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How to Make a Graphic Novel? – The Complete Guide

Are you tired of just reading about your favorite heroes in spandex? Want to dive deeper into the world of “sequential art” and create your own epic graphic novel? Well, you’re in luck because this guide has got you covered and you can make a stunning graphic novel with a digital book maker! You can later share them online with your audience and present your story in a form as the one presented below:

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MAKE YOUR OWN


Thanks to movie-based superhero stories, comic books and graphic novels have exploded onto the scene and taken over the mainstream. From young adult romance to horror to historical fiction, there’s a graphic novel for every taste in bookstores. And with this guide, you’ll be able to join the ranks of the comic book greats.

If you ever dreamed of becoming a comic book writer, grab your pencil, because in this article you’ll learn how to create a graphic novel that will make Stan Lee proud!

From this blog post you’ll learn how to design a graphic novel, what does the entire writing process look like, and what are the best ways of publishing a graphic novel.

Although the process of creating a graphic novel and making a comic book is similar, in this article you will notice the key differences between these two kinds of publications.


What is a graphic novel?

what is a graphic novel

Comic books are considered a new art form, but in fact, they have been around for a long time, and are older than cinema. They used to be in newspapers as comic strips, and then became available as magazines – in America often about superheroes, but not exclusively. Apart from American superhero stories and Japanese manga, European countries like UK, France, and Belgium are also known for their comic books. However, many people found them too complicated or intended only for children.

That’s why the “graphic novel” emerged in the second half of the 20th century. It is similar to a long comic book but it usually can be found in a regular bookstore, not in a comic book store. A graphic novel is still a comic book, it tells a story using illustrations and word bubbles. However, unlike comic books, they are usually one consistent story – much like a novel. The first graphic novel is considered to be Will Eisner’s A Contract with God.

Graphic novels permit the author to tell a complete story using complex characters – one of the most famous stories is Maus by Art Spiegelman, which tells the story of a Holocaust survivor. You can read graphic novels in one go-without learning the complete story of a character.


Where to publish your graphic novel?

Online platforms like Publuu flipbook maker can help you publish your graphic novel online. Publuu can convert a PDF into a beautiful flipbook that looks like a book with the help of real page-turn effects and sounds of flipping pages as in the example below. Further, you can give access to the flipbook to your Kickstarter backers, and customers, or publish part of the PDF for free to attract readers.

Publuu’s digital ebook example

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MAKE YOUR OWN

 

You can easily customize your graphic novel in a form of digital ebook- you can add sounds, and other interative elements that will surely enhance your story and it will become more immersive for your readers.

You may ask how can I protect my digital ebook? Well, Publuu offers a variety of features that will secure your publication like embed protection where your graphic novel can be only viewed on the chosen website.

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Publishing your own graphic novel can be done in several different ways. If you already have your work ready to be published, you can try publishing your visual novel through a well-known company.

For example, DC Comics, Marvel Comics, and Dark Horse Comics are some of the biggest companies that publish comic books. But these publishers often seek work from authors who are already well-known or who have built a fan base. If you are a new author and have your first graphic novel ready for publication, you may have better luck with smaller, independent publishers who are more open to new talent.

Self-publishing is another way to publish your own graphic novel- much like traditional novels, you create, print and sell the entire story yourself. You can’t rely on a publisher, but you have full control over your work and can make all the creative decisions on your own. This can be a good choice if you want to maintain creative control, but it also means a lot of hard work, besides novel writing!

That’s why many people choose to publish a graphic novels using platforms like Kindle or ComiXology. You can also fund your novel through sites like Kickstarter or IndieGoGo, which can help you raise money and get people interested in your work.


What are the key elements of a graphic novel?

What are the key elements of a graphic novel?

As you know, a graphic novel is a type of book that tells a story with pictures, one after another. It differs from other comics because you usually read the whole story at once. Most graphic novels have four key elements that are the same in all of them.

