by Peggy Bechko
Since our newest in the Planet of The Eggs series, Eruption, has now been released in paperback, I decided this week to talk a bit about the creation of the comics. It takes a whole lot of work, but the creation process is such great fun I thought I’d share a bit of it with our readers.
I really can’t tell folks how to find a story idea other than to be open, to research and to be aware of the weird world around you. I can, however give some practical tips.
There’s a lot to it, but basically my writing and creative partner Charlene Brash-Sorensen and I use Comic Life software (you can try it free, but there is a low cost to buy – no, I’m not an affiliate so I won’t make any money if you buy a copy) to create the actual comic, but prior to that there’s a lot of prep work.
Since neither of us are sketchers or artists of any variety, except the manipulation of pictures into our stories, we depend on photography and occasional clip art to create our books. So one of my first tips is your camera. Your phone camera, whatever will take decent pictures. There’s scenery and events all around you that can make great backgrounds for stories (be aware of not taking pictures of people without their permission), but if you need plants, mountains, forests, animals, whatever, keep that camera handy and take lots of pictures.
We even have mini ‘photo shoots’ using things like (in our case) eggs we’ve painted against white background for easy cut-out in photoshop, feathers of various colors from various angles against white, again for easy cut out and a whole lot of other items which makes the images our own and we don’t have to worry about copyright. I’ve even taken close up pictures of flower bouquets and a vigorous fennel plant for backgrounds.
Beyond that there are places online where you can find free and royalty free pictures that can be used. We use Pixabay a lot and of course a google search for ‘commons’ photos and illustrations can yield other resources such as Open Clip Art and many others. If you want to use any pictures you find online make sure they’re royalty free and free to use in any fashion. Or purchase the pictures you need and be sure the license covers what you’re using them for. Read the requirements and follow them. Copyright infringement is a no-no.
We use Photoshop a lot for cutting out characters, changing colors, etc. But, there are phot manipulation tools available that are free. Check out Gimp and Paint.net for a couple I know about. We even use Powerpoint to create some images when we won’t want to work with all sorts of layers and effects. What is created can be saved via Powerpoint to Jpg or png formats.
The whole thing sprang from a simple idea – Heroic eggs determined to save their world. We’ve had to learn a lot to put our books together – I haven’t even mentioned the required dimensions and details here that are required for digital and print publishing. The fun just never stops (and I mean that truly and sarcastically.)
Dive in if you’re of a mind – see what you can create – oh, and while you’re at it, grab copies of Planet Of The Eggs comics –
Available in Kindle Edition and Paperback with more to come!
Peggy Bechko is a TVWriter™ Contributing Editor. Learn more about her HERE. This post originally appeared on her sensationally helpful blog. Peggy’s new comic series, Planet of the Eggs, written and illustrated with Charlene Brash-Sorensen is available onKindle. And, while you’re at it, visit the Planet of the Eggs Facebook page