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Topic: I'm Writing a Graphic Novel! (And I Need Your Help!)

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Gioku

1. Posted:

Now that it's summer vacation, I'm gonna finally sit down and write an entire Graphic Novel (or at least get started). A couple years ago, I made a Kirby Graphic Novel, but I never finished it. I've really come a long way since I first started making comics, and my Kirby one was probably my best (as far as story and artwork). I made a quick little one this year, but it was just that: quick. I managed to create some neat sequences, and so I'm excited to try again with fully-detailed artwork and some new storytelling techniques.

So, I'm looking for a bit of help from you guys!
I want to have a boy and a girl, both teenagers. It's a bit of an old idea: they've been friends since they were very young. At the very start of the story, I want to have them in the boy's room. The girl comes from a bit of a dysfunctional family, and spends most of her time at the boy's house. He's trying to get advice from her about a girl he likes. Now, the girl (his friend) actually has quite the crush on him.
And that's where you come in: I'd like to show that without saying it outright (I'd like to show, not tell, so I'm avoiding using thought bubbles and flashbacks). What sort of body language, or word choice, should I have her use to show that? If there are any existing comics you know of that do something like that, please tell me about it so I can take a look at it.
(The plot will progress quite far from this; you might be surprised by where I'm taking this!)

So that's my main question for now; I'll probably have more later. Oh, and I'd like some names once I've designed the characters. I've got a general idea of what they'll look like, but once I actually draw them I'd like ideas for names (I really stink at names!). As thanks, I'll give you guys exclusive looks at it as it's made and looks at the design process!

So thanks in advance for any help, and I hope you enjoy seeing the comic as it's made! :)

Edited on by Gioku

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mamp

2. Posted:

when he says I like someone make her have a face like oh really #O_O# who's that? Also I think I'd have to see the characters to give them an appropriate name

Edited on by mamp

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FOREST_RANGER

3. Posted:

Ooh! I wanna help, but not right now D:

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Gioku

4. Posted:

mamp wrote:

when he says I like someone make her have a face like oh really #O_O# who's that?

That sounds like a good start! I'll want to evolve it from there, but that sounds like a good place to start. Once I get some actual dialogue, it'll be able to go further.

FOREST_RANGER wrote:

Ooh! I wanna help, but not right now D:

That's okay! I'll be wanting to hear from you later, then! :)

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GuardianKing

5. Posted:

Blushing.

Crapton of blushing. Also, make the atmosphere increasingly more awkward as story progresses.

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Gioku

6. Posted:

@Nobodys_Angel: sounds good! :)

I've got the art-style decided on, too! I've been experimenting with different styles lately (just check out my Colors! 3D gallery!), but I've finally settled with one. It's not anime, but I'd at least call it "anime influenced". It's rather unique, in my opinion! Also, I'd like to try some interesting things with panels and pacing (I've recently been studying the work of Jeff Smith, creator of Bone).

I've got the story mapped out in my head, and I'll start some sketches tomorrow; I'll post them as soon as I've got 'em! :)

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FrancisvonBacon

7. Posted:

@Goiku Yeah, a lot of blushing. Oh and try Sarah and Harry for names.

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GuardianKing

8. Posted:

@Gioku One bit of helpful advice I can give you is setting up the looks in your character's eyes. While I'm not as skilled as you in art, I've experimented with several different eye styles/alignments while drawing angel OC avatar. I tried shriking the overall size, moved her iris, adjusted eyebrow, and each adjustement altered the desired emotion.

My point is: a look between two characters can say loads more than words.

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FOREST_RANGER

9. Posted:

Okay, so I'm using my sister's advice as the basis for what I'll say and present. I also know that I'm not expecting anything out of this, so it's fine if it isn't what you're looking for.

If the boy's lady friend found out he likes another girl, she would not be happy about it.

