Free Tools For Comic Book Artists

male-character-design-templMaking comics is not just about learning how to draw, it’s about storytelling. This page is designed to make the process easier for you, by providing some Free Online Tools for Comic Creators.

For your convenience, I’ve put the comics templates up in two formats: Letter and A4. Choose whatever your printer prefers!

Comic book templates

Unsure of the standard format for making comic book pages? Tired of measuring out borders and bleeds? With these comics templates, you no longer have to! Just right click and save to your computer, open in Photoshop, Manga Studios or Illustrator – or just print out and start drawing!

Check out the .jpg examples here. Below you can find the high quality .pdf files.

We now have templates for both the US comics format and European graphic novel format. Take your pick!

Character Design Templates

A helpful tool when designing your comic book characters, is a style guide or design template.

I”ve put up a male and a female version, making it quick and easy for your to concentrate on the design rather than anatomy. Please note that people are not ALL the same size, so you may have to vary a bit in your rendering of the characters in your book.

Use the templates as a quick guide to design clothes, hairstyle etc. These templates are also available in both letter format and A4 format.

Get started making your own comics today! New FREE 7-day course! Click here to sign up.

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Other helpful resources and tools:

These are all personal recommendations!

Adobe Photoshop

Photoshop is a must, if you want to color your comics digitally. The link above is to an older, more affordable version! For a newer version, go here

Wacom Tablet

Invaluable for drawing or coloring on your computer.

windsor-newton-brushesWinsor & Newton Brush

A nice all-round brush that stays in shape if you take care of it.

Canson Comic Book Art Boards

Canson is a good brand, their watercolor paper is good value for money too.

Sharpie Fine/Ultra Fine Twin Tip Marker

Water-resistant and smear-proof, these markers are a great all-round tool.

Staedtler Lumocolor AV Marker

If you want another kind of marker with a little variation to it, this is a good choice.

foto kopiUni Posca White Acrylic Marker

Excellent for small, quick corrections. Dries fast and covers most inks.

Want to know what tools I use personally? Watch this video!

One-sheets for freelance artists:

As told in this article on Muddy Colors, artists Lauren Panepinto and Marc Sheff are putting together a book for freelance artists called Make Art Work, “a guide that gives artists the most specific information in the simplest language possible”. They held an Art Business Bootcamp at Spectrum Live and  some pretty valuable info came out of that, as these two one-sheets will tell.

“There’s not one absolute rule that works for everyone, but these one sheets present a good place to start, and a general consensus on a lot of the questions that we Art Directors hear repeated from con, to con, to panel, to email, etc.”

I agree completely! And hereby present you with the two PDF’s:

ONESHEET-BOOTCAMP1-226x300

ONESHEET-BOOTCAMP1

ONESHEET-BOOTCAMP2-228x300

ONESHEET-BOOTCAMP2

You can learn more about the book here and sign up to the newsletter at http://www.drawnanddrafted.com/ and stay in the loop about their upcoming Kickstarter campaign for the book.

comic-submissions-headerJason Thibault has collected a list of submission guidelines for a lot of US manga and comics publishers. Check it out here.

Books on making comics:

How To Draw Comics The Marvel Way

A classic, if somewhat dated.

understanding-comicsUnderstanding Comics: The Invisible Art by Scott McCloud

Another classic. Very academic and not very practical, but great for inspiration.

Making Comics: Storytelling Secrets of Comics, Manga and Graphic Novels by Scott McCloud

Somewhat more accesible than “Understanding Comics” but still very high brow and very thorough.

Comic Book Design by Gary Spencer Millidge

A very visual tome with examples of comics storytelling and graphic design from a variety of artists.

Business of Comics: Everything a Comic Book Artist Needs to Make It in the Business…Plus Interview s with 40 Comic Book Professionals

A guide to the US comics industry with tips and insights from pros.

Working Methods: Comic Creators Detail Their Storytelling And Artistic Processes

An excellent insight to how different artists approach a script, their thought process and workflow.

Great books on writing:

plot-and-structure-bellPlot & Structure by James Scott Bell

A simple, understandable book about story structure for any medium.

