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FREE Comics Course

Index Of Lessons

Lesson 10: Execution

ou are going to be drawing the final comicLoading... pages! Here, I want to describe how artists usually draw comicsLoading... pages. But it is not the only way to draw final pages! Many artists use a different approach. Still, it is useful to know so that you might use some parts or all of the process.


Breakdowns are essentially the thumbnailsLoading... blown up to the final size you want to draw your pages.

A word about the size you will draw at: artists often draw 1.5 to two times larger than the size at which the work will be printed. They do this is so they can work more precisely. Mistakes become less significant when a page is scaled down.

To create a breakdown for a page, draw the thumbnailLoading... on a larger sheet of paper, at the size you want to draw the final page.

Or you can draw them on a layer in a higher-resolution image if you work digitally.

Feel free to add more details to the page. Think of the underlying shapes and volumes, and draw them more accurately as that will help you at the next stage.

When drawing with traditional materials, you have the option of drawing in pencil, and then tracing that drawing onto a new sheet of paper on a lightbox later on. Or you can use a blue pencil and draw everything on the same page. Blue pencil can be filtered out after you scan it digitally.


After you created breakdowns, you can go to the next step, which is making layouts.

Layouts are the very tight pencil drawings that you will draw over with ink later.

If you drew the breakdowns in blue pencil, you could do the layout over those blue pencils with a regular pencil. You can erase the pencil later.

My process is this: I do the breakdowns in pencil because pencil lines are easier to erase than color pencils. Then I trace the page with a blue pencil onto a new sheet of paper on a lightbox. The blue pencils are my layouts: the tight drawing, which I will ink later. Computer programs can filter out the blue pencil lines later, after scanning.

You are free to vary your process a bit also.

See the layouts stage as another design step, as another chance to create a prototypeLoading..., another design iteration for the final, finished piece.

Designing A Style

It might be an option to take a page from your comicLoading... and render it in a few styles to find out which one conveys the piece's mood best. A page's design can again be treated as a design process where you make prototypes, try different ideas, and push ideas.


After the layouts, artists typically ink over the layouts and erase any pencils afterward. The blue pencil underdrawing is usually filtered out on the computer after scanning the page.

Inking is not tracing. When you ink, it is another pass, another chance at fixing things. Also, it helps to ink loosely.

One problem that often surfaces with inks is that they look stiff because they are traced. Try to draw with quick, confident lines.

Some artists work differently. Sometimes, the pencils are turned into inks on the computer. Some artists sometimes publish the pencil art as the comicLoading.... Sometimes, the comicLoading... is drawn with watercolor paint.


Coloring is usually done on a computer nowadays.

What comicsLoading... creators often do is create flats: big areas that have the same base color. This aids in coloring digitally, as you can use these flats to select areas quickly.

It is also a good idea to start with a limited palette: to choose only a few colors and to use those colors dominantly. Try to use all the colors in all the areas in your art. The piece will feel unified if you do so. Also, consider the color of the light in your scene.

The process described above came about in an era where comicsLoading... were printed. The process allowed for some control over the printed outcome — as much as was possible with the inferior printing presses.

But as stated, you can develop other ways of drawing the final pages! Especially in this digital age, you could arguably use methods that might not show in print well.


Lettering involves placing the word balloons and placing the texts inside them.

Look back at your thumbnailsLoading..., see where you left room for the word balloons, and either draw them with traditional materials or place them digitally, using appropriate fonts.

I will do this course along with you, and here are my final pages.

(I will place the pages of my short comicLoading... for this course here soon.)

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