6 fabulous tips to make your first graphic novel

In the following article, we will show you 6 tips to avoid getting overwhelmed when making your first graphic novel. How to organize yourself and the steps to follow will be very important in the development of your first novel. Pay attention to these tips, you will see obstacles, but if you follow these tips to the letter, you will surely do great!

Make your first graphic novel without getting overwhelmed, for this: 6 excellent tips

If you’re thinking of making your first graphic novel, and you’re afraid of the obstacles that may stand in your way, this article is for you.

Fabricio Salvatore, who has been interviewed exclusively for TFC, gave us his secrets when facing the difficult path of making a full-length comic for the first time. Here are his tips:

  1. Don’t leave for tomorrow what you can do today, propose it.

He states that his motto, or his internal way of working, is always “do as much work as possible today, to leave as little work as possible for tomorrow’s Fabri”.

In this way, we will work a lot on all the conventional stages of the comic book: the idea, the script, the execution and the edition.

Fabricio tries to work on the script as much as possible, so that the drawing comes out as mechanically as possible (precisely so that it comes out as well as possible) and so that, in the edition, he has to do as few things as possible.

He explains that his script was extremely scripted and detailed. He used a film script format, imitating it and translating it into a comic book.

The only thing he invented is that, every now and then, in the script he makes a separating line that means that all the divided information has to enter in two pages. In conclusion, a line that tells you, here we change pages.

In addition, to organize himself better, he used a golden rule in the comic.

All the narrative attention has to be in the corner where you change the page, so that the reader feels like doing just that.

Having worked conscientiously on each stage of the process, the only thing he changed was the length of some dialogues that were too long and caused him problems when it was time to put the dialogue balloons.

6 tips para no abrumarte realizando tu primera novela grafica

2. Surround yourself well (Fundamental)

For someone who is just starting out, a tip could be thought of as the anti-Alan Moore tip. This one starts by disproving his advice.

When Moore is asked about recommendations for novice comics artists, he says, “Be prepared to spend most of your life alone in front of a board.”

Surround yourself with people who are in the same situation as you are.

It’s a very famous phrase, but Fabricio tells us quite the opposite: “be prepared, to seek to surround yourself with people who are in the same situation as you.” Not for the sake of fame or social climbing, but because your friends are your best editors, critics and advisors.

The comic is something you draw, but you share it in a community.

3. Start by adapting a real story, it will be easier for you.

Fabricio wanted to make a comic, but he didn’t know what it was going to be about, something that usually brings us many obstacles when we want to get started. So he did the easiest thing he could do: take a story that already exists.

He tells us that he didn’t invent anything, he simply took a story that moved him a lot (the enigma of Kaspar Hauser) and of which there was a movie and a book, but not a comic book.

Thus, if you don’t know what to do, do something that already exists. Your adaptation may be surprising.

novela grafica

No goals, no results

4. Set goals

He recommends setting certain goals to achieve a flowing production.

His personal rhythm, when drawing Kaspar Hauser, was one page per week.

Regardless of your level of drawing, how detailed or simple the format is, one page per week is something that anyone in general could do. For Fabricio, it’s a healthy pace that helps you not to go crazy trying.

It may sound a bit cliché, but, following this method, you are your own worst enemy. If you didn’t make the comic, it’s your own responsibility.

If you are invited to a party, you can go to the party and not draw the comic, or you can not go and draw it, or attend the party and draw the comic there. It may sound strange, but for him, that option is always there.

5. If you get stuck with a drawing, you can resort to tracing (Very important).

If there is something you find difficult to draw, while you are taking your first steps in the comic, you can resort to tracing. For Fabricio, there is a conception that easy ways are frowned upon, because for everything to have artistic value it should cost you a lot of work.

Let me tell you that this is wrong: Da Vinci traced, Michelangelo traced, many people who in the collective unconscious are great geniuses of art, traced. To do so, they put a kind of primitive projector, and made their tracings.

In this way, they could represent reality in a more mimetic way. So, if there is something that is difficult for you, trace.

Do not use tracing for the sake of tracing

But be careful: tracing is also a technique that must be used conscientiously. If there is something specific in the composition that is difficult for you, that part can be traced. But if you trace a whole page, panel by panel, it can be very noticeable and ruin your comic.

In short, you can trace conscientiously: it is a tool and not a solution.

6. Be honest with yourself

Finally, for Fabricio, you should always be honest with yourself, especially in these first steps you take in the world of graphic novels.

He believes that his secret with himself is raw honesty. Knowing how far you can and can’t go will make you less frustrated with your work.

He did his first graphic novel, knowing with raw honesty, more or less, how far he was going to go, how many people were going to read it and how many were going to buy it.

In this way, he exceeded his expectations regarding the reach of his work, which even won awards. Being honest with himself, he ended up reaching more places than he thought he would.


Doing a full-length comic for the first time can bring us a lot of headaches. We may even feel overwhelmed with the amount of work involved, and end up abandoning it.

Therefore, it is very important that you reread the tips if they are not clear, we invite you to go back to the beginning of the article, and have them at hand whenever you want.

With Fabricio’s advice, you will be able to organize yourself efficiently and be more productive in the adventure of making your first graphic novel. Keep these tips!

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