Cinematic Storytelling: The 100 Most Powerful Film Conventions Every Filmmaker Must Know by Jennifer van Sijll

An excellent resource for framing shots and visual storytelling, easily applied to comics.

On Writing: 10th Anniversary Edition: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King

Stephen King’s classic book is half memoir, half hands-on writing tips. An excellent read and very inspirational.

Tell me what more you need in the comments – and I’ll try to dish up even more tools for comic book artists!

finding-your-way-in-comicsLearn how to make comics from idea to finished story through the tutorial videos. Sign up here.

31 Responses to “Free Tools For Comic Book Artists”

  1. Martin August 7, 2013 at 8:27 am #

    Awesome. Just what I was looking for. Hope to see even more templates and goodies.

    Thank you for sharing.

    • Palle Schmidt August 7, 2013 at 9:27 am #

      Thanks, Martin! Tell me what you need and I’ll see what I can do.

      Glad these templates were helpful to you!

      –Palle

      • Ryan September 10, 2013 at 12:57 am #

        Can you please make a video on youtube about how to draw comics because I finished my script but I’m having a lot of troubles with drawing

        • Palle Schmidt September 10, 2013 at 9:16 am #

          Hi Ryan! You bet I will be making more videos on drawing, but the scripting part is what most books on making comics tend to skip – and it is HUGELY important! The coming vids in the series will have a lot more on how to draw, but don’t expect to see them on YouTube. The plan is to turn this in to a sort of membership site, but for now sign up is free, so if you haven’t alreade, hurry up and join the newsletter and I will keep you posted on new vids etc.

          Thanks again!

  2. Leemond September 25, 2013 at 6:53 pm #

    Palle,
    This is exactly what I need at this moment in time! Thanks for going through the effort to create such epic and useful information. I see myself coming back to this site often to glean more nuggets of comic book wisdom in the very near future.

  3. James November 8, 2013 at 3:30 pm #

    so I really like this website it has helped me out a lot but I was wondering if you had any tips or tricks on story boarding, i mean comics and storyboards are fairly close and one thing i am trying really hard to do is become a storyboard artist so any advice or ticks or even a place i could go with the information would be greatly appreciated

    • Palle Schmidt November 8, 2013 at 6:24 pm #

      James, you’re right that comics and storyboards have a lot in common. And you are probably also right to pursue a career in the latter, as it is a lot more lucrative!

      Here’s the thing about storyboards: compared to comics, the level of detail is a lot lower, so it’s a lot faster to do. The trick is to provide a sketch of a character, rather than an actual person, and the same goes for almost everything. You also have the opportunity to use arrows etc. to help tell the story. The fixed format and lack of balloons is another difference.

      All in all I will say that if you can become a good cartoonist, you can become a good storyboard artist. If you can draw in a semi-realistic, sketchy style and you are good to work with.

      It’s hard to give a quick storyboarding course here, but I wish you all the best!

    • Palle Schmidt November 8, 2013 at 6:27 pm #

      @James: By the way, I wrote a post on freelancing that you might find helpful:

      http://www.makingcomics.com/2012/03/12/ten-pieces-of-advice-for-freelancers/

      Thanks!

  4. Chloe November 10, 2013 at 8:30 pm #

    Awesome!
    This will all be a great help! Thanks for the link 🙂

    • Palle Schmidt November 12, 2013 at 3:14 pm #

      You’re welcome, Chloe, feel free to share!

  5. Audrey November 14, 2013 at 3:22 am #

    Your website is really awesome! Really looking forward for more of your videos. Keep it up!

  6. Marcos December 30, 2013 at 8:58 am #

    Hi,
    I liked the idea of having someone read your script to give feedback. I know absolutely no one that could help me with this. For a fee, can you look over a script and provide feedback? I think that would be useful. Thanks.

    Marcos

    • Palle Schmidt December 30, 2013 at 9:34 am #

      Thanks for the vote of confidence, Marcos, but at this point I can’t possibly take on any more work. I simply don’t have the time!

