24 Hour Comic Day – The Creative Process and Links

Making a 24 Hour Comic is hard, that much I have told you many times before.

However, I think I must also tell you that it’s much harder when you do it without some kind of structure to work on.

In my “all-random” days, I used to go at it one page at a time until I got close to the cut-off page, then I wrapped things up in some way. If I needed more pages, I often included more characters or information that was not actually needed. There was very few planning or structure, for that matter.

However, since last year I started experimenting with a more structured approach: Thumbnails -> Drawing.

Last year I did all my Thumbs before I even started drawing the final pages, only to realize I needed more pages to finish the story that had been brewing in my head. I decided to commit to the idea of making more pages anyways, so I started to roll with it until I realized there was WAY too much ri-dunk-ulous drama and pacing issues, so I ended up doing some on-the-fly improv with some pages to get the whole thing back on track.

That's 4 pages per sheet. You can also see that there are way too many pages, and after some point it's NOTHING like the final product.
That's 4 pages per sheet. You can also see that there are way too many pages, and after some point it's NOTHING like the final product.

This year’s approach was more structured: I had a vague idea for an ending, and a vague idea for a beginning, and a clear idea of the sort of basic underlying message. Thus I planned it as a three-stage model: Introduction, Development, Conclusion.

  • During the Introduction, which shouldn’t take longer than ~6 pages, I would present the characters and the main location for the rest of the story.
  • The Development is essentially playing around with the characters, while setting things up for the eventual Reveal, which divides the Development from…
  • The Conclusion, in which things get resolved and things work out in the end, maybe in less than 6-8 pages.

Using this structure, I then decided to pace my work accordingly: I would thumbnail six pages at a time, then proceed to draw them digitally.

Six pages per sheet. Every time I went back to the drawing board? Six pages in one go, according to the aforementioned principles.
Six pages per sheet. Every time I went back to the drawing board? Six pages in one go, according to the aforementioned principles.

This system was more efficient, and allowed me to finish relatively quickly, despite all the loafing around I did at some point.

Necessary loafing, mind you, because otherwise the process would’ve been too stressful.

Sample pages, transparent overlay with original digital sketch. Yes, this means each page gets done THRICE (Thumbnail -> Blue Sketch -> Final Ink).
Sample pages, transparent overlay with original digital sketch. Yes, this means each page gets done THRICE (Thumbnail -> Blue Sketch -> Final Ink).

This system might not work for you, though: Everyone has different work ethics, and different pacing needs. Some work better with no thumbnails, others can’t work more than 1 or 2 pages ahead, others need to thumbnail, sketch and ink one page at a time. Practice for a bit, find the pace that works for you, and set it as a standard.

Anyways, that’s my experience.

Want to see what other people have done? Let’s dig into the #24hcd Twitter Tag!

  • “The Rise and Fall of Western Civilization”, by Jeff Overturf. A fun comic about… Well, about how civilization was made! XD IT’S ALSO EDUCATIONAL, if you don’t know a little bit about history XD
  • “Rat King”, by Carey Pietsch. Very interesting read, has some pacing issues here and there, but nothing bad. The art is rough in a nice kind of way, the kind of style I enjoy a lot. The ending!!
  • “Aurora”, by Andrew Gregoire. He’s posting a couple of pages at a time, so be sure to come back to see the final thing! It’s mostly non-verbal and the art is soooooo clean! Makes me SUPER ENVIOUS.
  • “The Hairy Mermaid”, by RR Anderson. Gonna get updated one page a night for the next couple of nights, I guess.  LOOKS PROMISING AND HAIRY. Very fine qualities!
  • “Painterly”, by Tara Abbamondi. You can SMELL the influences in this one, and it’s GOOD INFLUENCES. The kind of thing I wish I could do BUT I CAN’T. Also included: Her comic from 24hcd 2011!
  • “Vandal”, by Veronica Vera. Have I mentioned how much I love those comics that are rough around the edges? They have this raw quality that is hard to match! Also: ANOTHER SILENT COMIC!
  • “I wish…”, by Yvette Gustafsson. The hurriedness makes it a hard read, but the franticness is also good, it’s the kind of work you can tell was made with sweat, tears and love.
  • Many, MANY comics in German and English, courtesy of myComics.de. STUNNING STUFF MAN. Humbling!
  • The 24hcd Tumblr. Haven’t checked them all out due to personal policy (“We don’t go to RavenTumblrholm”)
  • If you thought the Germans were big on these, you should see the French. Are those 113 comics? YES THEY ARE.
  • Not an actual 24 hour comic, but a Photo Comic about people making 24 hour comics. DELIGHT! The last panel is SO TRUE.

If you have ANYTHING else to share, please do! I LOVE reading 24 hour comics, particularly when people are nice enough to share them!! 😀