A couple of years ago, I had the chance to talk with graphic designer and author Dan P. Sullivan about what it takes to make a graphic novel.
As a graphic designer, I always like to take the time to talk to clients about what they want from their graphic novel, how it should look and feel, and what it means to them.
This week, we’re sharing some of the lessons I learned during my talks with Dan.1.
Design the design first.
You want to be thinking about how your graphic novel will fit within the context of your work.
You can start by thinking about the look of your book.
If you’re creating a book for your company, it might make sense to make the book look similar to your own work.
If the idea is to sell your book for $10,000, or $20,000 to $30,000—or $100,000 for a limited-edition book—you need to make sure that your design and font is distinctive.
If your design is something like a poster for a restaurant, you need to take care not to make it too big or too small.
For a book that’s meant to be read in the company cafeteria, you can make sure to make your fonts more small, such as the small “D” on the front of the book, which is the size you want for your book to be readable on the coffee table.2.
When you design the book’s visuals, think about the audience.
A graphic novel can be written for a lot of different audiences, but you want to make them feel represented.
Designing the visuals first helps make the graphic novel feel like a personal touch to your audience.
This will also help you to tell your story in a clear, engaging way.
For example, if your graphic novels focus on a group of friends, you might want to include an image of a table in the middle of the dining room, which would be a nice touch to the group of people who aren’t looking at each other.3.
Consider the type of book.
You need to think about what kind of book you’re making.
If it’s an animated book, then you want it to have a unique feel to it.
A comic book might have a clear “this is a comic book” vibe, but a graphic book might not.
Some graphic novels are designed to be enjoyed by a wider audience, and others are intended to be seen by a narrower audience.
If a graphic will be a visual medium, then it might be easier to make an image that fits in with your story, and to make images that are both recognizable and distinctive.
For example, you could make an “art book” that features paintings by artists like Cara Delevingne, which are meant to draw the reader in, while a book by Joe Hill featuring the work of illustrator Alex Ross would be the perfect blend of the two.4.
Consider your book’s title.
If writing your book is an art form, make sure you know your title.
In graphic novels, titles are a way to tell a story, so you want something memorable to read along with your graphic.
If, on the other hand, your book isn’t meant to sell or be read by a wide audience, you’ll probably need to use a less dramatic title.
A short title will help you sell your work, and a long title will make your graphic a bit more memorable for people who don’t read graphic novels.5.
Consider where your book will be printed.
You might need to be creative with the way your book appears on the shelves, or you might need a different type of publisher.
For graphic novels that are being released to a limited number of people at a time, it may be best to take advantage of a special arrangement.
If there’s a publisher who will print your book in limited quantities, you may want to take it off the shelves and have a book available for purchase for your readers.
For the rest of your graphic book, you want your book available only to people who can actually purchase it, and you want that person to be your publisher.6.
Consider what your audience is looking for.
For most graphic novels written for the print market, the publisher may not have a lot in the way of experience or budget, and that’s a good thing.
However, for those that have experienced the print business, they may be more familiar with the publishing process, so it might help to know some things about how to get published in the first place.
For books that are meant for a specific audience, a good rule of thumb is to ask your reader to rate the book based on what they think about it.
If they like the book enough to rate it, then they can buy it and put it on their shelf.
If you want people to rate your book as well, then there are a couple of things you can do.
First, you should