7 Perfectly Practical Tips for Fantastic Comic Creation

7 Perfectly Practical Tips for Fantastic Comic Creation

When can writing a comic become easy? Probably never. But, if you are keen to make it easier, enrich both your experience of writing and illustrating a comic, here are my top pieces of advice for comic creation.

1.Keep a Notebook

Have a place where you can keep all the character notes, the plot, the potential plot twists and ideas generally in the one place.

I find the rougher and more dynamic you keep it, the more useful it becomes. Don’t be precious about it: perfect for the story is what you pull out of the notebook, not what you put in.

2. Know Your Characters

You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view – until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.

Much like with real people, you can never really know your characters well enough. Ponder what they like, what they dislike.

Would they eat what you last ate? What was the last film they saw? How would they react in this situation?

You might be surprised by what you realise about them.

3. Draw Your Characters to Look Like Your Characters

Characters can look unlike themselves when drawn from an angle you are not familiar with. Keep a sketchbook specifically for practicing drawing your characters. If it happens to be in the notebook for plotting, all the better.

Draw them from every angle, interacting with other characters to get a better feel for height. Draw their expressions, have their body language reflect their mood. Draw them in different environments, completing chores, doing their hobbies

Draw, draw, and then draw again.

4. Know Your Locations

When you are creating a comic, you aren’t creating just characters. You are also crafting the world’s they live in.

Take time to map out the city, school, or even just their bedroom. Know how long it would take them to traverse distances, especially if they have to get there in a pinch!

Remember, if you are drawing a character’s bedroom, to fill it with items which reflect their character. It adds a whole other dimension in a subtle way which can really add to the relatable nature you’ve been building all along.

5. Go Big with Your Drafts

Much like painting dark to light depends entirely on the medium you are using, so is drafting when it comes to storytelling details.

Be as imaginative and free with your drafting as you can be. Keep your sketches loose and fluid. Remove excess, tone down scenes, layer up other scenes. Find the balance that fits the story.

6. Distil Your Drafts

Diving right into turning a first draft of a chapter into the finished piece is very rarely a good idea.

Take a break, then come back and refine with the story and the reader in mind. Where do you want their attention to be focused?

You may find that an extra panel is needed to help support the atmosphere of that scene, you may find that there is a panel too many.

If your eyes are roaming all over a sketch, there is likely visual confusion about where the focus of the panel is. Jarring the reader out of the immersion, what you’re left with is a poor storytelling experience – even if the story is the most interesting ever written.

Remove render detailing on what is only supporting the main action, add depth of field, check your framing.

7. Have Fun with It!

Tedious is as tedious does. Have fun with the process, and the story will inevitably be enjoyable to read.



Secret Project Update # 03: It’s a Web App!

Secret Project Update # 03: It’s a Web App!

With a light dusting of snow on the ground, I feel even more excited to get to work today. There is just something about the cold weather when it brings snow that feels so magically playful; the sight, smell and feel of it ignites my imagination anew.

Today, on this (slightly) snowy day – with more snow promised to come – I am so excited to work on the visual structure of the Secret Project’s house. (The CSS styling and such.)

I think that has been another one of those things that has ultimately been holding this project back. I have been committed to doing this project “properly”: going through the development in a function first, visuals second way. But, If the visuals don’t gel, the functions may need altering in the code: where they are placed and who they take to.

I feel that coding functionality without visuals is akin to painting in values, and adding the colour back in later. It’s a useful learning practice, but it extinguishes the creativity, spontaneity and playfulness that engages with people on a level that cannot be explained easily.

That free flowing creativity takes no prisoners, it’s all or nothing.

Thankfully, it has helped me at least become a reasonably competent coder, so not all that time has been wasted. But my creative side has languished and demands to take the floor now.

So, here we are and I’m working on the visuals of the web app today. That’s right, the Secret Project is a web app, but you already new that from the title. 😉

Excited to have it finished and out there in the world, I am actually moving it up and working on it earlier than scheduled today. Schedules only work if they work for you.

And, in keeping with following my own creative compass this year, I am also a bit nervous that there may be another web app forming on the peripherals of my creative vision. But…just this one first?

New! The Library Section | Make Your Story Your Own

New! The Library Section | Make Your Story Your Own

Good day to you, dear friend.

