Graphic Novels Illustration: How to Stop Reading and Start Drawing

Graphic Novels Illustration: How to Stop Reading and Start Drawing


Are you always fascinated by the comic superheroes? 


Have you ever found yourself creating a new character in your head? Thinking about their actions, and dialogues exactly as they would appear on paper?


It might be time to let your imagination take over and pick up a pen.


The graphic novel industry is a fast-growing business, and one that is receiving a lot of attention as well. The demand for graphic artists continues to be on the rise with a plethora of opportunities in both literature and illustration industries. 


If you are an aspiring artist, there is no better time to start than now. Here are some tips that you can follow to help you along the way. 

1. Understand the Basics of Illustration 

As you would have noticed, there is not one fixed style when it comes to graphic novels. It would depend on your personal creative style, as well as the type of story you are illustrating. Regardless, if you are starting out as an illustrator, it would do you good to understand the basics of drawing.


When it comes to writing or academic tasks, you might be able to get help from professionals, for example, EssayPro writers. But when it comes to creative drawing, the best way to conquer the industry is by practice. Whether it is just straight lines, shapes, objects or live drawing, the more you draw, the better grip you have on illustrating. 

2. Learn About Comic Art

Comic art is not confined to graphic novels alone. 32% of marketers agree that visual content is the most important and appealing in the current digital landscape. Today you will find comic art adorning blogs, social media, and even videos. The comic art market is hot, only increasing in value with the production of related movies.


Once you identify the scope of comic art, it would be easier for you to narrow down an area you want to focus on. The industry is getting very competitive, and finding your niche could help boost your career. 

3. Learn About Graphic Novels

A comic book or graphic novel can convey a story, or create illustrations based on already-published works. Comic illustrators could be working to develop a whole strip or contribute to separate parts of a novel. If you are hoping to set up a career in the graphic novel industry, it is imminent that you are well aware of how it functions. 


It is not unusual for a team of artists to design a comic, covering different aspects. While a few artists are working on character development, others could be focusing on the background. While the writers cover the script. These roles are certainly interchangeable, with one person contributing to different aspects of the novel. 

4. Pick Up the Essential Techniques

Good drawing skills are indeed a prerequisite for making it in the graphic novel industry. However, there is another key skill that is dominant – the ability to conceptualize. Imagination and creativity are necessary to succeed, along with learning the new techniques rising in the art industry.


Digital drawing skills are not only coveted, but could help to make your process a lot easier, and efficient like never before. It is recommended that you familiarize yourself with popular illustration software. Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop are the most basic ones. Then, it only comes down to practice. Even if you start the process with a pencil and a sketch pad, you will most likely be required to complete the work with one of the digital applications. 

4. Find Your Style 

As the competition is fairly fierce, the more you can stand out, the better it will turn in your favor. Creating your own unique style in the illustration industry will help grow your brand, and help others to identify your artworks. Every artist is unique in their own ways, and you can only benefit from taking pride in your style.


That said, you can also divert your focus on the different elements as said above. Whether you draw characters with realistic anatomy, or comic figures that resemble caricatures, or choose to work on vibrant backgrounds, you can focus on one, or develop a style that could be adapted to all options. 


5. Create a Portfolio

Your most important strength is going to be your portfolio. It will reflect your career growth and artistic personality. Today, you will also need a digital portfolio, preferably in the form of a website or on a creative platform such as Behance. Social media trends have widened the possibilities of every artist, so take advantage of the galleries to showcase your best works. 


While a personal brand is essential, your portfolio should accommodate copies of all your illustrations. Keep in mind that if your artworks from two years ago and today do not show any progress, they will not spike much interest. Show the journey of your personal brand through your works.

6. Opt for an Art School

One of the many ways to get into the comic book industry is by going to art school. A degree is not mandatory, but it could pave your way to an internship or develop further professional connections. In addition, the level of training you would receive would help not only in polishing your drawing skills, but also with your personal skills. 


You will further learn about the techniques used in a studio, both for graphic design, movies, and novels. It could help to diversify your career in the future or pursue a specialized program in a particular type of illustration or post-processing. 

7. How to Succeed as a Comic  Artist 

There are many comic artists who have succeeded in working for companies and as freelancers. Both these ways would require you to build a strong portfolio that will essentially be the key. A comic artist makes about $40,000 a year. This would certainly vary, especially if you are an independent artist.


If you choose to engage in freelance work, it would only be fair to know how the industry works, the different means of finding clients, and regulating your workflow. Take advantage of social media and freelancing websites to exhibit your work and welcome offers. You can also start selling your works through your website or Etsy.


The comic art field, as interesting as it is, also comes with its own demerits. You might not be starting out doing what exactly you love as a job, but it will offer valuable insight to improve your skills. In the meanwhile, keep working on your drawing and designing, and you will soon see your names on the cover pages of some fantastic graphic novels. 



Raymond Thompson is a graphic designer at EssayPro. Upon graduation from Fine Arts at Penn State University, he has discovered his passion for writing. Apart from his constant employment, he often enjoys illustrating and writing comic books, as well as travelling, and cooking.

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