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Comic Book Print Layout

I’m now the proud momma of a full-fledged comic book! I couldn’t be more ecstatic! The Kickstarter campaign didn’t get funded, even with a #make100 option available. But, that doesn’t matter, I got an opportunity to get a super small print run funded and jumped on it.

My initial thoughts on getting the pages updated for printing were optimistic. A few tweaks in the placement of the word bubbles would help it flow from the screen to paper, but I was in for a rude awakening. I tried to drag and drop the file into the handy template I created in Photoshop with Advanced Print & Finishing’s specifications. It was off, but cutting and resizing it to fit wasn’t an issue. Once that was finished, I checked my notes from a few of the comic followers on webtoons to make sure I kept them in mind while working.

The biggest one came from Alexandria Thompson after I asked for any suggestions on one of the posts,

“My only suggestion is the dialog. It’s difficult sometimes to follow the story and dialog from panel to panel. But the art, the plot, the characters are all so cool!! But it’s just hard for me and my friends to try and figure out what’s going on. They’re voodoo hunters of sorts, right? I can’t wait to see how the relationships evolve! A mature fantasy romance is right up my ally!”

The main issue of the dialog not flowing was pulling the reader out of the story and making them work to understand what order to read the bubbles in. That is a major writing faux pas and needed to be corrected for the people online before the pages were sent to the printer. As an avid writer of just about everything, I blamed my inexperience since some pages were made over two years ago. But, I’d learned a lot since their publication and should have corrected them sooner.

No need to beat up myself, just get to work. I pulled up the old page and outlined the word bubbles in the order that fit the script.

I had to post a query on Instagram while I was at it.

A photo posted by Ashleigh (@vudulegends) on

You’d think I hadn’t read as many comic creation books and blogs as I have. I was making rookie mistakes like I was new to the game. But, I realize I was submerged in the story and world, I knew who was saying what and when they said it. That knowledge set blinders on my face and I plowed through lettering the comic with no regard to the reader. How could they know what was going on? I’ve been sending them into a word search with distracting pictures in the background.

The only thing that saved the folks of Tapastic and Webtoons was the ease of posting a super long comic page.

It had placated me and put me to sleep. Now, I have awakened into a nightmare, which could make me dread weekends. Filled with correcting old mistakes, without making something new and fun. Plus, what was I thinking when I put a drop shadow on everything!

I had to find a better way for them to speak to each other. More conversational, but still telling the story and getting to the point. I also noticed that my bubbles weren’t very uniform, so I pulled out my notes from Nate Piekos of Blambot. The main thing here was to make the text uniform and bold so that it would standout. The bubble sizes needed to be adjusted to enough room for the words to look comfortable, not cramped. With that issue fixed, I checked the layout again and had a much better outlook.

To be absolutely sure, I searched for any more recommendations to make the words flow better with the art. I ran across and article by Chris Oatley called Comic Layout Tutorial: Comic Balloons & Clarity. It was very informative and made a really good point about the bubble tails or arrows being sign posts for the readers.

“Your tails also need to point in directions that push and pull the reader throughout the page from one panel to the next in the appropriate order.”

We were on the road now with headlights on! It was time to work, and the remodel took some time but had a nicer outcome. Now, the word bubbles are in place and their tails guide the eye along with the art. Then, screech on panel five! There was something that jumbled the eye and pulled me out of the art. How the heck does that happen? The original art made the reader have to process a turn in perspective that wasn’t necessary. Up until this point, Stephen has been on the right and the Chief on the left. Now, the camera moved a full 180 and that was a no-no.

The angle was flipped and after some free transform action, panel five was corrected.



VuDu Legends Issue 1 Page 01 Best  

When I worked on the printing conversion, I was hopeful in getting a completed Kickstarter for a color print run. That wasn’t the case, so I had to make a player decision, get some prints with black and white interiors or go to Momocon with poster prints only. Having only posters at my first convention was not going to fly, I needed some prints and I personally love Michael’s pencil lines, so black and white it was.