So now, he's describing his crush to his lady friend while she doesn't pay full attention:
Untitled

But like other humans, he notices there's something fishy and asks:
Untitled

The girl notices, brushes it off, and fakes being completely fine, not wanting to put too much burden on him:
Untitled
Untitled

Now it's important that while this whole thing is happening, she's in her little world. What exactly she's thinking, we don't know. But it has something to do with the fact that her crush apparently likes someone else. So it's important that it displays in her eyes. They aren't really looking at anything. She's concentrating on her sub-conscious dialogue or some fantasy world. Here's the best sketch I could compose with my limited time:
Untitled

My sister also suggested a manga series that displays many emotions and poses of girls, but I forgot what it was called. I'll post the name when I remember it.

Edited on by FOREST_RANGER

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Gioku

10. Posted:

@FOREST_RANGER: Hey, thanks a lot! That's a big help! The only thing, though, that I forgot to mention, is that he's a bit embarrassed about it (his crush) and doesn't really know what to do about it; so that's why he needs her advice (he feels like he can trust her).

@SirFrancisBacon: My little sister's name is Sarah... I'm not sure I want to use that...

Also, a bit about specific personalities: The boy is partially inspired by Artemis Fowl (but only very partially). He's exceptionally smart for his age, and though his family is not really "dysfunctional", his family isn't always there. He ends up spending a lot of time alone in his room (though his friend is often there). Emotions are not his forte, and that is going to constitute his tragic flaw, as is immediately apparent in this first scene.
You already know a bit about the girl; I'm going to develop her personality as the story progresses. If you have any specific ideas, though, let me know! :)

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Marks

11. Posted:

Hi, Gioku, I would like to start out and say congratulations for taking up the project of a graphic novelist. It's tough work, but you sound very enthusiastic which is a big plus.

I can't give any specific advice for the scene between the boy and the girl. The previous posters gave some ideas already. But I'd like to add that it is very important to study perspective and viewpoint. Different viewpoints and perspective can give new or more meaning to a story. FOREST_RANGER gave a good example with his second drawing. If you have studied these already, which you might have (since you have said you have studied pacing and panels), that's good. Just keep that in mind as you write.

For the character names: I would suggest using online resources for this. Websites for baby names are great and I use them for naming characters in my stories all the time. You can even add a certain symbolism for your characters with these names which give more depth. The website I have been using lately is Momswhothink. (I gave a page with L names for girls) Very helpful because the names and etymology are side-by-side.

Now, a bit of advice. I hope you have a full story plan written down. If you don't, get to it! It's very helpful and I know form personal experience that it helps you guide through and finish a project. I do point form, but there are other ways to plan such as writing all the dialogue or making simple sketches from beginning to end. This gives you a better view at your project but it's not set in stone so you can always fix or change ideas as you go.

I have read several books about writing graphic novels in the past and there is many books that are worth looking at. It is good that you have already started to analyse graphic novels such as Bones but I believe how-to books can help. You can probably find these books at your library.

  • Making Comics by Scott McCloud is entertaining and informative, and gives popular manga/graphic novel/comic examples. You also might want to check out his bestseller Understanding Comics (I don't know if it's any good though, I haven't read it.)
  • Mastering Comics: Drawing Words & Writing Pictures Continued by Matt Madden and Jessica Abel is very well made, and deconstructs the elements of comics and graphic novels alike.
  • The Complete Idiot's Guide to Creating a Graphic Novel by Nat Gertler and Steve Lieber is very humourous and I have not finished it but from what I have read it was informative. Gave a lot of tips for the aspiring graphic novelist.

Well, there you have it. Best of luck with your graphic novel, I can't wait to see your progress. :)

Edited on by Marks

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Gioku

12. Posted:

@Marks: Thanks for the advice! As for the story, I don't feally have a plan yet (and I don't usually have one when writing a story). I just have some "events" I want to happen, and I let the story take its own course through them. Sometimes, I'll get to a certain point, and come up with a new idea that I really like. Sometimes, because of that, an event I originally had planned might not take place, but a new, better one will take place instead. That's just my writing technique, and it has served me very well over the years. I let the story do the planning, I don't plan the story.