First, there are illustrations, which tell the visual story.

Then there are word balloons, which are those little dialogue bubbles with tails that show who is talking and what they are saying.

Sometimes narration boxes are also used, which are square frames that describe a scene or tell what a character is thinking. For a long time, graphic novelists used also thought balloons, but today word boxes are used instead.

Sound effects are also quite common, depicting sounds such as “BAM!” and “POW!”

But it takes more than drawing pictures and writing words to create a comic book novel. The most important part is a good story. You need to craft a graphic novel story by relying not on words, but on illustrations and visual effects – and the writing process can take a lot of work.


What Is the Difference Between a Graphic Novel and a Comic Book?

As you know, graphic novels are longer than comic books. They are usually complete stories that can be read in one go, while comic books are shorter and are often part of an ongoing series. You don’t need to know what Spider-Man has been doing for the last two years to enjoy a graphic novel.

It’s also worth remembering, especially when it comes to publishing, those graphic novels are printed in book format, just like a novel, often as a trade paperback. On the other hand, comic books are usually stapled or bound together in a magazine-like format. Sometimes several issues of a comic book may be published as a graphic novel – Bone by Jeff Smith was initially serialized, but it’s better known as a collected volume.

Graphic novels tend to have a more complex, nuanced story and a more detailed world than comic books. They often deal with more mature themes and are written for a more adult audience. The drawings in graphic novels are also often more detailed and intricate to really draw the reader into the world and the compelling storyline.

If you consider yourself as a good writer and you dream of becoming a renown author you can also make an online book from which you can later make an adaptation in a form of a graphic novel. This could be potentially beneficial since you can expand your work to more target audiences..


How to make a graphic novel?

How to make a graphic novel?

Study other graphic novels

Reading other graphic novels is a great way to learn how they work, and what readers expect. For example, if you want to write a graphic novel about superheroes, you can look at classics such as Alan Moore’s “Watchmen” or “Batman: The Dark Knight Returns” by Frank Miller. Both of these graphic novels are considered masterpieces, but they are very different.

Each has had a major impact on today’s comic book scene and many movies. If you take some time to read and think about other graphic novels, you can improve your writing and drawing skills and find your own voice and style. Remember that copying others is inevitable but you need to create your own artwork, graphic novel script and art style!


Look for the publishing platform

One way is to self-publish your graphic novel, whether online or print-on-demand. In addition, Publuu flipbook creator allows you to create an online PDF flipbook, which can be a great way to showcase your graphic novel on your website or social media channels.

With Publuu’s digital ebook creator, you can publish your graphic novel online and use many multimedia features in the customization process – adding additional galleries, interactive links, or videos. You can easily sell access to your graphic novels, as well as share them with others or even sell it on your website.

Another idea is that many publishers of graphic novels are open to submissions from new and unknown writers and illustrators. For example, Image Comics is a popular independent comics publisher that has published critically acclaimed graphic novels such as “Saga” by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples. Other publishers like DC Comics and Marvel Comics may also accept graphic novel project submissions. However, if you don’t have experience, there’s little chance that someone will suggest it to you


Decide what kind of story you’re telling

You need to decide what kind of story you want to tell in your graphic novel. By knowing what to expect from your content, you will be sure how to write and draw. You need to consider the genre, tone, and themes you want to explore in your story. You can create a mystery, romance, or fantasy adventure.

Also, consider the age range of your audience, and consider whether you want to create a story for children, teens, or adults. Many graphic novels, like Dark Knight Returns, are intended for a mature audience, but this is not the rule.


Choose your visual style

Choosing the visual style for your comic book novel is a significant part of the creative process. For example, the use of bold, bright colors might be suitable for a story with a whimsical or humorous tone, such as “Scott Pilgrim” by Bryan Lee O’Malley.

In contrast, a more muted palette can effectively convey a somber mood, like the award-winning “Persepolis” by Marjane Satrapi. Visual ideas are just as important as the story idea in a graphic novel.