Although I have a slight cold today (ew), nothing can take away from my excitement.

Herein, I’m unveiling another piece of something fun that I have been planning for some time.

Make Your Story Your Own

You may be aware from some of my previous posts about “copying success” that I feel that I have been holding myself back.

Somehow, I had created a Frankenstein formula in my head of “rules” and “advice” based on success stories of others.

I had duped myself into thinking that in order to succeed, I had to put myself – my work and my ambitions – through this monstrous formula.

And I think that was 100% wrong.

That is not what those stories are supposed to do. Certainly, there will be bits that will echo into your own story. But they shouldn’t be your focus.

You won’t find the secret to your success buried in the myriad of triumph tales out there.

If those stories become your focus, and you try to piece yourself into those stories, you’ll have a very awkward and broken jigsaw in the end.

Your story is different. Your story should be all of your focus.

So, this week, I will be unveiling a new section for this blog. If you look up at the menu, you will see that I have already begun to implement this change.

the Library

I want to create all sorts of creative content, and I want to do it all now.

And so, I have created this is the brand-new section, the Library.

I love the feel of libraries: it’s where the world is quiet and imagination is loud.

Anxious to write stories again, I am going to be adding more literary works, both as webcomics and as short stories and perhaps stretching out into novellas, too.

The first of such literary works will be released on Tuesday 15th January, so remember to check back for that.

Sass will be updated again soon, but still is a little bit further into the future.

Up Next…

This is going to be a busy week as there is a lot I’d love to get done.

First, I have been working on the short story cover art on Twitch, and will probably finish it off tomorrow. Tune in and get a sneak preview via twitch.tv/imaroxtaar. Guess what it’s about correctly and you get free bragging rights!

Then, I have some freelance work on wedding invites to get that as wrapped up and as tidy as possible this week.

And, of course, there is the Secret Project, which is moving along in the right direction.

All of that to do, but not necessarily in that order.

What are you up to this week? Hope it’s going to be filled with goodness for you and I’ll see you back here on Tuesday.




3 Fundamentals for Creativepreneurs

3 Fundamentals for Creativepreneurs

Striking out at as a creativepreneur can be fun, exhilarating, and absolutely daunting all at once. Creative freedom comes at a price: you are also in charge of making sure all the bills get paid. There are many fundamentals for creativepreneurs which need to be imbued into your business DNA. Here are the 3 most essential criteria to making a career as a creativepreneur work.

1. Sell Confidence

Be able to learn how to stand in front of your business and art and sell it confidently. It may not be perfect nor the best in its field, but it’s better than average and that is usually enough.

Smile, and instead of saying why it’s valuable because of the work that goes into it, remind the other party of what it is worth to them. How they are going to use it, what’s that worth?

2. Say No to Working for Free

Get your name out there, sure. But not as the chump person who works because “you like doing it so you’d be doing it anyway”. Such an approach to your work is a cutting insult to your right to make a living for yourself and doing so in your profession.

Inform them politely that you don’t work for free. Once you quote a reasonable price to work for (i.e. wherein you will make money rather than just break even), you can negotiate a little.

But if they dig their heels in and refuse to pay? That’s okay, it’s time to walk away and give your time to another client. If they are a nightmare from the get go, working with them is going to result in you taking a serious hit in the stress department.

3. Take Time

Section out your time properly for all your projects and leave time aside for your non-work priorities also.

Take time to hang out with your friends, family, work on your hobbies. This is more important than many realise: it all feeds back into and helps elevate your work and insights better than stagnating in the pond of work-only.

Plus, no matter how much of an introvert you are, humans are instinctively social creatures. It is fundamental to thriving as you grow.

5 Steps to a Super Jolly Christmas Spirit

5 Steps to a Super Jolly Christmas Spirit

The days and weeks before Christmas can be the most hectic and stressful of the whole year. The buying rush, accounts emptying like the bottom fell out of the world. So much to do, so much to do.

But here are some simple steps to super boost your festive cheer and keep your Christmas Spirit as jolly as jolly can be!

1. Experience over Material

First, let’s get your focus and mindset on what’s truly the pinnacle of this time of year.

Experience trumps any material possession exchange, especially during this festive and family orientated time of year. Kids grow up remembering playing boardgames with their siblings, cousins, neighbours. The silly jokes shared out of crackers, playing outside in the snow (or on the beach building sandcastles, if you’re a summer December).

