How Comics Work

How Comics Work by Dave Gibbons and Tim Pilcher

Format: Paperback / softback, 192 Pages
ISBN: 9781577151579
Publisher: Wellfleet Press
Buy from an Online Retailer

In How Comics Work, Dave Gibbons offers a class in creating comic books. Learn scriptwriting, page layouts, lettering and more from the incredible artist behind Watchmen!

This "How It's Done" series reveals insider hints, tips, and tricks from one of the world’s greatest comic creators in his own words. The artist behind juggernauts like Watchmen and The Green Lantern, Dave Gibbons is here to teach you scriptwriting, page layouts, lettering, cover designs, and more, and he’s doing it with scans of original artwork and rarely seen workings to illustrate his personal creative processes. 

How Comics Work covers both Gibbons' hand-drawn and digital design techniques in depth. An early adopter of computer design in comic creation, all his lettering is digital, and he even has his own 'hand-lettered' font. This is your chance to gain insight to Gibbons' digital work, from his computer coloring and 3D modelling with Angus McKie on Give Me Liberty, to his work on The Originals using digital greytones. You’ll learn how he layers text for editing, creates effects such as flares and neon glows, and prepares artwork for print and online.

Dave Gibbons is one of the most famous comic creators working today, with over 40 years experience, having worked for every major publisher in the US and UK. He is most famous for his collaborations with Alan Moore, including Watchmen, and was last year named Britain’s first comics laureate. Throughout this insightful course are real-life examples of Gibbons’ art, revealing how he solved actual problems with practical solutions, and yielding unique behind-the-scenes insights into the creative process. All of the examples are scanned from original artwork, sketches, and preparatory designs, many of which have never been published before. Learn the stages of layout and page planning via the initial designs of Give Me Liberty; discover Gibbons’ handy tips for lettering using never-before-seen examples from The Originals; and find out the secrets of successful writing with sample scripts from The World’s Finest and The Secret Service.

Tim Pilcher is a pop culture expert and has worked in and around the comics industry for over twenty years as a writer and editor. He initially started as an assistant editor at DC Comics' Vertigo imprint. He was associate editor on the trade paper, Comics International. He has written comics for the BBC, DeAgostini, Weldon Owen, and the Young Telegraph, and has worked for numerous book publishers, including Penguin Children's Books and Dorling Kindersley. Pilcher has written over sixteen books on comics, including the bestselling Erotic Comics: A Graphic History, Comic Book Babylon, The Little Books of Vintage... series, The Complete Cartooning Course, and The Essential Guide to World Comics with Brad Brooks. He has also contributed to numerous other books including Comix: The Underground Revolution, 500 Comicbook Action Heroes, The Slings and Arrows Comic Guide (1st Edition), 500 Essential Graphic Novels and War Comics: A Graphic History. He has lectured on comics at Reading University, UCL, The ICA, Dublin Trinity College, The Imperial War Museum, and The British Library. He is the UK liaison for international graphic novel publisher, Humanoids. He occasionally updates his intermittent blog, Sex, Drugs and Comic Books

Format: Paperback / softback, 192 Pages
ISBN: 9781577151579
Size: 8.9 in x 10.2 in / 226.06 mm x 259.08 mm
Introduction & Foreword by Mark Millar

Chapter 1: Scriptwriting
Early Influences
 Character backstories
Plotting and world-building: The Treatment
Pacing: Survivor with Ted McKeever
Writing for yourself: The Originals
Writing for others: The World’s Finest, Rogue Trooper, and Kamandi
Writing influences: Frank Miller

Chapter 2: Visual groundwork
Early Influences
Character and costume design
Designing superheroes: Watchmen, Dan Dare
Character style guides: Give Me Liberty
Redesigning existing characters: Green Lantern
Landscape, sets and location design
Vehicle design: The Originals
Using 3D modelling programs for set and vehicle design
Creator Stars: Frank Hampson

Chapter 3: Sequential Storytelling
Early Influences
Page layouts and design
Grid structures: Watchmen, Masks, and The Secret Service
Page designs: The Matrix Comics
Panel design: For The Man Who Has Everything
Interpreting scripts: Tharg’s Future Shocks
Thumbnails and visual pacing: War Stories: Screaming Eagles
Pencils: Doctor Who
Inks: Harlem Heroes
Digital inking: Batman: The Black and White Bandit
Working in Manga Studio
Digitally cleaning up artwork: Rogue Trooper
Outputting digital artwork for print and online
Artistic Hero: Wally Wood

Chapter 4: Lettering
Early Influences
Page mark-up and dead space
Balloon positioning and flow
Balloon variations
Typography and font design
Kerning and leading
Designing a digital font
Sound effects
Do’s and don’ts
Lettering King: Sam Rosen

Chapter 5: Coloring
Early Influences
Drawing for color
Fully painted artwork
Markers and dyes
Digital color: The Treatment
Digital greytones: The Originals
Digital effects and 3D modelling: Martha Washington Goes to War
Updating old color art
Painter Focus: Frank Bellamy

Chapter 6: Design
Early Influences
Cover and logo designs
Front cover design: Haunted Magazine
Back cover design
Wraparound and spine design: The Originals
Interior book design: Watchmen
Character and title logos
Design Star: Chip Kidd

Chapter 7: Projects
Write a script
Interpret a script
Design a character.
Design 5 different layouts for the same page
Digital coloring
Picture credits

A hell of a read.
Essential reading.

How Comics Work is the next best thing to an actual apprenticeship with Dave Gibbons.

There’s a million books on how comics are put together, but none from the master storyteller behind the greatest graphic novel of all time. This is Orson Welles giving you a movie tutorial. If you’re serious about this business this should be sitting on your desk.
Dave Gibbons teaches you scriptwriting, page layouts, lettering, cover designs – everything you need to create your own comic. You're learning from the best here.