2 minutes with… Alan Nolan


ProperBook: Words and Pictures is THE event this year at DBF for all those interested in creating picturebooks, comic books and graphic novels. A panel of experts will be there to guide you at this practical, information-packed event.

Ahead of the event happening next Saturday morning November 12th in the dlr LexIcon, Dún Laoghaire, we caught up with author, illustrator and graphic designer Alan Nolan, who will be just one of those experts filling you with creative insight!

“Four comic creation tips and tricks I’ve picked up over the years…”

Tip 1: Plan Plan Plan!

I believe that comic creation is 65% planning and 35% doing, so before you dive right in with your comic, sit down and plan plan plan. You need to come up with a story, preferably with a beginning, a middle and an end; you need to come up with interesting characters to help you tell that story; you need to plan out how the story is going to be told (and how many pages you will take to tell it); using miniature ‘thumbnail’ pages you need to plan what your pages will look like and how they will flow from one into the other, and you need to plan where your dialogue speech bubbles, captions and sound effects are going to go; only THEN (phew!) can you start drawing!

Tip 2: Create Distinct Characters!

Make sure your characters look different from each other – if all the characters look the same, it will make the comic strip monotonous and difficult to read. Give each character their own costume/clothes, their own stance, and also their own distinctive silhouette – make sure your character can be recognised by their head shape or body shape. Think of Judge Dredd with his helmet and shoulder pads, Dennis the Menace with his spiky hair and arms-akimbo-lookin-for-trouble stance, Tintin with his round head and little tuft of hair; each of these are instantly recognisable just by their silhouettes.

Tip 3: Enough Yakkin’!

Keep your dialogue short and to the point – short dialogue is much more realistic and is more believable to the reader. Outside of Shakespeare plays, very few people give huge, long speeches and monologues! Also the pages look better and the artwork will shine when the panels are not stuffed to the gills with massive speech balloons!

Tip 4: CLARITY!!!

Whatever you do (and this ties in to all the planning I was talking about in Tip 1) tell your story in a clear way and try to make sure the reader is never going to end up confused!


Limited tickets remain for this event. To join the audience for what promises to be a fun-filled and stimulating event BOOK HERE