How are comic books written? Are the panels drawn first then the words are filled in later? Or is there a manuscript to base the panels on? If so, what does a basic comic manuscript look like?
Answers will most certainly vary, but here's a boil-down of a start to finish comic.A writer will write a script. Most scripts I've seen are written like a short story or a play, with the dialog broken out from the action. This gives some idea of the pacing of the story.property Josh Flanagan, iFanboyThe writer and artist will then compose a storyboard, which is a very simple version of the comic. Not a lot of detail, maybe arrows drawn to signify the direction of movement or where to focus the reader's eye. This is almost exactly how movies do it. This stage is not necessary, but I find it to be the best process for allowing the writer to get some of their vision of the action into the visuals of the page.property SMR-Comics on deviantARTThen the artist, at this point we call them a Penciller, will start drafting out the sketches of the page that will be the final product. Some comic creators use this as an extension or replacement of the storyboarding phase. The penciller is responsible for defining the cell boundaries (called "gutters"), and the word bubbles.property Carl PetersonTraditionally, the penciller creates space for the word bubbles, and allows for a Letterer (literally someone who writes in the speech bubbles) to fill in the words.More frequently now, this process is being performed digitally, with a typed font replacing the lettering and the bubbles being added 'on top' of the original artwork. Either way, room for the bubbles must be accounted for.property Brian RobinsonWhen the pencil art is finished, it is handed over to an Inker who, you guessed it, inks over the pencils. We love making the old 'tracer' joke in the industry, but even someone who inks their own pencils knows that there's a great deal of finality that happens to the art in this process. Line thickness, blackened space and depth are all solidified during the inking phase.property Joe WeemsNext comes the Colorist, who adds colors, shading, shadows, and effects to the artwork. Sometimes the colorist will take advantage of definitions created by the inker, and overlay colors to turn black space into a more vibrant area. Again, this process is getting more complex with the introduction of digital coloring tools.property Norman WongI'll skip the production process of going to print, but it's equally fascinating. I encourage you to learn more about this process - and don't let the job titles fool you, a comic can be done by an army or a single creator, and wearing more than one hat in the comics industry is a valuable thing.