Tutorial - Making a Figure Comic

Due to a number of requests I have decided to make some tutorials on how I go about making figure comics and figure photos. Today I will explain step by step my process of making a figure comic.

Step 1
Now the most important step and beginning step to making a comic is the idea for the story or if it is a comedy the punch line. Once you have and idea you can then plan where to set it which figures to use and what image you want in each section of the comic strip. I will always have the story fully formed in my head before starting and I will often have an idea of what type of action I want in each section of the comic.

Step 2 
After you have decided on your story its time to set the scene. Now your setting can be either simple or complex you may even use several settings within your comic. No matter what the setting you should spend some time setting it up and making sure it will look good from a variety of angles. 

Step 3
Now the you have your setting its time to go to the figures, now I usually will shoot my comics in chronological order, however on occasion I wont, but generally I will and so once my first setting is set I will get my figures out and pose them to the positions I want them for the first shot. 

Step 4
Once my figures are posed I will then position them in the setting as I want them for the first shot. 

Step 5
Next I will then take several shots from a number of angles till I get one which will capture the action of the shot the best, and this is why I will take time setting up the set so that I can play around with a number of angles once the figures are in the scene. 

However for some particular shots I may already want a specific angle and will then set up the scene with additional supports if needed to get the shot and these will not be scene in the shot. For example the above photo I wanted a shot with a figure in the air and so I used a Figma stand and just a random item from my room to act as a counter weight to hold the figure in position. 

Step 6
Once I am done shooting I will then put my photos onto my computer and go to PhotoScape which is a free to use photo editing software with some fun little features. I will start the editing process by picking the shots for the comic and deleting the rest. I will then go through the photos and edit the brightness and colour contrast of the photos to enhance the mood of the comic, so I may brighten some up and then darken others, for some comics I will also use specific colour filters, and PhotoScape have a number of filters available so you can give your comic a western feel if you like with a faded old photo filter. 

Step 7
After picking the shots and some general editing I will start going through the shots one by one adding effects. PhotoScape comes with a number of fun cartoon effects which are easily added to photos and act like a stamp. 

Bellow you can see one effect emphasizing a figure tripping over a sleeping cat. 

You can also play around with the transparency of these effects and the size to make them fit in with your scene. Often I will also use words with transparency to emphasize certain things, like falling, running, surprised! for me this adds to the comedy of the piece.

Step 8
After I have added all the special effects I will add in dialogue. PhotoScape has a number of speech bubbles and fonts to choose from so getting speech into comics is a breeze. I will usually pick one shape of speech bubble and one font and use that for a certain character for the whole comic and pick different shape and font for another character so that it is easy to follow who is saying what and also gives the reader the feeling that each character has their own different sounding voice. I usually try and match the bubbles and font to the feel of the character if possible, for example a cute character might have a round speech bubble and use Comic Sans, while an aggressive character will have a sharp edged speech bubble and more formal straight font. Also at this point I will add in narrative dialogue if needed usually in the upper left hand corner of the photo in its own little white box.

Step 9
Once all the effects and speech have been added I will then put them together in a comic strip, and once again PhotoScape has a perfect function for this, called combine where you can combine any number of photos either in a strip down, a strip to the side or even a checker box style. 

Step 10
And there you go now you have a fully finished comic ready to up load to where ever you see fit. 

If you have any further questions feel free to make a comment bellow.