Tag Archives: style

12Jul/22

How to Write A Script for A Comic (DC Style)

Writing with a pen on a note book

A question that perhaps should be asked more often is “How do I write a script for my comic?” A lot of people get a great idea for a comic and sit down at their keyboard only to realize that they don’t know how to write a comic. So if you Googled this and stumbled across this post, good on you. You’re ahead of the game.

The secret to comic scripting is that you can do it any way you want to. Whatever works best for you and your artist, is the right way. If that’s half coherent notes on a napkin then so be it.

However, if you want more guidance, there are two more structured schools of thought when it comics to writing a comic script.

  • DC Style (Full Script)
  • Marvel Style (Page Summary)

I’ll do a post for both styles.

Today’s post is about the style that I prefer to write in. Full Script, or DC Style.

Is It DC Style or Full Script?

The detectives among you would have already noticed that I used two names interchangeably. DC Style and Full Script. Full Script is the more formal name and it’s more descriptive.

The two different schools of thought became more popular with different editors at the big two. Full Scripting was more popular at DC for a time. Page Summary was more popular at Marvel for a while. Thus, they took on new names for a time.

It’s Full Script Now

The idea of the different styles being defined by DC or Marvel has become outdated. Not only do they share so much of the market with other publishers now, but also editors are less picky. If the script gets turned in on time and meets their standard of quality, that’s what they care about.

So for the most part, we’ll be referring to this style as Full Script.

What Does It Look Like?

Full Script looks how it sounds. Before you turn anything over to your artist or managing editor, you have the entire script written on the page.

That means that each page is labeled and broken up into panels. Each panel has a full description of the background and the action taking place. All the characters have their dialogue written out and attached to the panel it should be in. Every sound effect is listed and defined for the letterer and artist to collaborate on.

I’ll attach a picture of Wolf Hunter’s script since that was how I wrote the book.

Comic Book Full Script

 

How Do I Do It?

So no you know what it looks like. How do you put it into action and write your first script for a comic book?

Step-by-Step

  1. Start with your page header. It should look something like Page 1. Put that as the very first line. Remember, comics are typically 22 pages, but with today’s technology feel free to go hog wild and be as long or short as the story needs to be. You can always break it up into issues later.
  2. The second line will contain the panel header. Panel 1. That’s it. For an action comic, you can expect a page to be 4 to 7 panels. If it’s a more methodical literary piece, anywhere between 5 and 8 panels.
  3. Then underneath that header, begin to write the description of what’s in that panel. Tell us everything that you imagine happening in that panel. “James Willard exits a town car in front of a large hotel.” With practice, you’ll learn what details are important and what is not. Also, ask your artist how much detail they need.
  4. After that write out all your character’s dialogue that should go in that panel. Do each character as a separate line. And try to keep each dialogue bubble contained to a sentence. This will make it easier to read for your creative teammates, and also for the reader. Any sound effects also go in this section.
  5. Repeat steps 2 through 4 until you finish a page and then do it all over again until you finish your book.

 

 

Pros

 

Clear Communication With Your Artist

Media ComparisonThe idea book is scripted out by the time it gets to your artist. It is much easier for them to visualize what you had imagined for each scene. It also gives them more context to use if they want to offer changes. It makes the experience feel more collaborative since everyone has the same amount of information as to what the end product will be.

 

Dialogue Leads Action

Having the dialogue written first allows the characters to come alive as written and use that to lead the actions in the illustration. It prevents the problem of having to rewrite dialogue and possibly change the flow or outcome of a scene based on illustrations that came as a result of your intention being unclear in a summary.

Great For Slower Character Dramas or Suspense

This style of scripting gives you room to set up large changes or reveals. You can purposefully place small details throughout the script to be paid off later. As stated in the point above, dialogue can shine through in this format. If you write strong characters and want to use their voices to tell personal stories, this format could suit you.

Cons

Time Invested

This format is much more time-intensive than writing in Page Summary. Make sure to cut out and protect your writing time to make sure you can complete your script.

