Your Graphic Novel Career
Here's the deal. Below is a a simple project schedule that can help you put together one graphic novel every year for the next four years. This assumes that you do both writing and art chores, and the finished graphic novel will be in black and white, with at least 100 pages. (Though to me, a graphic novel should be at least 120 pages, but that's my personal preference.) This schedule can be followed during your off hours, especially if you have a day job.
Some of the items outlined are self-explanatory, but I will go through each item over the next blog entries.
PRIOR TO YEAR ONE
STAGE 1: EDUCATION
March to May (Three months) - Reorienting Yourself With the Craft and Technicals
June to July (Two months) - Keeping In Touch with the Marketplace
STAGE 2: PLANNING YOUR BIBLIOGRAPHY
August (One month) - Developing Your Plot and Theme List; Self-Discovery
September (One month) - Premeditating Your Body of Work
October to November (Two months) - Churning Out Plot Summaries; Reflecting On Your Brand
December - Take a Break! Your deserve it!
YEAR ONE (YOUR FIRST BOOK)
STAGE 1: WRITING
January to February (Two months) - Plot Cleaning and Story Development
March to May (Three months) - Script Development and Editing
STAGE 2: ART
June (One month) - Production Design
July to November (Five months) - Artwork and Lettering. (For a 100-page graphic novel, five months allows you one and a half days to do one page. That shouldn't be so hard.)
STAGE 3: PRE-PRODUCTION (Congratulations! Your first graphic novel is done.)
December (One month) - Art Scanning and Cleaning; Book Design and Pre-Production
That's it. After four years, you would have four short graphic novels to boast about. If you feel time isn't on your side, you can go for three graphic novels in four years. On the fifth year, take a break while at the same time, plan for your releases for the next four years.
You might be wondering why a lot of time is focused on story development and writing. In my opinion, even though comics is a visual medium, no amount of art can elevate a so-so story to the heights of greatness. The idea is that the reader has to see your effort from both story and art vantage points. To the non-comics reader, art may just be a secondary consideration. To me, it's those two areas where a graphic novelist ought to excel.