After some more review, the page finally looked to be in order and finished. Not perfect, because after I got over my high of having a printed copy VuDu Legends in my hands, I saw an issue. Not go to tell you what it is, because, at this point, it’s a little less than a ‘meh’ issue. That brings me to another point, finished not perfect. Jake Parker is a fantastic artist that I follow on Facebook who put out a wonderful ASA (Artist Service Announcement) that I have been keeping at the forefront of my mind whenever I do my work. When I get bogged down in the details and nothing seems to be working out, I figure out if it is good enough to get my point across and move on. The project needs to get done and focusing on the first few pages for days on end isn’t going to help in that need.

After all of the crazy that went into creating my first printed comic book, I still want to dive into the next. As long as learning keeps evolving and finishing beautiful projects is the plan in action, it can happen.

Are there any projects you are working on that could us some more tweaks that can classify it as finished?

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An extra element?

Paying for doing those Dirty Deeds

*Be warned, there’s some harsh language and made up offensive words in this post.*

We have gone over all of the elements of romance and you should be happy with using your newfound skill in picking them out of your favorite stories. You should also be able to put together a pretty good outline of what you want your own story to be. Which is great!

Now, I have one more to throw at you for good measure. An Element 0.5, sort of. Continue reading An extra element?

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Getting the Stats to Fill the Need

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Why this Romance Graphic Novel thing?

You should know by now that I believe that romance is a big deal. I base this on the fact that it shows up in just about every medium of entertainment there is. But that might just be because I crave it in all forms of entertainment. So, to prove my point I had to gather some stats to justify my crazy endeavor to head a publishing house that specialized in romance graphic novels.

Take a look at the stats of just one medium, novels, at Romance Writers of America.  Here is the statistic I needed you to see:

Estimated annual total sales value of romance in 2013: $1.08 billion (source: BookStats).

I hope you noticed that the red word there starts with a “B.” That has to show that there is a really large segment dedicated to the romance industry. You won’t find stats like this in the romance graphic novel industry. Is there really an industry for it? I believe so. Graphic novels are a pretty much an untapped medium when it comes down to a dedicated romance genre. At least not with the full elements of romance right now. Continue reading Getting the Stats to Fill the Need

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Plotting the Romance

I do hope you had a fun time going over romance stories in any medium and noting where the elements of romance showed up. You better had! Well anyway, ready for some more fun stuff to be added to your blessing/curse file? If not, go read some more romances.

Time for some more planning!  I used to write whatever came to mind as I went through my story. I may have known the beginning, middle, and end (most of the time no middle).  This didn’t make writing short stories easy at all, so I definitely don’t recommend it as a strategy for writing graphic novels. Continue reading Plotting the Romance

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Writing Challenge Fun!

I follow lots of blogs and most of them are all about the art of writing. Well, most of them exhibit great writing styles, so maybe more than half help me in my studies. One of my favorite things to do is participate in writing challenges. The only problem was, I wouldn’t share them. Well, I know keeping them to myself isn’t very helpful. Sometimes I think sharing them is in that same boat. Continue reading Writing Challenge Fun!

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What Makes a Romance Graphic Novel a Romance?

Romance can span over many genres and have any tone or style. The time and/or place won’t hinder the writer’s ability to create a romance, but it seems the medium can limit its scope. How can you portray a relationship in a comic or graphic novel while still adhering to what a comic is? Continue reading What Makes a Romance Graphic Novel a Romance?

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Welcome to Final Beat Comics!

Ahhh, romance. The biggest beast of a genre there can be. No matter what medium it comes in, be it movies, songs, novels, TV shows, comics, etc., romance is everywhere. It shouldn’t be a surprise that it permeates every aspect of our entertainment, romance is about relationships and as humans, we are a social people.

We thrive when there is a connection between us. Family, friends, associates, it doesn’t matter. We depend on the relationships we have throughout our daily lives. There are a few that would contest that piece of information with independent living styles, but there are far less than those few who can say they have nothing to do with romance. Continue reading Welcome to Final Beat Comics!