Can Feel Overbearing (Easy to Get Attached To Your Writing)

Your artist may want more freedom with their illustration. Don’t get too attached to every single detail you write out. Remember, comics are collaborative.

While writing Wolf Hunter, AJ made tons of changes to panel layout and certain panel elements. I used this format as a way to give him context so that he knew what was important and where I wanted to go. All of his changes got us there in a way that was more visually appealing. I didn’t quash his feedback by saying, “that’s not in the script.”

Easy to Get Wordy

It can be all too easy to get wordy in with this method. Either your dialogue runs on too long, or you stuff too much detail into one panel description. Keep your internal editor on the lookout. If you feel like you’ve written too much, you have. Don’t be afraid to cut something or get feedback and ask if it’s really necessary.

Final Words

I hope this post gave you the information you need to write your first comic book script. If have any more questions or feel like I missed something, leave a comment. I hope to catch you very soon.

Until then,
Make Mine Silverline

 

01Feb/22

Craft : Jose Fuentes

Hey Silverline Fam,

Every Week I have the pleasure to hang out with Jose Fuentes on A Silverline Show on Tuesday. I figured it was about time I got down in the dirt with him and asked him about his craft as an inker. Jose is an all-around talented artist and comics professional, but he takes pride in his inks and has some of the best grit I’ve seen in a person. In this week’s issue of craft, we talk about his use of alternate inking techniques and the work ethic he brings to the page. I hope you all can find some bits of inspiration from the answers Jose gave. I certainly did!

TK: In some of our previous conversations you had talked about applying ink in not just traditional drawn lines, but by flicking or smearing some of the ink. Getting a sort of special effect on the panel. How often do you attempt to do that sort of application or do you have to balance more towards digital inking now?

JF: There are several techniques you can use to give the impression of texture in a flat/2d drawing. Smearing and flicking are just a couple options. I try to use different inking techniques to give that effect on every piece or page if it calls for it. You don’t want to “overwork” a page. You have to be mindful to not overwork the penciler’s work with ink. There is definitely a balance that you have to keep in mind. I try and do the same with any digital inks that I am working on. There are a lot of different digital brushes you can buy/download to help give you the same effects that I try and use traditionally

TK: As a follow-up, how much do you prefer working physically or digitally? What are some of the pros and cons of either?

JF: I prefer to ink traditionally. I like the feel of the crow quill on the paper and trying new techniques. I didn’t use to. I hated to have ink or pencil graphite on my hands, but I have learned to appreciate the process. I don’t get the same feeling from digital, but I have embraced the challenge of trying to achieve the same techniques digitally.

TK: You have also said that you haven’t worked that day if your hands don’t have ink on them. Obviously, that may not be the case if you’re working digitally that day, but do you think that same work ethic, that sense of “really getting into your work” applies?

JF: So the phrase was said to me by Jan Duursema. Then she taught us to [use] various techniques that I still used today. I took everything she taught me to heart and adapted the phrase as more of a motto for my life. Taking this motto into my digital work gives it a bit of a twist. No, I’m not physically getting dirty, but I used it to motivate me to try my best [and use] many digital tricks to make my digital inks look like physical inks

TK: Would you think that mindset is ingrained in you and you apply that to your craft or is that something that came out of specifically your comic craft?

JF: I feel that this developed through the course of my education. I was more laid back in my own personal training, mostly because I was working to take care of my family so I put my art on the warmer. Schooling was a huge eye-opener for me. I learned that I can actually work in comics. I knew I could draw but I never really had much confidence in my career as an artist. My wife is super supportive and has pushed me to reach for my dream job. And now I work on comics full time!

TK: One last thing, what are you currently working on and where can people follow you or see some of your work?

JF: I am currently working on digital inks for Silverline Comics Obsoletes book. Digital colors for a six-page story for Peter Clinton that will be in the Voyage: Melting Pot, and I have a digital coloring job for a book that has been put on the backburner. I’m also lined up to do traditional inks on a book for Jay Cornwell, a local artist in my area.