Start off by writing the story. Write the story and plot it out panel by panel. Don't write it so there are too many panels per page. On a normal page, have between 4 and 9 panels, generally. If something big and important and exciting happens on a page, you can do 3 or 2 panels per page. If something super amazing happens, you can do one whole page with just that panel.
You can buy paper like Canson's "Fan Boy" series of comic book paper. There are other brands that are good as well.
The panels must fit on the page of paper. The size of any one panel depends on the size of all the other panels on that page. So you must design the total page before beginning to draw any particular panel. The first step in designing a page is writing that page. As you write the page, you write down what goes on in each panel, that way when you design the page you have a very clear idea of what happens on the page and in each panel.
So, the size of any particular panel depends on the size of all the other panels. Which means, there are no rules about panels size. The only rule is that the story should read properly and flow left to right in each row, and from row to row it should read top to bottom. Generally, important panels are larger. Sometimes panels that are more fun are made larger because having fun is important.
Get some thick tech pens and a straight edge to rule the borders of the panels. Generally the panel borders are parallel to the edges of the paper, which means the corners of the panels should be 90 degree (right) angles. This means you may need a triangle or drafting edge or something to make sure everything is neat and squared up.
Last edited by kev ferrara; October 22nd, 2009 at 12:15 AM.
In terms of writing a story, look at your favorite stories or films and ask yourself, so how did this start? Break it down into plot segments. Who was introduced first, what did they do, and why? Analyze several stories and see what patterns emerge.
For starting to write a story , having a general plot/theme is required, its bette to write about things you know, but if you go ahead too , do some research on the topics you want to cover in the story, make the whole world around the characters in your story. That would make the story even more believable to you as well as the readers.
From there onwards , its the details that matter.
In the art department, a comprehensive study of characters and things that are to be illustrated should be done , so the artist has a whole view of the world he depicts. Also studies/concept art of the city/ places/ era where the story is set up. Then you start adding qualities in the characters that make the audience sympathise/relate/have whatever feelings, for them.
This is a preproduction part that I think a whole lotta people dont do , but it must be done.
Stephen King gave a great metaphor for how he comes up with his stories. He said developing a story is like an archeologist discovering a fossil in the dirt. At first you have no idea what it is. You see a spec of bone - the rest is buried. It could be a tiny thing, or it could be the beginning of a brontosauras. The main thing for the archeologist is to start cleaning and polishing slowly, carefully. You don't want to take a jackhammer to it, or you'll ruin the whole thing. And god forbid you start sticking pieces in the wrong place in a rush to finish, or you'll come up with a ridiculous farce of the original specimen.
Squidmonk is right, do some short comics to figure out how they work.
Also, I highly recommend Scott McCloud's books "Understanding Comics," "Reinventing Comics", and "Making Comics." The third one especially leads you through writing stories, pacing boxes, and other details that are essential if you want to do comics, especially for a long-term story.
"The person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the one doing it."
I third the Scott McCloud recommendation (except for Reinventing Comics; that one's more focused on the possible market aspects and the technology potentials than creating comics). May even want to check out Wil Eisner's "Comics and Sequential Art."
The core thing is to come up with an idea and story, and I second starting off with something short so you can get familiar with things. Try things that are maybe a page long to a handful of pages first. Also, in addition to studying McCloud's informative work, look at how others have done comics, how they did panels and how much information they covered. You learn by observing and by doing both.