Words of Wisdom: Dan Conner

Just Make Comics

by Dan Conner

At panels I was on and attended at San Diego Comic Con International this year, I noticed a common question from the audience. People asked the panelists what they should do to become a comics creator. While I have heard this question before, I find it to be an interesting one. The answer, I propose, is just to make comics.

The only difference between a comics creator and everyone else is that one creates comics of some kind, and the other does not. It’s as simple as that. You don’t need the backing of a film studio or even crowdfunding. All you need to do is make comics, and then when you’re done, make some more.

In today’s world of online publishing, it is easier to share your work than ever. You can draw a comic on any piece of paper, photograph it, and publish it digitally within minutes! That post could get thousands of views! A lot of people, however, like something more tangible. Comics may be the easiest way to self-publish, due to their reliance on very little but paper or staples.

You can draw up an 8-page story, add a cover and back cover, an introduction, and a sketch, and easily photocopy or print and longarm staple it all into a book! You can duplicate this as many times as you want! From one copy to thousands, all you need is a nearby print shop or your own printer and a stapler!

You could submit this comic to publishers, sell them to potential fans, or trade with other artists. After having a number of comics like those, you can move on to making your own books if you desire. But the main thing is that you will be growing your comic-making skills.

The best way to learn how to make comics is to learn by doing them. If you need to get better at lettering or perspective, you can get better at those things while you make more comics! You may find that you don’t want to do every level of comics production on your own. That’s fine! That’s why many comics are done through collaborations. Especially in today’s world of social media, you can find team members from near or far who can complement your skills with their own.

I also recommend that you share your work at conventions, so that you don’t exist in a vacuum. This is a great way to get other people’s input on your comics and network with others. While online is great, nothing beats in-person connections. So make comics! After you read this magazine, make comics, and when you’re done, make more comics! We will be waiting for you!

About Dan Conner

Dan Conner is the writer of Disney Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas: Battle for Pumpkin King (TokyoPop, 2023), the first official prequel to the beloved movie. He is also the author of Shakespeare Illustrated Classics: William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Shakespeare Illustrated Classics: William Shakespeare’s King Lear (ABDO, 2023).

His other work includes, as colorist: Disney Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas: Zero’s Journey, The Three Stooges, Pink Panther, Casper, and Underdog. As cover artist: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (including The Last Ronin), Betty and Veronica, and Archie. He is also the creator and primary artist of My Gal, the Zombie. Musicians for whom he has done artwork include Misfits, Iggy Pop, Huntingtons, and Five Iron Frenzy.

Find more information about him at www.connercomics.com and follow @crazygoodconner across social media platforms.

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