Since I began downthetubes.net back in 1999, I’ve published a number of “guide” articles about creating comics, which, with the new structure of the site introduced in June 2013, are perhaps not so easy to find.
With that in mind, this page is intended as a starting point of links to the main articles, as well as other resources that you may find useful in your quest to become a comics creator. May I wish you the very best of luck in your chosen career – you’ll need it!
There are also a number of interviews with comic creators on this site, which should be categorised as “Creating Comics“, so use that as a search term.
You might also be interested in my “Creating Comics” Flipboard, where I try to bookmark items specifically about the industry, including developments in digital comics, crowdfunding opportunities etc. Flipboard is designed to best be read on a tablet or iPhone using a dedicated app but you can view the magazine on the web.
Writing comics is not easy. It takes determination, perseverance and lots of practice, whether you’re an aspiring writer or artist. Here, I outline some of the things that have worked fro me as a comics writer in terms of getting my work published.
Last Updated January 2014: A brief overview on how to go about creating a web comic. There’s also a great Dos and Dont’s article on i09, The Biggest Mistakes People Make When They Start A Webcomic
Some of the sites that amalgamate and enable publication of web comics, such as ClickWheel and Tapastic
An article by Richard Hardiman of ComicPrintingUK with some very useful advice for those of you looking to print your first comic
A list of design software compiled by artist John Ridgway
A brief guide to some web-based creation tools
If you are considering writing comics professionally you may be worried about your work being stolen by others. Equally, given the sources that have inspired you, you may be worried about stealing from others. Here’s some items on the subject, which I hope you’ll find useful. Some of the material is based on a news group posting by Bernie Corbett, General Secretary of the Writers’ Guild of Great Britain, which he very kindly gave me permission to reproduce on here.
WHAT CREATORS EARN?
Comic rates vary considerably from country to country and publisher to publisher, the latter’s rates very dependent on their size and resources. I’ve written strips for publishers for as little as £25 a page up to £60 a page down the years, but while lettering a comic might not strike you as great money, I once lettered a page for an advertising agency and ended up getting paid over £100 for that one page. It’s all a matter of negotiation.
In 2015, comic creator Alex de Campi detailed some US publisher comic rates at an NYC Special Edition convention and subsequently blogged about those rates on her tumblr here. which resulted in a lot of feedback on Twitter, which she Storified here.
NB in the graphic above, some of the rates (those marked with an asterisk*) are not direct conversions of the US rates but are based on rates I am aware creators are paid by commercial comic publishers. You should also note in the columns which are only conversions of the published US rates, UK rates may still differ from company to company.
In recent years for UK publishers I have worked for have paid the following rates: Script, £25 – 40; Pencils and Inks, £125; Colour, £35; Lettering £15. There are some publishers that pay more (thankfully, but there aren’t many) and some that pay less (shamefully). For many creators, the rates have not changed for many years and in some cases, publishers have actually reduced those rates as their own incomes have decreased in the print sector.
The Writers’ Guild of Great Britain published a suggested code of practice vis a vis royalties and contracts and rates in 2011, which you can download from their web site here.
WHAT CREATORS SAY…
The late, great Steve Whitaker was a wonderful comics artist who went out of his way to teach folk the comic craft. He drew a 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.
COMICS COURSES AND WORKSHOPS IN THE UK
Details of comic courses and other opportunities in the UK to learn your chosen craft
SELLING YOUR COMICS
• British Comic Book Sales
Our Current British Comic Sales Figures information is now on GoogleDrive. I hope you find this useful, although it is always depressing to read compared against these figures for 1960s and 1970s Comic Sales
I get a lot of questions from students in the UK and further afield about the British comics industry, so I’m posting some of my replies to often asked questions on this page. I hope it’s useful — but if there’s anything that isn’t covered please feel free to ask me!
Some information on how comics (and magazine) distribution works, and ideas for other ways yo sell your title
By Matt Badham
What is the best way to pitch scripts at conventions? This short guide is based on discussions on the Comics 2000 Yahoo group. Special thanks to those who threw in ideas for this and gave permission for their comments to be included here. For more advice on portfolio presentation, click here. Further thoughts always welcome!
Information on the companies that distribute strips to newspapers
MARKETING YOUR COMICS
Here at downthetubes.net we get a lot of press materials from a wide range of comic creators and publishers. Some of it is very good. Some of it is dreadful. Some publishers seem to think a post on Facebook will gain them sales (it won’t, on its own). I thought it might be useful to outline some thoughts on Marketing Your Comic as a creator as part of our ‘Creating Comics’ strand. In this post, here is some advice on the perhaps most useful and underrated way to get the word out about your title – a Press Release.
Some of the sites we’ve found that will review comics
German illustrator Oliver Wetter wrote this article on how publishing has changed in a digital world below on his “fantabulous visions” blog, and kindly gave us permission to re-post it here on downthetubes.