud. Presented as a comic that teaches the anatomy and meaning of comics and how to make them, these two books are a must have for any comic artist:
More books and more info on Scott McCloud can be found on his website. There’s also links to lectures and articles:
How to Make Webcomics – Scott Kurtz, Kris Straub, Dave Kellett and Brad Guigar
Because this book is about the internet and it came out in 2008 (!), it’s quite old by today’s standards and the difficult thing about recommending it is that some things don’t apply anymore. Simply because technology changed.
Still, it helped me a lot when I was starting out with webcomics. It gives you some great insights in what to think about, what choices need to be made and what the limitations and liberations are of working with comics on the web.
Brad Guigar has come out with a sequel of the book.
I have this one as well. It wasn’t as helpful to me as the first one, but that might also be because I gained so much experience of my own, that I didn’t need this one as much. The info is an expansion and update to the original though, so it might still be worth it to get it, to complement the previous book.
One of THE resources in comics is Jason Brubaker.
Jason has worked for Dreamworks as a visual development artists, done a lot of freelancing and is now working on his own comics. He has completed a few webcomics (mostly long stories), runs a Patreon and a Youtube channel. He is also the starting force behind MakingComics.com and has written a few books on making comics and making money with comics/self publishing.
Here’s Jason Brubaker’s Youtube channel, where he talks about his journey in making his own comics, about specific comic tips and where he talks with other comics artists:
He also has a Gumroad, where you can buy his comics fonts, textures and his books on comics, Kickstarter and drawing:
McKay and Gray
Bones McKay (writer) and Ursula Gray (artist) are the creators a few webcomics now.
They talk about their comics and have a lot of tips to share on making your own (web)comics on their Youtube channel:
My (comic) artist resources
I have a store with free and paid resources for (comic) artists. From my template files that I use for Recollection City, to a mini course about setting art goals. Check it out:
Specific comic skills:
This flatting video by “Color with Kurt”
A lot of comic artists flat their comic pages (meaning: they digitally lay in flat colours on their pages that they can select so it’s easier to colour the pages).
If you use Photoshop (though I think it can be done in other programs as well) then there is a waaay easier way to flat than I see most people do. This can speed up your process just that little bit (because every little bit helps when you’re making a lot of pages):
Lettering is an art in itself. It’s often overlooked but it can really make or break a comic. It’s no wonder a lot of artists hire a professional letterer.
If you want to learn lettering yourself, the best resource I know is Blambot. They have a great series of articles to help you learn the basics of lettering. Go to the:
…and look under “resources.”
They sell great lettering fonts as well.
BaM Animation Youtube channel
The people form BaM animation have great tips in general, but this inking video was especially helpful. They break down some exercises that will help improve your lines and they discuss what to think about when you ink:
Marketing your comic and building an audience
Comixlaunch podcast and courses
Tyler James Vogel is the creator and owner of Comixlaunch. A resource entirely dedicated on helping comic artists build their audience and make money with their comics.
Tyler has a free podcast and often hosts free workshops about Kickstarter.
There’s paid courses on building an email list, launching a Kickstarter, about making money with comics outside of Kickstarter and Facebook ads. I’ve done almost all of them and Tylers courses are hand-on and takes you through these processes step-by-step.
Improving your art and drawing skills:
Composition and visual storytelling:
Framed Ink – by Marcos Mateu-Mestre
The GREATEST book I know on the subject of composition and visual storytelling. Full of clear examples and simple ways to start thinking about new and exciting compositions.
I even did a video review for the book, because I love it so much:
Dreamworlds – by Hans Bacher
Hans Bacher has done backgrounds and visual development for Disney films and numerous other projects. His book Dreamworlds is a visual feast; full of tips, examples, explanations about his thought process and just all around GREAT art to drool over.
It’s aimed at artists who want to work in production design, but a LOT of that is exactly the kinds of skills that are invaluable to a artists, as well. Here’s the book:
Proko – Stan Prokopenko
Proko’s Youtube channel is full of GREAT videos on anatomy and drawing.
Go watch it here:
He also has a website with articles, paid courses and videos. They go in depth and you get access to special Facebook groups when you join:
Aaron Blaise is a former Disney animator who specializes in drawing animals. If you comic features a lot of animals, this can be a great resource. But Aaron also shares tips on drawing in general on his Youtube channel and through his course. Here is his Youtube channel:
I have done his (human) anatomy course, which was great and really helped me. He also has a lot of other courses on character design and animation:
Color and Light – by James Gurney
James Gurney is well known for making the books on Dinotopia. He is a master at colour and his book, Color and Light, greatly helped me understand colour better.
You can get a signed copy of his book on his website:
Drawing and art (projects) in general:
Jake Parker is an illustrator and comic artist. He is also the initiator of the #Inktober challenge and co-founder of the School of Visual Storytelling.
Jake shares great articles on his website, about making art, comics and doing longer projects. You can find that here:
And he does the same on his Youtube channel:
How to think when you draw – by the Ethering Brothers
The Ethering Brothers are amazing artists. They’ve worked in comics, illustration and the entertainment industry.
They also generously share these awesome tutorials called “How to Think When You Draw” where they explain what to think about when drawing various subjects. It greatly helps improve understanding of form, line and texture.
I recommend subscribing to their email list so you’ll be notified when they launch another Kickstarter, because it’s just really handy to have these all collected in a book, but until you do, you can check all of them here for free:
Online art schools/courses
Your Comic Journey
“Everyone can make a comic.”Henrike Dijkstra
Your Comic Journey is my own course on making comics. It’s a mentored, live course where you’ll make a short comic from blank page to completely finished in 10 weeks.
We go through the entire process of making a comic in depth so when the course is over, you’ll have a framework to make your own comics again and again.
The course aims to be a personal coach on your own journey as well, which means we will discuss what you’d like to do with comics in the long run and what the best way is for you to go about that.
The course is taught once a year. You can find the notification list here:
Schoolism offers a lot of courses taught by industry professionals. (Mostly coming from animation, but there’s people from other parts of the art world as well)
It’s self taught courses through a monthly subscription, though they have mentored courses as well. I don’t have experience with mentored classes, just the subscription.
The owner of the school, Bobby Chiu has a Youtube channel as well, where he teaches and shared artist interviews. Here’s the Schoolism website:
School of Visual Storytelling
This school focuses more on illustration and freelancing. They have courses on a lot of different art skills, taught by various people in the industry.
Links to all of these, and to the courses, can be found on their website, here:
CG Masters Academy
This is the only school I have no experience with, myself. But I heard so many great things about it from peers whom I trust that I feel confident enough to recommend it here. (Though it might depend on the teacher, too)
Following in the line of Schoolism and SVS, they have teachers from all over the entertainment and art industry.
I know Jason Brubaker has a comic course on there which helps you through the initial story and design stage of your comic and helps you make the first pages for a longer story.
The CGMA website can be found here:
This is a link to a Pinterest board where I keep loose tweets and images I find on the internet, related to comics.
I link to everything I find, so if you want to go follow/see the original source, the link is there.
That’s it for now. I will slowly add more resources to this list. If you know of any great resources that helped you out, send me a message through the contact page.