How to Plan Out a Comic

I participated in a panel discussion “How to create a comic” at Houston’s Comicpoolza 2017. I delivered the first section and my friend Jay spoke for the second half, discussing scripting and artwork. Below are my notes for the section I presented for those who were unable to make it and/or prefer written information.


It all starts with an idea. I’m sure many of you all have some great ideas for comics and that’s why you’re here today.

1: Nail down a genre and art style for your comic– This will help others know what type of project you’re working on and determine if they are interested in it, either as a reader or if you are looking to collaborate.

Genre examples: Comedy, Drama, Fantasy, Horror, Romance, Science-Fiction

Art Style examples: Cartoon, Realistic, Manga, Stick, Furry

While your work may have a combination of many of these elements, select the prominent one or two that best represents your project.

2. World Building

Describe the environment where your story takes place.

What time period does your story take place?

Is it a dystopian wasteland? How did the world go down the toilet?

Are there vampires who sparkle in the sunlight? Don’t write a story about vampires who sparkle in the sun.

3: Create Characters for this world

Create primary & secondary characters

Write characters’ history, personality & flaws

Characters should evolve through the story, a.k.a., character development.

4. Create an Outline

Know where you story is going and how it will end. This gives your story focus. You’ll also have an opportunity to include foreshadowing and reduce the chances of having to redo the comic after you produce pages.

5. Select a medium, digital vs. print


RGB color mode format looks better on a computer screen.

Your comic should be between 600-800 pixels wide for ideal viewing on a mobile or computer monitor. No one wants to have to scroll to see your comic.

It is becoming more popular to place panels vertically for mobile device viewing.

File Types

JPG: Displays color gradients, used for photos and realistic images.

PNG: Best to use with images with only a limited range of colors (not gradients) used for line art, text heavy images.

GIF: Not as compact as JPG or PNG, but can display animations


CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Key-black) color mode format, what most printers use. Use at least 300 DPI (dots per inch). The average length of a comic is between 22-25 pages. Ask for the printer’s parameters so you can create your comic within those guidelines, and don’t have to modify your work when sending it to them.


If you want to watch the full video presentation you can view it here: Creating your own comic

Alex A. Ayala Written by:

Writer, artist and Founder for Comic Indie, with a passion for the art of storytelling, art, and entertainment. By day he works as a Systems Engineer, and by night flying through the universe of Indie Comics.

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