Comics tips and resources

This information was originally presented as a handout at the 2023 Prairie Comics Festival. It’s also replicated here with easy links.

Free (and cheap) resources for making comics

References and resources

Unsplash –
Pixabay –

Photographic references to help you make art

Creative Commons –
Massive repository of artwork, plus licensing
agreements to help share your work with others

Vecteezy / Brusheezy /
Free art resources (with attribution)

ProductionCrate –
VFX packs for reerence or promotional content


Blambot –
Comic-centric type foundry – lots of free fonts for indies! Dialogue, SFX, and more

Dafont –
Can filter for public domain and OFL fonts (remember to check your licenses!)

Google Fonts –
font families that are free to use (with attribution)

Check your licenses! CC0 / public domain – no attribution
Everything else: check first!


Open Source art program

Clip Studio Paint –
free for up to 6 months

Glaze –
Protect your art from generative AI

Local supports
Seminars, resources, and collaboration
Free supplies for artists
Apply for government grants to help you make your comic (and not starve)
Lots of great programming throughout the year for adults and kids alike

Great books on making comics

(many available at the library!)

The Essential Guide to Comic Book Lettering, Nate Piekos
ISBN: 978-1534319950

Making Comics: Storytelling Secrets of Comics, Manga and Graphic Novels, Scott McCloud
ISBN: 978-0060780944

The Animator’s Survival Kit, Richard Williams
ISBN: 978-0571238347

Comics and Sequential Art, Will Eisner
ISBN: 978-0393331264

Making Comics, Lynda Barry
ISBN: 978-1770463691

Great videos and web resources on making comics

Tips for making comics that will save you a lot of pain later

  • If you EVER think you might print your comic, work in 300 DPI CMYK and figure out how to lay out pages
  • If you ever think you might post your comic online, plan how you want it to look on a mobile device
  • Back up all your files regularly, and in more than one place
  • Printing will always take longer than you think it will
  • Have your own domain name and point everyone there, don’t throw away 200 business cards just because twitter changed their logo
  • Plan, make schedules, and then do your best to stick to it
  • Artwork takes around 70-80% of the time involved in making a comic – either pay your artist well, or learn to draw
  • Make it as easy as possible to make stuff – downtime should be meaningful
  • Throw it out and start over, you’ll feel better
  • Take care of your body, because comics will destroy it
  • Lettering matters! Spend the time and effort to get it right
  • you can spend an extra two hours on a page, and most readers won’t even notice it
  • if you want to make a comic from scratch, you must first invent the universe – take shortcuts
  • Storytelling happens in the art, not just the words
  • Learn colour theory
  • Assistance comes in many forms
  • Try a bit of everything – you’ll never know what you’re good at otherwise!
  • Draw inspiration from everything, not just comics
  • Sometimes it helps to change your environment and your workspace
  • You’re not getting rich. Comics have terrible margins. Sell prints!


  • Credit where credit is due
  • Always check your licenses
  • Share, collaborate, and pay it forward
  • Do it because you love it
  • Comics are for everyone
  • F**K AI