Looking back at your own childhood Christmas’, what were the highlights for you?

Being there, your presence, is more important than any physical present.

A joke, a walk outside, a story shared and time spent together: these moments are the most important and valuable gift you could give.

What made/makes Christmas for you? Let me know in the comments below!

2. Christmas Coffee

This list was bound to have some kind of coffee in it, so let’s throw it out there now.

After you have done step one and started to focus on what is important, some festive coffee wouldn’t go amiss. Coffee can help a person relax and settle frazzled nerves. Add some hazelnut, cinnamon or other festive flavours to assist in that Christmas Spirit of togetherness and warmth. If you don’t like adding flavours (I’m not sure if this is a real thing…) you can just drink it out of the most Christmassy mug you own!

And, slowly, the chill of the cold will turn to just chillin’.

3. Get Outside!

I know, you may well have spent HOURS out at the shops, looking for presents, stocking up on food supplies like the shops will never open again this year. But now, it’s time to get outside just for you. Take your family and relevant pets with you (please leave your fish at happy at home) and get outside for a walk in the park, go for a woodland trail or even just meander around enjoying the Christmas lights in the evening. They won’t be up for much longer, after all!

4. Digitals Down

Click, click.

As soon as you possibly can, put your digital devices down and spend some time IRL. (But after you finish reading this first!)

Read a book, play some Pictionary with whoever is around.

Spend some time doing something with your hands: wether its’ baking, painting, drawing, whittling some wood, I don’t know! Just whatever takes your fancy that isn’t a thousand hours on the internet.


5. Smile!

Share a smile with everyone you meet, including yourself. Smiling can help lift your mood, as the action can trick your brain into thinking something good happened, but it won’t know what.

It can be the most effective way to keep your jolly Christmas Spirit as jollily upbeat as it’s ever been. And it costs you nothing!

Even if you have had a rough year, and things haven’t all worked out as you’d hoped, let it go.

This is the time of year to forgive yourself your failure and shortcomings, rally round and recover with good food and better people, and rebuild your courage and determination to knock it out of the park in 2019.

Wrapping Up…

Don’t let Christmas wind you up, that’s not what this time of year is for. Have fun, make merry and may your future be bright!

Let’s have a fantastic Christmas and a stunning 2019. After all, it’s only as good or as bad as what you make of it!

Don’t forget to follow me on instagram, twitter, and facebook, and comment below your favourite parts of Christmas time!

Now, I am going to take my own advise, go out for a walk under the Christmas Lights, drink some coffee, smile and put down the digitals in favour of something else….

Secret Project Update #02

Secret Project Update #02

After all, I was right to be hesitant about the launch this Christmas. While I have put a Herculean level of time and effort into this animation project, somehow that effort and time have translated into a behemoth of a project – for one person to do, at least.

As such, I am having to scrape together a plan B. Which is plan A, but with more stops before the end.

Fortunately, there is a silver lining to every cloud.

While the effort to make the film as beautiful and dynamic a story as possible resulted in it being too much for a short turnaround animation…it has made itself very adaptable to other mediums, such as an illustrated children’s story book.

The working title is “A Christmas Tail”, which may be released for this Christmas, all being well.


A middle aged woman looks out at the world as the sun sets on Christmas Eve. First surprised by a hare that pops out of the bushes, she is surprised a second time when he leaves behind a star. In an effort to return the star to the hare, she dashes across the valley and into the woods…and beyond.

I am actively thinking about streaming the drawing and animating process as I go. I will be getting organised for it this evening and if all is ready, I will be announcing stream times over on twitter, so do follow me so you don’t miss out!


Every journey is different. Some paths run parallel and never meet. Others cross once and never again. Some take you straight up the mountain, While others dip down into the valley and Meander through seemingly endless caves. Be ever patient and kind; Be the light you’d like to find in the dark caves; Be the shout of encouragement from the mountaintop. For when you are down and in the dark, Someone will be the light and encouragement for you.

A full Page Bullet Journal Quote

Occasionally I will add a full page quote into my bullet journal. I say “quote” here, rather loosely as I haven’t actually quoted anyone for this. It is a general paraphrasing of the saying:

“do unto others as you would have them do to you”

mixed with a little bit of

“don’t judge a person until you have walked two moons in their moccasins”.

