How to draw comics when you can’t actually draw.

Chaz Hutton
Mar 23, 2018 · 5 min read

So, you can’t draw and you’re not funny, but you want to draw comics.

Well, great news: You don’t have to be able to draw, nor be particularly funny in order to draw comics.

Here’s how:

A Pen.

First of all you’re going to need a pen. You know what? You don’t need a pen. Just as long as you’ve got something that makes a mark. A pencil, a crayon, a marker, some charcoal, a Biro, a fountain pen, a paint covered brush, a paint covered finger (preferably your own) or a highlighter, or an airbrush, or some blood (okay maybe not blood), whatever you’ve got lying around really, it doesn’t matter, just pick something you like using.

(For me, it’s an 0.4mm felt-tip pen, but You do You)

Some Paper

Or not paper. Yeah, you can draw this on anything. Walls, whiteboards, the dusty rear windscreen of your friend’s car, whatever is available to you. That said, I can highly recommend paper, historically it’s proven to be pretty reliable.

Consistency equals quality.

So, once you’ve got a pen and paper, (or whatever you’ve gone with), I guess you better learn how to draw, right?

ABSOLUTELY NOT.

...because you already can.

Here’s the thing about art: Provided your drawings are all consistently the same level of coherency, then whatever you’re creating will become your style, which means all your drawings are amazing, provided they’re viewed within the context of your style.

Look at David Shrigley’s drawings for example; on face value they’re not particularly well-drawn, but he’s drawn all his stuff like that, and now it’s not only his thing, but it’s a thing, it’s a whole style and type of humour produced by him, and when viewed within that context they’re amazing drawings.

So, if all you can draw is say, a blob, then that’s fine! Just draw a blob.

Now, you just need to give your blob some eyes and a mouth and you’ve got yourself your first character. It’s absurdly easy.

Next step is to give your blob a name. Let’s call this one Jeff. Jeff the Blob. Actually, that can double as the name of your comic.

Now we’re cooking! Okay, next Jeff needs to say something. That’s pretty easy too…

You can do a speech bubble like that one, or you could even just do a little line like this if you want to make it a little more relaxed and informal…

…or, you could add an exclamation mark and make it all exciting, like Jeff is yelling and really asserting himself…

…or, you could do a cloudy ‘thought bubble’, which makes it look like Jeff is just having a little think about things and giving himself a little bit of positive reinforcement before a job interview or something.

Or you could even go New Yorker style, which makes everything look much more clever.

Okay, so you’ve got a comic, and a character and that character can say things. You are well on the way.

Next up you need a narrative. Again, this can really be anything. Also, it doesn’t have to be funny, it doesn’t have to be anything. The exciting thing at this point is that you’ve got a character that can do or say anything you decide. Look at you, you’re practically a god. How thrilling.

Next up I’d think about panels. So far we’ve been drawing single panels here, but you could start doing multiple panels. That’s easy too, just draw a box around your comic…

Then just add a few more boxes…

This is actually a pretty good comic already. It’s a story about a blob named Jeff who just disappears. It’s comedically anticlimactic, and I quite like it.

That said, we’ve probably got enough content to fill out a comic already. Here for example, is the story of a blob named Jeff who introduces himself, has a self reflective moment of positive reinforcement, and then introduces himself again…

You can put these panels in any order really, although Left to Right, and/or Top to Bottom, generally makes them easier to follow. (Hot tip, this 2 x 2 layout works pretty well on the internet…)

What else? You should probably learn how to do emotions. Those are easier than you think and can be achieved through the clever placement of lines. You can go from worried, to surprised, to angry all with some little flicks of your pen…

Anyway, that’s really all you need to get started! Now go find a pen and paper and go make something.

Good luck, and happy drawing.

(Oh and please do send me your comics if this does inspire you to draw something!)

Chaz Hutton

Written by

I write stuff, draw stuff, design stuff, build stuff. https://instagram.com/instachaaz/