Creating Comic Books - Part 5 - Artwork

Now that you have an artist attached to your series, you can begin working with them to bring the script to life.

The first thing I would recommend doing, however, is having them sign a contract. Whether they are working on spec and are your 50/50 partner or you are paying them a page rate, a contract is a good thing to complete in the up front.

Attached is a sample contract.

This is the one I used for the first issue of RELIVE. A couple of notes on this contract. This was created for one issue of RELIVE. This also set it up so that I retained all of the rights of the artwork. So virtually I was paying to have all of the pages created and ownership transferred to me.

This can vary depending on the artist you work with, but some key points you should try to get in writing are:

  1. Price per page
  2. Total cost
  3. Dates that you will receive final work
  4. Dates that you will pay artist
  5. List specifically what you are paying for
  6. List who retains the rights to the work
  7. List what media the rights can be used for

Once the contract is signed by both you and the artist then the work can begin.

How the artwork will come through and be completed will again depend on the artist you work with. In my case, I sent the artist the script. He then sent me rough sketches for all the pages (see below).

After I approved the rough sketches, then he sent me tighter pencils (See below).

After the pencils were approved, he sent over the inks (See below).

The last piece was the colors (See below).

From there, I added in the lettering (See below). I used Adobe Indesign to create the lettering and layout.

So that was the general process used to create the first issue of RELIVE.

When working with an artist, the pencil stage is where you can see the script coming together, but this is also a good stage to make any revisions. If your panel descriptions were well written then the pencils should capture that. If it isn't matching your vision, then talk with the artist and explain more of what you were looking for. Sometimes it can also be helpful to send reference visuals of what you were expecting or trying to achieve with any given panel.

So now that the artwork is complete and the pages are laid out and lettered, it's time to package up all of the hard work and send it out to publishers.