Adding a little bit if an outdoorsy, adventuresque twist.

My Bullet Journal Quote of the Week:

Every journey is different.

Some paths run parallel

and never meet.

Others cross once and never again.

Some take you straight up the mountain,

While others dip down into the valley and

Meander through seemingly endless caves.

Be ever patient and kind;

Be the light you’d like to find in the dark caves;

Be the shout of encouragement from the mountaintop.

For when you are down and in the dark,

Someone will be the light and encouragement for you.

InkTober 2018 Challenge

InkTober 2018 Challenge

Thoughts on InkTober 2018

InkTober is a really interesting creative challenge. Participating for the first time this year, I was pleased to get as far as day 20 before dropping out.

I enjoyed the challenge for several reasons: how to interpret the word prompt and making time to complete a response piece.

I alternated in my approach to the word prompt by examining it through various lenses: from the perspective of Sass and the characters of that comic, from my own perspective and from the perspective of brainstorming story ideas, such as with my response to day 8, Star: “Sea of Stars”.

As for finding the time to complete a response piece: it became impossibly difficult. My main work, the coding of the Secret Project and the animation pieces for that grew increasingly demanding. As such, I ended up ending the InkTober challenge early.

My key takeaway lessons have been: a stronger sense of “good enough”, when to call it a day on a piece and better time management as each piece had a shorter and shorter amount of time to complete. Before prioritisation took it out of the picture completely.

I don’t think I have made a massive improvement in my art techniques, but I did surprise myself as I usually work digitally. Drawing on paper was a lot easier than I remembered it being…!

Maybe I will see more improvement next year. 🙂

Parkinson’s Law: Deadline Reassurance

Parkinson’s Law: Deadline Reassurance

Good Morning!

I hope you have had a marvellous weekend. I had planned on doing even more work, but I had such an eye twitch I had to do what I could offline instead:

  • caught up on my InkTober drawings (before promptly falling behind again)
  • made some notes on the soundtrack I wanted for my upcoming animated film
  • thought strategically about what I may need to outsource in the near future
  • went over the storyboards again
  • And did some general worrying

I was worried about my deadlines: where they too unrealistic? What if I add on another week to the deadline? Plus, working offline was a nice change of pace which I enjoyed. But could I afford the “break”?

Perhaps this was why the habitgrowth.com post on the Parkinson’s Law supported by the Pomodoro technique resonated with me so much when I was scrolling through Twitter last night.

…Although, the Pomodoro technique is 25-minute sprints followed by a break, and mine has been more like 25 days sprints and then a “break”.

Parkinson’s Law: Deadlines and the Elasticity of Work

Parkinson’s Law states that:

work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion

If you say that something will take a week, even if it can be done in a day, it will take a week to complete.

Originally, this law was used to describe the growth of democracy within an organisation. However, it can be applied to a lot more than that.

Growth and work, for example, are not as intricately intertwined as one might think.

For example: Getting a lot of “busy” work done will probably not grow your business.

The focus for boosting your growth and productivity here is to instead of being task orientated, you should instead look to be time lead.

As Horstman’s corollary to Parkinson’s Law states:

Work contracts to fit in the time we give it

So in order to get something done in the most timely and focused manner, you absolutely should consider bringing the deadline forward.

For your tasks this week: write them down, give them an allotted time of what you think they should roughly take, and then immediately cut that time frame in half.

Reduce the time allowed by 50%.


While it is possible to, let’s use HabitGrowth.com’s example, reduce the time of writing 10 blog posts from a month to 2 weeks, 50 is very much unrealistic. (Unless they are short and largely consisting of photos, quotes etc.)

I think, I will leave my current schedule alone, as it is already absurdly ambitious.

My To-Do List this Week

In no particular order:

  • Continue the InkTober 2018 challenge
  • Finish the rough keys for the animated film
  • Get a colour palette for the film
  • Code checking and tweaking for the Secret Project
  • Don’t panic
  • Have fun with it 🙂



I really recommend you read HabitGrowth.com’s post on Parkinson’s Law. I have heard and read about it before, but sometimes it’s good to read it again. It’s a well-written article; somehow, it has helped me to not panic about the state of my deadlines. As such, I have greater confidence that I can get everything that I need to do, done.


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