1. Thomas Kitchen
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    Thomas Kitchen Proofreader in the Making Contributor

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    Writing a graphic novel

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Thomas Kitchen, Jul 30, 2013.

    Hi there,

    I have a few questions regarding writing a graphic novel. First of all, I just want to say that I have an idea of the story and I definitely have the main character drawn out in my head, so I am still in the planning stages. I do know, however, that the story would not work as a straight-up novel, and in fact I believe the frames will enhance it. But are there any websites that can help me in knowing the difference between graphic-novel and novel writing? Because I have zero experience in this area, apart from having read a few of the things myself. In fact, any tips at all would be great.

    Also, how would I go about hiring an artist, and how much should I pay them? I know it depends on their experience and skill, but obviously I don't want either of us (artist or writer) to get scammed. I've thought about putting up an advertisement in my local art college, which may be a good idea, but again, how much would you pay someone like that? Any help = awesomeness.

    Any general "helpy" stuff is fine by me. :D

    *Edit*
    Another thing: how should I go about writing the story? Should I write a few bits of dialogue and then write down how I want that particular frame to look like, or should I write the entire thing and then think about how to lay it out? Thanks. :)
     
  2. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    If you're going to seek traditional publishing for your graphic novel, then you would not do the art work. If accepted, the publisher will hire the artist.

    If you're going to self-publish, then an artist will cost a lot of cash. I know a co-worker that has self-published graphic novels and comics and hired artists. He had to break up his novel into parts to afford it, and the artist he hired liked the project so much that he's working at a cut rate (he probably charges 3-4 times the amount) professionally.

    It is a skill more than just drawing sketches, so a local artist at a college may not have the skill to do the novel justice.

    In any case for a graphic novel, expect to shell out in the thousands rather than the hundreds.

    Now, if you can find someone new to the field with real talent, it'll be a lot less. Maybe you could even do a royalty share contract, but to my understanding, that's pretty rare. Some writers do Kickstarter campaigns to raise the funds to hire an artist.

    However, I would have the novel/writing part finished, so that the potential artist could see the manuscript, and at least create an 'audition' page or two where you could see their work and if it meets the style and mood and such of your novel.

    Where to find artists? Maybe seek out self-published graphic novels and contact the author or see the artist's name in the credits. Most will have at least a website and usually a spot on a place such as deviant art, and probably facebook.

    Another place to go would be a local comic book store that sells local authors' work. Check out what's there and contact the author (usually they have a website or some way to contact them in the graphic novel--about the author page or something) or the owner might know how to contact the authors/artists.

    Also it's possible to go to a comic/fantasy/superhero type convention (think Comic-con on a smaller scale--or just go to that). I just got back from FandomFest 2013 in Louisville KY where I was an author guest/panelist and had a table in the vendor hall. There were plenty of artists there, as well as comic book authors--well Stan Lee was one of the guests of honor, along with William Shatner. I think 20,000+ or so people attended. It mainly at the convention center there, and the fire marshall had to stop people from going in for quite some time (that led to a lot of discontent). I've also attended smaller/midsized conventions a few times, such as ConCarolinas. It was less expensive to attend as a visitor. I don't really know how much they (conventions) charge attendees, but usually a through a weekend pass or by the day. I've never attended DragonCon in Atlanta, but my brother-in-law does as a performer with the Atlanta Radio Theater Company. That would be an excellent place to scout artists out and maybe speak with authors (both published and self-published). Not only at their tables, but also conferences have literary panels on various topics related to writing. Going to those, you can get specific questions answered by authors at various levels, from authors published by major houses, small houses and self-published. Depending on the convention, they also have editors from various publishers.

    Writers conferences often have the same, mostly panels, with agents/editors/authors, sometimes with pitch sessions with agents and editors, but you won't find artists.

    I cannot advise you on how to write the novel. The co-worker's novel originally wrote it as a novel that was semi like a script (he was spoofing reality shows). That lent it to graphic novel translation more readily.

    I'd complete your novel first before you start spending big bucks on travel/cons, but there's nothing to stop contact via email and FB and such to network and get ideas.

    Good luck. Sorry I cannot be of more assistance.
     
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  3. Thomas Kitchen
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    Thomas Kitchen Proofreader in the Making Contributor

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    Thanks so much for the info! I'm already starting to plan a lot more deeply. :) And I completely forgot about Kickstarter. I'm not yet sure if I want to traditionally publish as it's more of a "fun" project than a serious one, but we'll see where it goes; if the story goes somewhere, then maybe I'll look into it.

    Cheers! :D
     
  4. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    they're written like screenplays, since the action 'direction' is needed for the illustrator to be able to know what needs to be drawn... and the story is told mostly through dialog and images, not having much narrative, unlike regular novels... so you will have to learn how to write a script, first of all... not an easy thing to do well on one's first try...

    google for 'how to write a graphic novel script' to see what i mean...
     
  5. ManOrAstroMan
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    ManOrAstroMan Magical Space Detective Contributor

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    Peter David is someone else who's written a good book on crafting graphic novels, both from the visual and literary side of things.

    As for finding an artist? Well, there are those methods mentioned above. You could also check out sites like conceptart and deviantart, and post inquiries in their respective forums.
    Hiring an artist out of your own pocket before the project is published or accepted by a publisher is risky business. The other option for the not-yet-accepted-by-a-publisher author is to find an artist and become their partner in the project. This would mean giving up some creative control--which may not be a bad thing. Artwork is the first thing noticed about a graphic novel, and much of the storytelling relies on the visual structure and pacing. Artists are visual thinkers and could help inform storytelling choices.
     

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