      Hopefully you will find someone who can help you out. It doesn’t have to be a story expert, just someone articulate enough to ask the right questions. Best of luck!

      -Palle

  7. Gareth McKnight February 2, 2014 at 10:57 pm #

    This is one of the most fantastic things I’ve ever seen. Why have I only just found out about it?

    • Palle Schmidt February 3, 2014 at 8:58 am #

      Ha ha, thanks Gareth! It’s a big internet out there and I’m basically a one-man show here. I don’t have the marketing budget of Warner or Nike. But word of mouth seems to be working too, so… Keep sharing!

      Thanks again.

      -Palle

  8. Phil February 3, 2014 at 4:41 pm #

    Since you included a writing section, this isn’t out yet, but ComiXwriter was successfully funded and is a comic-book-specific script writing utility that should be of great help for producing properly formatted comic scripts. http://www.comixwriter.com/

    • Palle Schmidt February 3, 2014 at 4:45 pm #

      Thanks for sharing, Phil! I’ll check it out. So far I’ve been using Final Draft.

  9. blackflak April 27, 2014 at 2:37 am #

    Big Fan of comic here. Just doing some research and adding some content to my site. This is a great resource to referred to for sure. Hope you don’t mind me sharing your site on my homepage at http://www.blackflak.com in the “Great Resources” section. Thank you for sharing these Palle.

    Cheers,
    Drew

    • Palle Schmidt April 27, 2014 at 5:50 am #

      Sure, Drew, thanks! Be sure to check back often. Between this page, the blog, the podcast and the tutorial videos, I think you’re going to find a lot of value and link-worthy content.

      Thanks again!

      Best,
      Palle

  10. Rabbit March 7, 2015 at 4:02 pm #

    I was just wondering if there’s any content still being added to this website in 2015.

    Or if it’s just a resource that’s kinda completed and nothing needs to be added.

    • Palle Schmidt March 8, 2015 at 10:40 pm #

      Don’t worry, Rabbit, there’s more content on the way. Just been super busy is all 🙂

  11. Kirbyfan April 7, 2015 at 2:48 am #

    Palle, first off thank you so very much for doing all of this, I really mean it, thank you so much!

    I’ve taken two of the Joe Kubert correspondence courses, the one on penciling and the other on Superheroes. While they were good and I did learn somethings, they didn’t go into enough detail for me. The one page assignment at the end of each section just wasn’t enough, at least for me. As an artist I wanted to know more about writing, especially from an artist point of view.

    I think writing is different if you’re also the artist, and I haven’t seen much info on writing for the artist. So I’d like more info from that point of view if possible

    I know your a busy man, but what’s really needed is a very comprehensive comics course, many people can’t afford to attend the actual schools that may teach sequential art, so a really good and in depth course would be a Godsend. I think cartoonist all over would jump on it!

    I am participating in your 7 day course.

    Once again, thank you so very much for doing this!

  12. Cameron McCrorie April 24, 2015 at 3:24 pm #

    Excellent!!! Just what Ive been looking for to help with my Comic projects. Keep up the good work. 🙂

  13. Ilya Kralinsky June 7, 2015 at 1:01 am #

    This is a fantastic resource! Thank you so much for all the wonderful information and massive help. I always believe you can tell the truly talented people from the ones who still have a way to go by their level of sharing; there’s room for us all with all our ideas and creative angles. I’d like to help contribute to this site, and if I could submit anything you may find helpful, how would I submit possible additions for free use for anyone here? Any information and feedback would be much appreciated, and thank you again for this site.

  14. Paul December 31, 2016 at 2:17 pm #

    Hey, I like your 7 days course, but I have one thing I miss. I wanna see you drawing! I want to know how you draw, could you do that more? I hope!

    • Palle Schmidt January 2, 2017 at 9:46 am #

      Hey Paul, If you scroll through the blog you’ll find a bunch of bonus vids that have drawing in them. And of course the premium vids. For me personally it doesn’t teach me much to look at a person drawing (and that is the point of this site) but I’ll definitely take your suggestion into account. Thanks!

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