How I Make Comics

validation webcomic comic panel

This post isn’t about the technical bits of how I make comics. I already talked about that in my step-by-step guide to making Johnson & Sir, and I also made one for Validation.

That’s not to mention the many tutorials online showing how to make comics, or the exercises in “Making Comics” by Scott McCloud or any number of books and classes that teach you the technical aspects of making comics.

Believe it or not, artists are very technical people.

There’s nothing wrong with that, but it’s not what I want to talk about today.

Today I want to answer a question-ish thing someone asked me via email recently.

The Question-ish thing goes:

I would be interested to know how you, as a cartoonist, work, or think about work.

The truth is, I don’t really think about work all that often.

Let me explain.

I am a creature of habit.

I have particular places where things go, how things are put into order, and I have a routine established for every day and every week.

I am super organized.

I set up routines so I don’t have to expend energy thinking of where everything is or what I have to do.

I can put all of my energy on making art.

Does that mean that comics-making and art are made into a routine?


In fact, my usual daily routine looks a little like this:

  • Wake up, shower
  • breakfast, make coffee or tea (depending on how much caffeine I need and what I’m craving)
  • sketch a warm-up piece
  • make comics
  • break for lunch
  • make more comics
  • done making comics, go to dinner
  • hang out with family
  • (sometimes) get writing done
  • BED!

There are changes sometimes. Like this week I ended my day before lunch and spent more time with my family. Playing board games, watching movies, what have you.

And one week my routine changed because of Phoenix Comicon (which, yay!).

Regardless, I always make time in my day to draw and make comics.

Now, making comics is a habit.

Anytime I break the habit, I am hyper aware and need to get back on track.

Making comics and art are skills, and they are skills that need to be practiced Every. Single. Day.

Just like writing. Or cooking. Or knitting (my goodness I haven’t knitted in a while).

So how do I make comics?

I make it a routine.

And it’s a routine I’m happy to keep.