Also (tentatively), I think I'll name the girl Lucy. That's a name I've been tossing around lately; I might use it for this project.

Oh, and I almost forgot! Expect to see some character design sketches later today! I'll want some opinions on eyes, I've got several eye designs, but I'm not sure which kind to use yet.

Edited on by Gioku

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Gioku

13. Posted:

Sorry guys, but technology has not been cooperating today, so you'll have to wait 'til tomorrow to see my sketches. That's probably for the best, though, because my designs are not quite what I'd like them to be yet (and the eyes are a little too big). But the basic ideas are now there, so I can more easily make improvements now.

As compensation for a lack of sketches, I'll post a rough draft of the dialogue from the first scene in a little while.

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Gioku

14. Posted:

I'm really sorry, guys! I still don't have any drawings to show you! :( I hope you all haven't forgotten about my project! Anyway, I do have a rough draft of the script for this first little scene. I'm spending a lot of time on it because it's an extremely important scene; it's the foundation for the rest of the story. Help I'm looking for: general improvements, body language/facial expressions I should use in the final version, & ideas for names.

Starts with a shot of the house

  • [The boy]'s room is on the second floor.
    [The girl] opens his door a crack*
  • She peeks in; waves Hey!
  • [Boy]: Hey. (He's sitting at his desk, apparently working on something.)
  • [Girl]: You know, you didn't have to invite me here. I always come in here anyways. Sits on the bed
  • [Boy]: I just wanted to make sure... this is kind of important.
  • [Girl]: Well, what's up?
  • [Boy]: turns away from his desk We've known each other a long time, right?
  • [Girl]: No duh, Captain Obvious! Of course we have!
  • [Boy]: Well... I can trust you, right?
  • [Girl]: Of course you can trust me, silly! Come on! Just tell me what's going on, goofball!
  • [Boy]: I'm kind of embarrassed about it...
  • [Girl]: Just tell me! It's okay!
  • [Boy]: takes a deep breath Well, you see, there's this girl...
  • [Girl]: Oh... Uhhhh... Is that so...
  • [Boy]: I have a crush on her... and I was hoping that... maybe you could give me some advice, or something...?
  • [Girl]: Oh... ummm... okay... I guess.

That's as far as I've gotten so far! I'll be continuing soon. Thanks in advance! :)

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Prof_Clayton

15. Posted:

@Gioku Seems good so far. :3
As for characters another major piece that is ofetn overlooked is the way the body is positioned. Sure, you may have a certain way for them to sit in a chair, but specific curves of the body can explain their mood; if they are stressed they may be more ridgid, and as relaxed they would be, well, relaxed.
That's my current, non-experienced advice if it helps. :P
Oh, one thing about faces is to not go too extreme. Nobody actually looks like this:
>:[
When they get mad. It's more of a:
ô_ó
(The keyboard is not a good way to draw faces). :P

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Gioku

16. Posted:

Thanks, @Prof_Clayton! :)

Also, when doing these sketches (that I should hopefully have tomorrow), I've been realizing just how helpful the figure-drawing part of the drawing classes I've taken were! I just make it a bit more stylized (such as the size of heads and eyes). This is really coming along nicely! I'm starting to get really excited! This could very well be the first graphic novel I ever actually finish!

Oh, and a little teaser: believe it or not, this is going to be a sci-fi story. You'll see why soon enough! :)

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FrancisvonBacon

17. Posted:

That's a great script.

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Retro_on_theGo

18. Posted:

Sounds great so far Gioku! Looking forward to seeing more and helping out if I can. I like the script. Although maybe the goofball at the end of her sentence is a bit much. :P

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SomeBitTripFan

19. Posted:

I can't say too much about drawing, but to find the basis for how you want the character's expressions to look, try and act out the scene as both characters while looking in the mirror. Use your own body language and expressions as an accurate example.

Edited on by SomeBitTripFan

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FOREST_RANGER

20. Posted:

Do you have an idea of what their personality and characteristics are like? Or are you just going with the flow?

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