Get your first draft down

Get your first draft down of your graphic novel

Getting a first draft together can be difficult, but it’s important to get started. When working on a graphic novel, making changes is natural, but if you already have a first draft of the story, you can start preparing the graphic storyboard. Take some time to come up with ideas and solve any problems that arise.


Tighten your dialogue

Effective dialogue is crucial to the success of any graphic novel. It should be precise and purposeful, moving the story forward in a meaningful way.

One great example of this is the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies. The dialogue in these films is witty, natural-sounding, tight, and impactful, providing just enough information to move the plot along without overwhelming the audience with unnecessary exposition and detailed backstories.

As you work on your graphic novel, take a page from the MCU and make sure every line of dialogue serves a purpose. If it doesn’t, consider revising or cutting it entirely.


Format visuals and dialogues

 

After you’ve completed the writing of your script, the next step is to create the illustrations for your graphic novel. You can create the images on a computer using various graphic design software, such as Adobe Photoshop or the open-source Krita, or by drawing them by hand and then scanning them onto your computer.

Once you have your illustrations, it’s time to format them for the graphic novel format. This involves breaking the story down into panels and deciding where to place dialogue and sound effects.

After formatting, you can export your graphic novel to PDF format, which is commonly used for digital publishing. You can sell your PDF on an external website or display it as a digital PDF using Publuu ebook maker.


FAQ


How Many Pages Is A Graphic Novel?

Graphic novels vary in page count depending on the story. Some graphic novels are simple, while others are complex. Graphic novels are longer than comic books, which are usually 20–40 pages. Depending on the story and publisher, graphic novels can be 80 to 500 pages. Epic fantasy graphic novels may need more pages to tell the whole story. The story dictates a graphic novel’s length.


How Long Does It Take To Write A Graphic Novel?

The time it takes to write a graphic novel can vary widely depending on a variety of factors, such as the complexity of the story, the level of detail in the artwork, and the amount of research required. Some graphic novels may be completed in a matter of months, while others can take several years to write, illustrate, and publish.


Is it hard to make a graphic novel?

Graphic novels require storytelling, creative writing, and visual art, which can be difficult. Creating a graphic novel from scratch takes time, effort, and dedication, especially if you do it yourself. Narrative storytelling, character development, visual design, and drawing, inking, and coloring skills are required. However, anyone can create a graphic novel with practice, patience, and persistence.


What are the 3 main types of graphic novels?

The three main types of graphic novels are fiction, non-fiction, and memoir. Fiction graphic novels include original stories, adaptations, and genre fiction such as superhero comics. Graphic novel examples in this category are “Bone”, “Watchmen” or “Adventures of Tintin”

Non-fiction graphic novels encompass a wide range of topics, including history, politics, science, and more. One famous example is “Understanding comics” by Scott McCloud which explains how does sequential storytelling work.

Memoir graphic novels are autobiographical personal journeys, with the author using sequential art to tell their personal story. Maus tells the story of a World War II survivor, and Marzi tells the story of growing up in communist Poland.


Do graphic novels have scripts?

Graphic novels typically have scripts that serve as the blueprint for the story and the visuals. The script includes the dialogue, panel descriptions, and other details that guide the artist in creating the artwork.

Some graphic novel scripts are very detailed, while others are more open-ended and allow the artist to interpret the story in their own way. The level of detail in the script often depends on the collaboration between the writer and the artist, as well as the specific needs of the project.


What do you need to write a graphic novel?

You need a story idea that can be told visually and can fit into the graphic novel format. You will need to write a script that outlines the plot, characters, setting, and dialogue of your graphic novel. If you plan to draw the artwork yourself, you will need artistic talent and skills, including drawing, inking, and coloring.

 

You may be also interested in:

How to Make an Online Book in 12 Steps
Chapbook – a Complete Guide on How to Make & Publish It


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