I’m voluntarily helping out a group in response to their 7 TIPS in Writing a Storyline (in Malay Language).
Disclaimer: I’m not a professional, I’m still an amateur but I have some experience in drawing comics. I learn this tips from my seniors and superior, and took close observation while reading very short comcis.
Many may not know how to write a one shot to be compressed in less than 20 pages so here’s how I do it. I will skip the details and keep it short, focusing on the drawing process.
1. THUMBNAIL - usually I add in notes on the next page
Many newbies/rookies may not know what a thumbnail is.
Thumbnails are usually done after I write down the plot. Why is this important? Thumbnails is like a pre-draft to your comic, it’s when you see how your plot can be fit into limited pages. For this example, I only have 10 pages, so I need to now how to compress the story into that limit and remove whatever that is not necessary. You can also plan how you wish to arrange your panels for effective storytelling. You can see that I doodled this on a sketchbook so that I can see how the story flows in one page.
2. DRAFT or sketching
Once you’re happy with how you arrange your panels, it’s time to transfer everything on A4 paper. This is like a resized version of your thumbnail. Note that whatever you doodled in thumbnail may not have the same outcome in the drafting process. You might change some things here and there which is normal.
All the drafts can be seen here
I don’t put many details on my draft because I had planned to do everything else digitally.
3. COMPLETE (after you’re done with lineart and screentoning)
this is just 6 pages out of my 10 pages comic, if you’d to see more like you can purchase our Not Your Average Heroes! here for only RM12~
Each process does not necessarily have to be 100% on paper or 100% digitally, it’s up to which medium you’re comfortable with.
Another thing… while writing the story, I recommend that you come up with some dialogs first because you may need a huge space in a particular panel for the dialogs. I usually think of dialogs later because I’m bad at scriptwriting, but I leave space for speech bubbles.