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How to create comics the Steve Whitaker way

The late, great Steve Whitaker drew this guide to creating comics back in the 1990s and it’s available online via Flickr if people want to use it for teaching purposes, published under a Creative Commons license.

Printed in the Society of Strip Illustrators newsletter for September 1992, it’s a terrific instructional page about how comics works that was presumably intended for use in the London Cartoon Centre classes which Steve ran.

Strangely, this is the second time Steve has cropped up in online happenings for me this week: this time it’s the result of an appeal by Bryan Talbot, who plans to use the art as part of a presentation on comic storytelling next week to a secondary school whose, pupils are doing a graphic novel on their local history inspired by his graphic novel, Alice in Sunderland.

The first time it was a social networking site suggesting I become his friend, which was really spooky given that he’s not been with us since 2008

About John Freeman

The founder of downthetubes, John describes himself as is a "freelance comics operative" who is currently working as a freelance editor for TITAN COMICS, as Creative Consultant on the new DAN DARE audio adventures for B7 Media, and on promotional work for the LAKES INTERNATIONAL COMIC ART FESTIVAL and LANCASTER COMICS DAY. John has worked in British comics publishing for over 25 years, starting out at Marvel UK, where he edited a number of the Genesis 1992 books with Paul Neary, including DEATH'S HEAD II and WARHEADS. At Marvel he wrote strips for THE REAL GHOSTBUSTERS, THUNDERCATS, DOCTOR WHO and co-created SHADOW RIDERS with Brian Williamson and Ross Dearsley. His numerous credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine at Marvel and Star Trek Magazine and Babylon 5 Magazine at Titan Magazines, where he was Managing Editor. He also edited STRIP Magazine and worked as an editor on several audio comics for ROK Comics, including TEAM M.O.B.I.L.E. and THE BEATLES STORY. He has written comics for Marvel UK, Judge Dredd Megazine, Lucky Bag Comic, CGL (an Italian publisher), STRIP Magazine and ROK Comics; and edited some of Titan's British comics collections including Dan Dare and Charley's War. Most recently he is writing CRUCIBLE as a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz, published on Tapastic; and DEATH DUTY and SKOW DOGS with Dave Hailwood for the digital comic 100% Biodegradable.


  1. Thanks for the post. It’s always lovely to see Steve’s work still floating around. Even better that it’ll be used to teach new generations about an art-form he loved so much.

    As for Steve popping up in spooky coincidences, that’s also happened to me before. I’m sure he’s doing it on purpose with a big grin on his face. He was such a big hearted fella of immense talent but he also had a devilish sense of humor.

  2. He’s still floating around as a potential friend on Facebook. This is doubly sad for me as Steve (whom I knew for more than 33 years and kept in regular communication with since my move stateside in 1975) is the one who got me into online social networking. At the time of his death, I’d been on LiveJournal (at Steve’s urging) just a few months.
    By the way, I credit Steve with teaching me about cartooning (a hobby that’s paid off a little here and there). I’ll never be anywhere near the artist he was.

    –Mike Mittelstadt
    Watertown, NY

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