Our Process in Comic Creation
As discussed in the previous article on Labs’ process for animation: “A well-defined, effective and adaptable process is essential to the success of just about everything we do.” Creating a compelling comic or graphic novel is no different. Comics as branded content are unique in the way that they are tangible and engage a reader more intimately. Often, they are an impactful, cost-efficient choice for businesses looking for a unique way to: communicate vision, introduce new products, engage and train employees, and enhance brand advocacy.
If you are considering using comics in better communicating your business’ needs, the following is the general flow that you can expect.
1) Discovery and Story Planning in Comics
This is a co-creation process. We start with a working session, asking you a lot of questions, and making sure we fully understand your goals and objectives for the project. The conversation is jointly owned. As a team, we identify your objectives, target audience, deliverables, deadlines, budget, and success metrics.
The discovery and planning state ensures we provide you with a visual narrative that not only meets your needs but is one that engages and connects with your audience.
2) Scripting and Storytelling
During this phase, our team of professional writers develops a story that is uniquely your message: a story that also clearly reinforces your messaging and objectives. Storytelling is at the heart of who we are as a company. Good stories, entertaining stories, engaging stories affect people’s lives and produce a more genuine connection with your brand/messaging. In fact, studies have shown that stories can activate sensory processing regions for touch, taste, and smell. With that in mind, we are passionate about getting this perfect.
During the Scripting and Storytelling phase, you will see two deliverables. First is the Story Outline; this is a simplified version of what will become the script. The outline will cover significant plot points, character observations, and indicate the general flow of the story. After the Story Outline is approved, we will deliver a Script that is more detailed and dialogue-driven. Approving the script is your first sign-off in preproduction.
3) Stylistic Choices and Approval
If the story is the “meal” that you are serving, illustration is the “table and plates” you serve it on. We want to ensure that the writing and the illustrative style enhance one another. Everything focuses on making sure your project is compelling and strengthens your message. We will provide you with Mood Board which will include style examples from professional comic artists, and rough sketches of main characters. It is at this point that your vision will start to come together. Approving the mood board is your second major signoff in preproduction.
4) Thumbnail Time!
Between the mood board and a fully developed comic, you will typically be shown thumbnails. Thumbnails are pencil/ink sketches of the panels within the comic (see image below). This stage lets us, and you, see the flow of the comic and fix any story issues. We focus on the facial expressions of the main characters, background consistency, and overall visual composition. Think of this as the “rough draft” of the comic.
5) The Science of Comic Creation!
At this phase–armed with your approved timeline, script, and style choices– our team will “go to the lab” to put it all together! Depending on your timeline and complexity of the project, this can take several weeks to complete. During this production period we are cleaning up the thumbnails, adding in color and words (commonly referred to as “letters” in comic-speak), and fitting the comic to printer’s expectations. Don’t fret! We will be in communication along the way to ensure we meet your agreed-upon timeline.
6) Final Sign-off and Comic Delivery
It’s finally here! Our team will deliver the completed comic that has been led by your team’s objectives, and carefully crafted by us! We are confident that you will receive a compelling story and engaging art that meets and supports your unique needs and business objectives.
This carefully constructed process is an efficient and flexible tool to ensure a seamless experience for you.
Comics are touchable stories that sit and impact readers in uniques, often economical, way. If you are looking to connect with your audience in an authentic way to educate, promote, or humanize your brand comics are a great tool to consider.