[ How do I make a comic? – A kids guide to the basics ]

Posted on March 6th, 2017 at 2:07pm

My fab nephew, a budding 10 year old artist (at the time), messaged me all the way from the uk asking me “How do you make a comic?” I thought wow what a question.

A quick search later, I struggled to find a preexisting guide good for kids. The few I found they were too basic. Knowing that my nephew is smart and would want more than “draw a box and draw pictures inside” guide, I set about drawing tips as if I was talking to him about it in person. I had only intended the tutorial for him as they are all very rough, but my husband encouraged me to put them online.

pdf download iconThis is my process for making comics, it’s prob not how everyone does it, but I hope that this is a good starting point for any budding comic creators. I also made a PDF (7.5MB) of this post for printout for personal use, click the icon left to go to document.

How do I make a comic?

The job of the comic creator is to simply allow the reader to follow a story in a specific order with images & text!

Every artist has different styles & different preferences to achieving the above. In this post I’ll cover some comic basics that other comic writers and artists have found works well for them. Hopefully it’s a good starting point but remember:

The best way to learn how to make comics is just to get writing and drawing and learn as you go along. AND have fun =)

The Short Answer

The Long Answer

I have broken the comic making process into 10 simple sections:
Book Layout
Character Design
Panel Layout
Comic Text
Dialogue Tips
Angles & shots

Book Layout

Understanding how to layout a book will help you write & design your story. Even adults struggle to finish long comic stories, so best to start with a short story, no more than 10 pages.


Drawing a comic can take a long time, which is why many comics are short stories. That means every panel and page counts. The best tip is to decide how many pages first and build your story around it. Consider making the story shorter or split it into 2 stories if it is too long.

Character Design

It can be very helpful to design key characters as it can really help you writing their personality.


When you’re happy with the rough story, start to build a script. Think about dialogue & narration (optional). Split each page roughly into 1-6 panels. There are many ways to format scripts… as long as it is clear it’s ok.

Panel Layout

There are many ways panels can be used to help the reader follow the story. Artists have different ways they like to layout their panels, but here I’ll start with some simple layouts for Western style comics.

Comic Text

Here’s some examples of comic text formats. Note: people use different terminologies, this is my personal preference.

Dialogue Tips

Dialogue and images are always going to be fighting for space so bear this in mind when designing panels.

Like panels, use speech bubbles to help readers read the text in the right order. Think left to right and up to down.

Angles & shots

It’s more interesting for readers to vary the shots or angles. You can borrow some bits from films/tv to make the comics more dynamic.


Storyboarding is when the writing and images first come together. Many changes happen here so keep drawings rough. Storyboards are the backbone of the comic process!


When you’re happy with the storyboards you can finally start drawing the art. Here is a common process of art.

Learn More

If you’ve completely surpassed this tutorioal if you want to learn more there is a very good book called Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art by Scott McCloud


  1. Avatar Bailey says:

    Thank you so much for this! I am a children’s librarian who leads a monthly tween writing club. This month we’re talking about comics. Your guide will come in SUPER handy! It’s simple but still detailed enough for serious kid-writers. Thanks again!

  2. Avatar Ms.C says:

    This is amazing, thank you! I am a teacher doing story writing with my grade 5 class, and I plan on giving some students in my class who LOVE COMICS the option to make comic books. I’m a HUGE fan of Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics, and was hoping to find something kid-friendly that is short & similar, TAA DAAAAH , your guide, and as a PDF no less (and a page count in multiples of 4 so I can print it into mini booklets!!!)

    Thanks for sharing this free with the world and teachers like me. <3 <3

  3. Avatar noah says:

    Thank you for this! This really helped me on my school project.

  4. Avatar AE says:

    Thank you for your great job and for sharing it. It is going to be very useful for my school project.

  5. Avatar Joanna Zheng says:

    Thank you for your great job and for sharing it. It is going to be very useful for kids.

  6. Avatar anson german says:

    remember comics can be whatever you want them to be

    • Jess Jess says:

      Sure… but having a starting point can also be vastly helpful for some which is what i say right at the start of the post. I definitely did not suggest this was the only way to do comics or the only way they are formatted.

  7. Avatar Cyntia Leandro da Cruz says:

    Amazing! Thank you for sharing. My students and my son will love it for sure!

  8. Avatar Laura says:


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.