Creating Comics #2: Aiding Young Comic Creators

I received an email the other day that read as follows:


I wonder if you might be able to help me. I have a son aged 10 that is very interested in comic creation, and he creates HUNDREDS of them. They are, albeit, rudimentary but he is very interested in them and I am trying to encourage him. He typically takes ideas from fiction and television and turns them into comics.

I am interested in any suggestions that you might have on books, materials, anything to advance his quality and creation of more original ideas. He is probably not old enough for some of the continuing ed courses yet, but any thoughts you might have I would appreciate it.

It was a good question, and I thought it'd be worthwhile to share my response here:

That's great to hear! There's a fear in the comics industry that there are no young comic enthuisiasts, so it's great to hear your son loves making comics.

As far as some materials and things to help improve your sons skills, one I would still recommend (and the first book on comics creating I got when I wasn't much older than your son) is
How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way by Stan Lee and John Buscema. This book is written in a very easy to read and understand way by the master Stan Lee, and is full of gorgeous illustrations, some step by step, that will start getting your son drawing more realistic and dynamic anatomy. Highly recommended.
(On Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/How-Draw-Comics-Marvel-Way/dp/0671530771/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1219423894&sr=8-1)

While there are tons of books and other materials about drawing comics, I'd start with the Stan Lee book and see how your son takes to it. I'd also recommend trying to find a comic shop in the area and taking your son there to pick out some comics as a treat from time to time. Now, comics have definitely become more expensive over the years (avg price is now about $3), but many stores have $1 bins or even $0.25 cent bins of older back issues they are trying to unload. I have a couple of nephews your sons age who love it when I take them to the comic shop and they get to raid the bargain bins, pick out what they like, and come home with a big stack of comics. You'll likely find him referring to the comics when he's drawing his own.

Another tip is that you can show support for his creations by giving him some "professional" tools to help set up his own little comic creation "studio." When I started drawing comics, I started on the kitchen table with the pencils and pens lying around the house. Gradually, I upgraded my materials. Some things your son will love:

Obviously, there's plenty more tools of the trade, and if your son reads the Stan Lee book, you may find him asking for some tools that they show in there. Although all it takes is a piece of paper and a pencil to make comics, but there's something about getting quality tools that really makes the process fun.

A final suggestion would be to help your son share or "publish" his comics work. I used to give my dad a stack of my comic drawings in the morning, he'd take them to work and photocopy them, and return with a stack of my own comic books that I could then bring to school and give to friends. So a trip to Kinko's to copy comics that your son is especially proud of would probably be a lot of fun for him.

And since it's the 21st century (and since my background is Education Technology) I'd be remiss if I didn't also suggest helping your son start an online portfolio for his work. A site like www.comicspace.com is a free site set up for comic artists to display their work. You could help your son scan in his comics and set up a site to display his work.

Thanks for the question, and I hope some of this helps. If you have any questions about anything I've mentioned, feel free to ask. And definitely let me know how it goes with your son and if any of these suggestions were helpful.


Tyler James

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