How I made a Graphic Story

Tintin by Hergé has always been the seminal graphic story for me. There was Tintin and then came the rest. Tintin has everything: a good well-written story, interesting story lines, lovable characters, hilarious jokes, beautiful graphics and lots of tongue in cheek action. However the most amazing thing about Tintin was that although it was written in French by a Wallon and set in Belgium, it translated without any problems into totally different languages and still be culturally recognizable. How strongly unique Hergé’s touch had been became evident when Steven Spielberg made a animated film of the graphic story: it became just an other thirteen in a dozen action movie. Tintin deeply influenced me. That was how a graphic story was made and should be made. Of course the medium had evolved, but the basics stayed the same. Between 4 to 9 frames on a standing page of around A4. The page was read from the top to the bottom from left to right. All the action happened inside the frames. The dialogues if there were any, were put into so called Balloons. Additional description got their own frames inside the action frame. Sometimes one picture could be cut into more than one frame while the action progressed. Ideally the story should have a bit of a cliff-hanger at the bottom of the page to encourage further reading. The storyline could also be for a book or movie. It had a hero (or in rare cases heroine), a villain and supporting actors and actresses. It had a problem, mystery or challenge that the protagonist had to solve and bring to a good end. It had two plot points when the hero had an epiphany that would put the story into a different gear. And that was how I made my graphic stories.

© Peti Buchel