Have you always wanted to make a graphic novel but don’t know where to start or think you have no talent for drawing? Nowadays, it’s possible to create graphic novels very fast and publish them almost immediately. With sites like Amazon and apps like iBooks, you can get your work to readers worldwide while earning money with your novels.
So let’s review the 8 basic steps on how to make your very first graphic novel. In our case, we will create a photonovel or a novel made with photographs.
1. Turn your ideas into a script
This is essentially the backbone of your work. Make sure you develop a very good script with a solid story. There are many ways on how to develop powerful stories with deep meanings, but the key elements to keep in mind are:
- Know your subject or research it thoroughly
- Convey a universal message with your story
- Keep the story simple, few characters, text and locations
Once your script is ready, you can now focus on searching for locations. Since you are doing a simple story, the number of locations can be very few, if not just a single location. It’s very important when dealing with locations to think about the mood of your story and see if they match what you are looking for.
You can invite friends to participate in your project but always keeping in mind that they should be consistent with the main features of your characters. If you go professional, find a local acting agency and browse for the actors that match your criteria and needed experience. Meet them prior to hiring them to know them better and figure out if they are indeed what you are looking for.
Sketch a graphic sequence of your story, also known as storyboard. The main purpose of the storyboard is to have a graphic guide of each shot, depicting framing, composition, movement and the general sequence of the story. Finally, develop a shot list.
5. Equipment & Props
For a photonovel you can use your phone camera or rent a professional DSLR plus lenses and lights to achieve crisp images and create atmospheres. Think about clothing and props; keep it simple again.
Program a schedule for all team members of your project. Use your shot list as a guide for the work to be done in each session and keep good track of time.
Make your own templates with Photoshop or use Comic Life. Fine-tune each photo and correct color, contrast, brightness, saturation, etc.
8. Prepare for Amazon and iBooks
Turn your novel into an epub file. This format works well for both platforms. Search online for tools on how to convert files into epub format.